Author Topic: How to: Getting a new Cast Iron Skillet ready for cooking  (Read 11290 times)

Offline Simply Kristen

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How to: Getting a new Cast Iron Skillet ready for cooking
« on: October 08, 2006, 02:15:22 PM »
I bought a cast iron skillet.

How do you oil it? What's the best oil?

Any good ole' timey tricks?


Offline Kati*did

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Re: How to: Getting a new Cast Iron Skillet ready for cooking
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2006, 02:39:53 PM »
I don't know abou the initial seasoning, but if you google it theres lots of help.  I did lots of cooking in dutch ovens as part of my job, and after every use, we scraped everything out, then sprinkled in about a tbs. of salt and scrubbed it with steel wool.  When everything was scraped and dumped out of the oven, we would pour in about a tbs. of olive oil and use news paper to spread it over the entire inside of the oven.  That's how we kept them seasoned.
"...plain Kate, and bonny Kate, and sometimes Kate the curst..."

Offline scarlet_prairie

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Re: How to: Getting a new Cast Iron Skillet ready for cooking
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2006, 03:19:06 PM »
Well, I had a friend recently suggest putting the skillet straight into a fire and cooking it really hard that way. Especially if it is a used skillet and then adding the oil from there. Animal fats are good, butter not so good... olive oil works okay... lard makes mine wonderfully non-stick :) Wash it right after cooking in it especially if it was something acidic like tomatoe sauce which will take the oil right out even if left over night. Handwash it in really hot water and dry it right away.
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Offline heatheronthehill

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Re: How to: Getting a new Cast Iron Skillet ready for cooking
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2006, 03:51:27 PM »
After cleaning, I rub mine all over with bacon grease on a paper towel.  I put it on a burner on the lowest heat for about 5 minutes.  (DON'T FORGET ABOUT IT!!!)  Take it off, let it cool, and you're good to go! 

I have had very poor results with olive oil in the past.  I'm much happier with the bacon grease.

Offline Kati*did

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Re: How to: Getting a new Cast Iron Skillet ready for cooking
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2006, 03:59:08 PM »
I have had very poor results with olive oil in the past.  I'm much happier with the bacon grease.

Yeah...I've heard that animal fat is much better for the first seasoning (where you heat it).  We only heated it for a real cleaning/seasoning once a year.  We didn't use vegetable oil for that because it can cause a sticky film.  But since we only scraped w/salt  and steel wool during the rest of the year, it worked fine to use olive oil.  We used them every day and never had food stick. I think definitely use animal fat if you heat to season after every use.
"...plain Kate, and bonny Kate, and sometimes Kate the curst..."

Offline Simply Kristen

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Re: How to: Getting a new Cast Iron Skillet ready for cooking
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2006, 05:04:42 PM »
Thanks for all the input ladies! The cleaning tricks and fat vs. oils is exactly what I need!
Very helpful.

BethJ (she's  new) and her mom are staying with us later this week..... So, I may get them to teach me some tricks too.

Offline SC

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Re: How to: Getting a new Cast Iron Skillet ready for cooking
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2007, 06:14:30 AM »
With apologies for not getting around to this sooner, I pulled out an old article I had written a few years back. It is based on a method used by an antiques dealer who restores old cast iron pans. This has withstood the test of time in my kitchen. With editing and condensing, I thought I'd share:

Iron Cookware Care
Reviving an Old Pan
If you’ve inherited an old pan with a well-seasoned cooking surface and a bumpy exterior, you haven’t any real need to rework the pan. If you have aesthetic reasons for not wanting that, reviving the pan will do the trick. Also, old rusty looking pans can be given a new lease on life with this technique.

First, remove the buildup.
Rinse your pot or pan (and lid) well. Place it in your oven or on your stovetop. Use one of the following three methods to remove buildup and/or rust:

Place your oven on the self-cleaning cycle for 2 ½ hours will do the trick of burning off excess buildup and turning the rust to a fine powder.

While I have a self-cleaning oven, the instructions say to remove the wire rack before doing a self-cleaning cycle. So, my alternative is to place my oven on about 500 or more degrees and place the cookware on a rack in the middle of the oven. I place an old cookie sheet beneath it to catch any drippings and leave it there for the 2 hours or so.

Another method is to do this on the stove top. This is quicker, but you can expect your kitchen to smell like burning oil. Run the exhaust fan for ventilation. If you have a lid, place it on a separate eye on the stove. Turn the heat on high and watch until the iron changes color and becomes a lighter shade, telling you that the iron is heated.

Once the iron is completely heated, allow it to return to room temperature. The heat will make the buildup flake off and turn rust to powder.

Use fine steel wool and hot water to remove rust. Don’t use a wire brush as you will leave grooves in the surface where bacteria can grow. If you use any soap, use mild hand soap, not dishwashing detergent. Rinse well.

Hint: To keep your steel wool from rusting between uses, place it in a plastic bag with a folded paper towel and toss in your freezer.


Seasoning Your Cookware
New pans and revived pans (after removal of buildup) are seasoned the same way. Coat your pan with your choice of oil. Lard works as well as other oils. I prefer to use oil with a high smoke point as opposed to butter or olive oil. I do not prefer to use vegetable shortenings for health reasons.

Once the pan (and lid) is coated, place it in a 250 degree oven for 30 minutes. You can repeat this process until you have a nice shiny no-stick surface in your pan.


Maintaining Your Seasoned Cookware
When you season your cookware, the heat is drawing oil into the iron. As you cook, this process continues as the oil is drawn into the heated pan. If your pan seems to loose its no-stick quality, it can be reseasoned, but this shouldn’t be necessary more than once or twice a year.

