Cast Iron Question

Discussion in 'Egg, Chicken, & Other Favorite Recipes' started by SterlingAcres, May 19, 2008.

  1. SterlingAcres

    SterlingAcres Songster

    Apr 17, 2008
    Poconos, PA
    I read through the cookware poll, but I'm still a little lost. Maybe not lost, just intimidated. [​IMG]

    We've got nasty cheapy pans that I'm hoping to replace with cast iron this year. I have a question about the cleaning though. I see MP (god love her) has written about reheating water, wiping it clean and reoiling it before storing it away.

    My question is... a few years back I was making breakfast for my inlaws while visiting and my sister in law pulled out a cast iron pan. I said I should probably wipe it out, since it looked disgusting. I just wiped it out with a towel and she yanked it from me saying I cleaned it wrong. She dumped about 1/2 cup of salt in it and scrubbed the heck out of it.
    What's that about? Is that really how you're 'supposed' to clean a cast iron skillet?
    And secondly, how exactly do you 'season' cast iron? I see someone said make a bonfire and chuck it in. Is seasoning really heating it to a certain degree? I thought it was developing some sort of 'shell' on the pan itself...

    Sorry if they're repeat or stupid questions, I just thought since many of you are using it, maybe you could help me.
  2. tvtaber

    tvtaber Songster

    Aug 2, 2007
    Central CA
    DH got me cast iron pans last year for a gift and we looooove them! We bought the Lodge pre-seasoned and can honestly cook anything in them with almost no sticking. I wash them by rinsing and scrubbing with a plastic scrubby (I used to have a stiff brush that also worked, but I melted it one day on accident and cannot find another one I like as much). For scrambled eggs or those little pieces of pasta that stick to the bottom, I put water in after I empty out the pan and by the time the meal is over it is soaked clean.

    If they are really grungy, I use soap and water but generally the hot water works well enough. The world does not stop spinning just becasue you use soap on them! However, repeated use of soap would quickly strip the seasoning and leave you with a very sticky pan. I dry and use a paper towel to wipe some oil on them. Then I store them on the cooktop because it won't be long before I use them again!

    If a pan is rusty or truly disgusting for some reason, salt and elbow grease work wonders. But if you are using them regularly and wash them after use there is no need for special treatment. Actually, since I use mine almost every day they are in prime shape all the time!
  3. SusanJoM

    SusanJoM Songster

    If you happen upon some old cast iron pans that are good quality but rusted and otherwise gonked to @#$%, you can spray them with oven cleaner and stick them in a plastic bag for a day or two.

    That might have to be repeated a second time, but it will strip the pan right down to the cast iron.

    You will then have to season, but you will have a fine pan to start with.

  4. cluckychick

    cluckychick Songster

    Mar 29, 2008
    South of KCMO
    You can use soap and hot water to scrub the pan then use a basting brush to wipe oil all over it, turn it upside down on a shallow baking pan and stick in the oven.

    Another way is in an outdoor fire, same concept but thrown in the campfire. That's the way my sons do it in Boy Scouts [​IMG]
  5. ChelC

    ChelC In the Brooder

    Apr 11, 2008
    Thanks for the oven cleaner tip. One of my dutch ovens got grease baked on a little thick and it flakes off. Way yuck, I've tried everything and wished I could start the seasoning over... maybe I can. I'll try that!

    For my frying pans I just boil them out after use usually and oil them up before storing. They work well. I have a friend whose pans are soooo smooth. He actually sands them before seasoning. I was a skeptic but those pans are really nice. I use a mild soap when I need to on my frying pans and it hasn't hurt them a bit. I did recently buy an enameled dutch oven though and I love it. I think I'll stick to the regular cast iron for frying pans, but I prefer the enameled dutch oven. Seasoning isn't bad, but I hate the smell and the heat in the house. If you can do it in a pit or get a head start with preseasoned I think it's worth it.
  6. BearSwampChick

    BearSwampChick Chicken Sensei

    Jan 10, 2008
    Marysville, OH
    I've found that there really isn't a need to boil the pans if you've got stuff stuck to it. Just let it cool completely and then soak the pan in a sink of sudsy water for a few minutes, say while you're washing the range and countertops. If the pan is seasoned properly, it usually comes clean with minimal scrubbing. Also, it's best not to use an abrasive pad on them, better to use plastic. For me, I think boiling kind of removes some of the patina of the pan. To keep meat from sticking in the first place, get your pan and oil hot before you place the pieces of meat in it. Then, don't move it around. When the meat is ready to turn over, the surface will release it easily.

    JMO [​IMG]

  7. I wash mine in regular dishwater,and dry them good.add a few drops oil and take a paper towel & rub them down. My DD found some down in the basement that was REALLY rusty, so she has a self cleaning oven and just stuck the pans in there when she cleaned her oven,they came out pretty rusty so I took a wire brush and scrubbed all the rust off, washed them and oiled them and used them.
  8. GlacierNan

    GlacierNan In the Brooder

    Mar 22, 2008
    I found a really rusty dutch oven with lid and hanger thingy for next to nothing. Well I brought it home and a friend took it home with her and brought back the most beautiful pan ever. Her B/F
    took a dremel to it and even seasoned it for me.
    Not a lick of rust anywhere! I just wash it with water and back of a sponge or a brush, same with my fry pans. Sanding works wonders on rust!
  9. ChickenToes

    ChickenToes Songster

    May 14, 2008
    NE Wisconsin
    Technically you're not supposed to use soap or a harsh scrubber on cast iron, just wipe it down with a rag. Well, sometimes that just doesn't work. So scrub away! My tip for seasoning is this: Every time you wash the pan, do not dry it. Put it right on the stove and crank the heat to high and let the heat evaporate all the water. When the pan is dry, grab a napkin, put some Crisco on it, and grease the bottom and sides of the pan. When smoke starts to rise from the pan, turn the heat off and let the pan cool down. I do this every time I use a cast iron pan, and they are almost completely nonstick now.
  10. SterlingAcres

    SterlingAcres Songster

    Apr 17, 2008
    Poconos, PA
    Thank you everyone for the replies and wealth of information about CI. [​IMG] I really appreciate it.

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