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#2985531 - 10/17/12 06:53 AM Cast Iron Care
WMAn
8 Point


Registered: 11/05/10
Posts: 1174
Loc: Williamson County

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I do most of my cooking in cast iron skillets. I have two Griswolds and a Wagner both given to me by my grandmother. As I use them more and more, I have been wondering about how best to take care of them. Here are the basics of what I do:

- Wash very shortly after cooking using hot water and a sponge. No soap of any kind.
- Dry immediately
- Lightly coat cooking surface with vegetable oil

Here is what I have some questions about:
- One resource, I came across, recommended heating the pan over low heat before applying the coat of oil. However, they gave no reason why you should do this. Does anyone else do this? Why would they recommend doing this? My initial thought is that the warm skillet will better absorb the oil, but I don't know.

- A cast iron cookbook I have recommends storing your skillets in the oven, but not removing them when you use the oven. The idea being that each time you turn the oven on the pan reseasons itself. What do ya'll think? I tried this for the last week or so with mixed results. If I was heating the oven to less than 400 degrees, I left my skillets in there turned upside down. After doing this 6-8 times, the skillets are maintaining their nonstick surface and in some cases performing better. But, they now have what appear to be "oil spots." The cook surface is covered in these slightly-raised, shiny-black spots. These spots have not had any affect on my cooking. I can fry eggs and cook pancakes without a problem in each of my skillets. But, I still wonder about doing this for the long term. What do you think?

Any other thoughts and comments on cast iron care will be greatly appreciated.
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#2985680 - 10/17/12 08:29 AM Re: Cast Iron Care [Re: WMAn]
Deck78
6 Point


Registered: 10/07/10
Posts: 695
Loc: hipster hollow

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My cast iron rarely sees any water. We have 3 pans that are used almost daily for cooking and we add butter each morning to the pans as we start our food for the day and just wipe out any excess residue as needed when we are done. In my opinion you don't need to go through all that effort as I can guarantee our great grandparents never took the time to wash and clean, oil and season their cast iron after every meal. They didnt have the resources...just my humble 2 cents
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#2985740 - 10/17/12 09:15 AM Re: Cast Iron Care [Re: Deck78]
Poser
Mud Dauber
16 Point


Registered: 07/28/10
Posts: 11872
Loc: Tennessee

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I have 2 Lodge scrapers, which are nothing more than shaped plastic, but they were only $3 and work well. I generally scrape the food residue our of the cast iron in water and then heat the iron back up to dry it off.

Most of our cast iron gets heavy use as we cook on it 85% of the time of all cooking.
We have two 8 inch skillets, a 14 inch skillet, 3 dutch ovens (plus a 4th one that I borrowed from BuckWild), and a tiny one for melting butter. (on my to-buy list are a Wok, a griddle, and a sauce pan).

Anyway, we should probably take better care of it, but most of it gets enough use that its really not a problem. The dutch ovens, just because they get used for slow and low cooking, tend to need some heavy duty scraping on a regular basis. We do often store much of the iron in one of the two ovens just because we don't have a whole lot of room to put it elsewhere. As a result, they tend to get "cooked" frequently for no reason. It doesn't hurt anything, but I don't imagine that it actually helps anything either. In fact, sometimes, they tend to take on a "dried out" look if they are left in there repeatedly, especially the dutch ovens. I think the dutch ovens require more care then the skillets, just be the nature of how you use them.

As far as heating up slighting before adding oil, that may be just so that the oil better distributes, but I could be wrong.
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#2985805 - 10/17/12 10:08 AM Re: Cast Iron Care [Re: Poser]
TAFKAP
14 Point


Registered: 11/06/09
Posts: 8947
Loc: Memphis

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My mom has cast iron pans that are 30+ years old. They're so slick and seasoned, that a pneumatic needle gun wouldn't get back to bare metal. Our trick was to make TONS of pancakes after getting a new pan. Any of her cast irons will go head to head with even the most modern non-stick cookware. Soap and water all day in any of those things.

But it takes 30+ years to get to that point. I like the thought of keeping the pan in the oven at all times. Since it holds its heat so well, it would help the oven provide a more even heat during the on/off cycling of the heating elements.
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#2985806 - 10/17/12 10:09 AM Re: Cast Iron Care [Re: TAFKAP]
TAFKAP
14 Point


Registered: 11/06/09
Posts: 8947
Loc: Memphis

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But I avoided all that mess by using enameled cast iron ;\)
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#2987532 - 10/18/12 12:31 PM Re: Cast Iron Care [Re: TAFKAP]
BuckWild
TnDeer Old Timer
12 Point


Registered: 09/27/99
Posts: 5637
Loc: Memphis or Birdsong Creek

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I never use soap on any of my cast iron. Little warm water than sit it on the eye at medium heat after I wipe the water off with a towel. This ensures that any moisture that remains after wiping is evaporated. Then drop a small dab of Crisco in the pan and let it melt. Wipe the melted shortening in with a paper towel and put away.
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#2988453 - 10/19/12 04:44 AM Re: Cast Iron Care [Re: BuckWild]
mike243
16 Point


Registered: 09/06/06
Posts: 11244
Loc: east tn

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I dont use soap on mine but after washing with hot water i put on the stove & dry it on med for a few minutes before i recoat it with oil,over heating without enuf oil will cause the coating to bubble,if it gets to be a problem the easy way to clean the carbon off is to put it in the oven when you hit the oven clean cycle ,it makes a mess but wipes out with the normal oven ash.reseason & start the build up again
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