Once a pan is seasoned, you should never soak it in hot soapy water as this will pull the oil out of the metal. If there is some scum that needs removing, let a little warm, soapy water sit in the pan and try to get the gunk off with a FLAT edge. Don’t scrape as this will make grooves in and scrape off your seasoning. As soon as the gunk is removed, rinse the pan surface and reseason if necessary. Otherwise, dry completely and store.

After cooking a greasy food such as bacon, you may be able to simply wipe out the pan with a paper towel. The remaining residue is good for the pan. Stuck on foods should be lightly scrubbed out with a no-scratch scrubber. Avoid heavy scrubbing that will remove your seasoning.

Don’t send your iron cookware through the dishwasher. The high temperature will wick the oil out of the iron and remove the seasoning.

Just use a little mild hand soap (not harsh anti-bacterial) and wash the inside of the pan with a soft cloth or sponge. You should see little beads of water forming on the surface as you wipe away debris. If this doesn’t happened, your pan has lost its season and needs to be reseasoned.

Exterior surfaces of the pan can be wiped, but do not need washing or scrubbing. This will leave the protective oil coating intact.

Storing Iron Cookware
If you live in a humid area, rust can form during improper storage. After use and cleaning, coat the pan lightly with oil and as an added precaution, you can place a paper towel inside the pan if it will not be used for a while. This will keep humidity from rusting the surface of your pan.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2007, 11:53:53 AM by SC »
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Offline milmuth

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Re: How to: Getting a new Cast Iron Skillet ready for cooking
« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2007, 03:02:53 PM »
SC,

I have an old cast iron baking mold (lamb shape) that I thought was seasoned well, but everything sticks.  So, I seasoned it but with veggie oil, and it left a sticky "film" on it.  Everything still sticks too :(

Would reviving it and reseasoning it work, or did I kill it by using the wrong oil?  :-\

What oils have high smoke points?  Peanut oil??  shortening?

Also, it is hard to clean as it has lots of small nooks and crannies.  Would a small plastic scraper destroy my  seasoning?

Thanks for the help!  We use this for family traditions (like Easter coming up!) and I appreciate help keeping the mold in good condition. :)

Offline SC

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Re: How to: Getting a new Cast Iron Skillet ready for cooking
« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2007, 03:56:25 PM »
SC,

I have an old cast iron baking mold (lamb shape) that I thought was seasoned well, but everything sticks.  So, I seasoned it but with veggie oil, and it left a sticky "film" on it.  Everything still sticks too :(
The stickiness means that the oil wasn't completely absorbed. I would let it sit in a 250 degree oven for 30 minutes and see how it looks. If that doesn't work . . .

Quote
Would reviving it and reseasoning it work, or did I kill it by using the wrong oil?  :-\
Yes, you could start from scratch. Remove the buildup using the directions I gave and then re-season the mold.

Quote
What oils have high smoke points?  Peanut oil??  shortening?
Grapeseed oil and peanut oil along with lard are the high smoke point oils that come to mind right away. You could use shortening. I don't.

Quote
Also, it is hard to clean as it has lots of small nooks and crannies.  Would a small plastic scraper destroy my  seasoning?
You don't want to dig at the surface. Properly seasoned, you should be able to wipe these nooks and crannies clear of debris. I would just be sure to oil the surface when I stored the mold and then again before use. I do this with an oiled paper towel.

Quote
Thanks for the help!  We use this for family traditions (like Easter coming up!) and I appreciate help keeping the mold in good condition. :)
Let us know how the mold turns out. I can imagine it's a treasure.  :)
I'm no doctor . . .             I'm not even a Post hole Digger! ;)
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Offline milmuth

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Re: How to: Getting a new Cast Iron Skillet ready for cooking
« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2007, 08:16:56 AM »
Thanks SC!  You are a wealth of knowledge! :)

I've used it since the sticky film stage, so I'm gonna have to start from scratch.

Side note:
Here is a picture of similar molds, if interested.  It has been a birthday and Easter tradition for three or four generations.  Mine is an old cast iron mold.
http://home.aol.com/rdyuxghwrp/2d/lamb-cake.html

Thanks again!
T

Offline afptl

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Re: How to: Getting a new Cast Iron Skillet ready for cooking
« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2007, 04:46:02 PM »
Hi!
   I use lard to season a cast iron skillet. Also, I do it outside on my gas grill.  I turn the heat way down low and let it go for an hour or so.  If you get it too hot, you'll burn the coating off that you do have and have to start over.  I learned that the hard way! Ann

Offline milmuth

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Re: How to: Getting a new Cast Iron Skillet ready for cooking
« Reply #12 on: April 09, 2007, 06:05:22 AM »

Let us know how the mold turns out. I can imagine it's a treasure.  :)

In answer to SC's inquiry, the mold turned out GREAT!!!  I actually made two cakes, and both came out perfect without a hint of sticking!  I haven't seen it that good in years.  I knew I needed to season it, just didn't have the right directions until coming here.  thanks a million SC!

Offline *MommaJo*

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Re: How to: Getting a new Cast Iron Skillet ready for cooking
« Reply #13 on: March 28, 2010, 12:16:29 PM »
Reviving this to say that I am going to use the above method on an old, been-in-storage dutch oven and 15" frying pan that I was just given.  There is old grease and some rust on both.  I don't know if I trust my oven on 'self-clean', so I think I'll be using the stove-top method.

Offline Sonshine Acres

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Re: How to: Getting a new Cast Iron Skillet ready for cooking
« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2010, 12:35:45 PM »
What a nice gift!  We found some on the property we had in MO that had been left out in the woods for who knows how long.  They cleaned up nicely!