cast iron: seasoning, cooking with, etc

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what are your favorite and most effective ways of seasoning cast iron? i inherited about 5 or so skillets from my grandma in a bunch of different sizes and they are beautiful pieces of cookware, but they are in pretty rough shape. they are rusty, have stuff crusted all over them, even some mouse shit (they have sat in the drawer below our oven for a long time and were near a mouse nest that we eradicated). they will need a very thorough cleaning obviously but after that i want to bring them back to life.

i also have a couple 12-inch lodge cast iron skillets that were "pre-seasoned" with a pretty lousy coating, and i tried a few techniques to get them seasoned better, none of which worked very well. at some point i just said fuck it, i'm going cook with these because i'm tired of not using them because they aren't seasoned. so i just started cooking with them a ton a while back and that basically worked - they are just beautiful now and cook wonderfully, i just do a little maintenance if there is something acidic like tomatoes or watery after braising, otherwise i just wipe them with a paper towel.

anyways though i love cast iron, love how it cooks, love how durable it is. it is rad that i have my grandma's cast iron, she died at age 91 about 6 years ago and must have used these skillets all the time, and i can pass these down to my kids.

marcos, Monday, 8 December 2014 18:06 (nine years ago) link

I have an insane link for this, lemme see if I can google it:

yep, here it is:

this is such a PITA to do at home, I wish I could just take the pans somewhere and get them seasoned

some kind of terrible IDM with guitars (sleeve), Monday, 8 December 2014 18:09 (nine years ago) link

I used to go to a chinese butcher and ask for the discarded pieces of fat

, Monday, 8 December 2014 18:10 (nine years ago) link

I will season all cast iron that comes my way. The secret is to use flaxseed oil, and cook with your pans as often as possible. Stainless steel scrubbers will take care of any rust btw. My 3 skillets get used nearly every day - I knitted separators out of fisherman's wool so when they are nested together there's no metal/metal contact (keeps rust at bay if they are damp when stacked).

Jaq, Monday, 8 December 2014 18:31 (nine years ago) link

btw, a bamboo wok scrubber is fantastic for attacking stuck bits on cast iron (and enameled cast iron)

Jaq, Monday, 8 December 2014 18:32 (nine years ago) link

Thought this was also a good read (and a good antidote to being overly fussy w/ your cast iron pans)

, Monday, 8 December 2014 18:33 (nine years ago) link

post i wrote a long time ago about my pans:

Jaq, Monday, 8 December 2014 18:35 (nine years ago) link

thanks Jaq! I will check your 350-degree method out, most of our pans could use another go-round

hot water rinse OTM

some kind of terrible IDM with guitars (sleeve), Monday, 8 December 2014 18:39 (nine years ago) link

enjoyed your link jaq, admire you abandoning non-stick cookware, i've been wanting to do the same. teflon grosses me out. would like to move to all cast iron / stainless steel

marcos, Monday, 8 December 2014 19:00 (nine years ago) link

I actually sold most of my stainless pans (except for a giant roaster and a smaller stock pot) a few months back in a garage sale - the other awesome thing about cast iron is it works on an induction burner! (I have one of those portable ones as an adjunct to the single large burner that is truly usable on our stove.)

Jaq, Monday, 8 December 2014 19:18 (nine years ago) link

would coconut oil work? i've had one for a while that i never properly seasoned and therefore rarely use. i love my stainless!

kola superdeep borehole (harbl), Monday, 8 December 2014 22:30 (nine years ago) link

Sure thing!

Jaq, Monday, 8 December 2014 22:50 (nine years ago) link

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