The Care and Feeding of Cast Iron Cookwear

David Trammel's picture

How many of you have a cast iron skillet or two?

Here is a great graphic about the 11 rules to owning and caring for cast iron cook wear. Add some of your own (or tell me the one's listed are wrong, lol.)

They say to season with vegetable oil but animal fats tent to polymerize better.

mountainmoma's picture
Ken's picture

I am with KJL on what type of oil to use to season or cook with using cast iron; I use ghee (clarified butter) or lard. Both of which I can get from organic sources at much more reasonable prices than organic vegetable oils and both of which (stored in the refrigerator or freezer) stay fresh far longer. Oxidization happens rapidly in most vegetable oils, especially at room temperature.

I also found that baking soda and salt together can get my pans cleaner than just salt. (Not sure exactly why. Anyone remember chemistry class?) Especially if I've cooked something with strong smells or flavors in it recently. I love garlic but not in my pancakes! Baking soda is also my go-to cleanser in the sink. Remember Brillo pads? I don't have one but I'm quite sure that a brass scrubber of that type would be useful for getting off the stuck on bits without damaging the surface.

Ken's picture

After a while (generally years) my cast iron skillets get really crusty and I've discovered that I can burn that all off by waiting until the woodstove is really rocking a HOT fire and putting the pan right in the middle of the fire and just letting it all burn off. After the fire goes out I have to start over with seasoning again of course, but the pan is like new.

I wonder if I could lay the pan upside down on the fire in my fireplace? How long would it have to stay? Is there any chance of getting it too hot?

I inherited some cast iron that has thick chips of old seasoning that I cannot scrub off even with a copper scrubber, I’m trying to avoid the oven cleaner in a bag technique that I keep reading on the internet.