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LJsmom 07-04-2004 12:51 PM

Cast Iron Pan questions
Just recently discovered my grandmothers cast iron skillet. I love it!! Its just big enough for a sandwich or egg.

Mainly I want to know what is the right way to care for it and any cooking suggestions.

Its already been seasoned (40+years of cooking should do it ;) )
I've heard its ok to use dish soap and also that you should not ever use soap; only scrape food off and then grease it before putting away.

Bought a 15" square one on vacation and am trying to season it on the grill. Used shortening then put it over the coals.

Am I doing this right:confused:

ajrsmom 07-04-2004 03:17 PM

You can also season it with oil and put it in the oven.

I will see if I can find some written instructions for you.


In the last article below it says to never use oil but thats what I used when we owned one and I never had a problem with it.

ajrsmom 07-04-2004 03:19 PM


How To How to Clean and Season Cast Iron
From Pamela Wiggins,
Your Guide to Antiques.
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With these cleaning and seasoning instructions, old cast iron pans will make a welcome addition to your kitchen. Follow steps 1-8 for cleaning old pans and 9-14 for seasoning clean or new pans.
Difficulty: Average

Time Required: 15 minutes up

Here's How:
1. Wear rubber gloves and eye protection while cleaning cast iron since the methods require using caustic chemicals.

2. Begin by spraying the pan with oven cleaner and putting it in a plastic bag.

3. After a day or two, take it out of the bag and scrub it down with a brass brush.

4. If all the grease doesn't loosen up right away, repeat the process concentrating cleaner on stubborn spots.

5. If you have several dirty items, soak them in a solution of one and a half gallons of water to one can of lye mixed in a plastic container.

6. Allow them to soak for about five days, then remove the pieces and use the same brass brush method to scrub them clean.

7. Removing mild rust should be done with a fine wire wheel on an electric drill.

8. Crusted rust can be dissolved by soaking the piece in a 50 percent solution of white vinegar and water for a few hours.

9. Once the pan's clean, begin the seasoning process by warming it in the oven for a few minutes then applying a little shortenting, vegetable cooking spray, lard or bacon fat.

10. Put the skillet back into a 225 degree oven for 30 minutes. Remove and wipe it almost dry to eliminate any pooled grease.

11. Place the pan in the oven for another half hour or so, completing the initial seasoning.

12. The seasoning process will continue with use, especially if you use it to cook fatty foods (bacon, sausage, fried foods, etc.) the first few times it hits the stove.

13. To clean after cooking, boil hot water in the pan. Let it soak for several minutes and then wipe dry with a paper towel.

14. Reheat the pan and apply just enough grease to wet the surface before storing.

Use the methods above only for cleaning iron.
Don't soak pans in a vinegar solution more than overnight without checking them because the solution will eventually eat the iron.
After cooking, do not use detergent or scouring pads to clean a cast iron pan since this will destroy the seasoning.

What You Need:
Rubber gloves
Eye protection
Spray oven cleaner
Large plastic zip bag
Brass brush

ajrsmom 07-04-2004 03:22 PM


New Pans

Heat the oven to 250 - 300
Coat the pan with a solid vegetable shortening, bacon grease or lard, do not use a liquid vegetable oil because it will leave a sticky surface and the pan will not be properly seasoned.
Put the pan in the oven. In 15 minutes, remove the pan & pour out any excess grease. Place the pan back in the oven and bake for 2 hours.

Repeating this process several times is recommended as it will help create a stronger "seasoning" bond. Also, when you put the pan into service, it is recommended to use it initially for foods high in fat, such as bacon or foods cooked with fat, because the grease from these foods will help strengthen the seasoning

Hope this helps!!


LJsmom 07-04-2004 08:38 PM

thanks everyone.
I mistakenly used cooking oil then put it in the oven first. Ewww, it got sticky.
Shortnening on the the grill got most of the stick off.

*Also, when it was in the oven, it left a horrible stink in the house. It was so hot and muggy out, but I opened the windows anyway.

ajrsmom 07-04-2004 09:36 PM

Glad to hear that the grill worked for you!! Great idea for keeping the house cool and smell free!


Irish Angel 07-05-2004 09:37 PM

Thanks bunches for the info on how to care for cast iron.
I have a griddle, a square frying pan and a huge round pan

beckie 07-06-2004 10:18 AM

I have a cast iron skillet that I bought years ago at Dollar General. The only thing I do to clean it is drop it in the dish water (yes, with dish soap), scrub lightly (with a regular kitchen scrubber, not brillo or anything), rinse, and then heat it up on the stove until all the water has evaporated. Occasionally, I will add some oil, wipe with a paper towel to coat, and just let it sit until next time. (I store mine in the drawer in bottom of stove) I read the big long list of cleaning cast iron stuff, but, my way has worked for almost 10 years now.

LJsmom 07-06-2004 06:15 PM

I just looked at my pan and its kind of rusty. Whats that about? It looked good after I got it out of the grill.

beckie 07-06-2004 07:07 PM

That happens sometimes if there is ANY bit of moisture, I think you mentioned it was humid outside..............

I know what the internet says, but, what I do is wash the pan as any other skillet (dish water), rinse, put it on your stove burner, turn the burner on to evaporate all the water. You want the pan totally dry. Do not leave it on the fire for too long, I usually leave mine on for about 2-3 minutes. After the pan is dry, use oil and a paper towel to coat the entire inside of the pan. Let it sit (wherever you store it), and it should be fine. The little bit of surface rust that appears from moisture does not hurt anything and can be easily cleaned. Storage is the key.

Let me know how it works out, I hope this helps.

Be blessed,

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