Cast Iron Skillet Care

Some brand names in quality older and highly collectible cast iron skillets are Griswold and Wagner. Books have been written on both brands with information on types and sizes as well as what they are worth to collectors. You can still find these skillets at yard sales, flea markets and thrift stores where they can be purchased for a few dollars. These older skillets still offer many years of excellent service for cooking.

New and used cast iron skillets that have been cleaned need to seasoned. New skillets have to be seasoned before using them, used skillets that have been cleaned or scrubbed to the point where the smooth patina cooking surface has been removed also will have to under go the seasoning process. First, wash the skillet or pan in hot, soapy water; dry immediately. Using a cloth that has been soaked in cooking oil or melted solid shortening and wrung out, rub the entire surface of the cast iron, even the exterior and the lid. Heat upside down in a 350F oven for one hour. Turn oven off and leave the cast iron skillet in a safe place to cool. If the skillet has a heavy build up of burnt caked on grease on the bottom and sides you may have to remove it with oven cleaner and a good scraping and scrubbing before following the above procedure.

How do you clean cast iron after cooking in it? Use hot soapy water (though many experts avoid soap unless they'll be re-seasoning) and clean the pan by simply pouring boiling water over it and wiping it clean with a paper towel. Never use harsh detergents on cast iron. Dry at once.

When do you re-season your cast iron? When the skillet is rusty or the surface appears dull, not shiny, or when food has stuck to the bottom. Scour thoroughly with steel wool, then re-season as explained above. Store, uncovered, in a dry place.

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