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Old 12-29-2004, 12:34 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by scott123
I don't agree with the oiling of cast iron pans for storage. If you don't use them for a few weeks, the oil will have a tendency to go rancid because of the increased exposure to air. The next time you cook with it, you're adding a small amount of rancid oil to your food. Not healthy, definitely not tasty.

As long as the pan is well seasoned and you store it in a clean, dry place, it will last indefinitely.

As far as using salt to clean cast iron, that's not my bag either. From a hygienic perspective, it's way off. A very light sudsing of soap, careful rinsing and then drying has never adversely effected my pans. Nor anyone else who I've spoken to. Scouring with salt has a nice nostalgic air to it, but in reality, yesteryear had considerably more food related illness than we do now.

I agree entirely. Oil, crisco, Pam, etc. will leave a film and will affect the taste of the food. And never use mineral oil -- its a laxative.

Salt just seems crazy. A well seasoned pan can certainly tolerate soap and hot water. A not-so-well seasoned pan can certainly tolerate hot water and a scrubber. Salt if I am camping, maybe, but not at home.

The most important thing is to make sure your cast iron is totally dry. I dry mine on the stove burner.

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Old 12-29-2004, 01:09 PM   #12
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jennyema just reminded me of something ......

Do you know why the makers of wood cutting boards suggest using mineral oil to oil cutting boards? Because, it doesn't go rancid like other oils.

If you're using enough mineral oil to oil your cast iron or cutting board to get a laxative effect .... you're probably using way too much oil.

"It ain't what you don't know that gets you in trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain
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Old 12-29-2004, 05:42 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Michael in FtW
scott ... the problem wasn't about storing a "well seasoned" pan. A properly stored well seasoned pan wouldn't have rust on it, would it?

As for salt being "hygienic" - it's a form of coarse abrasive to "scour" the pot - you could use baking soda as a fine grain abrasive about equal to Barkeeper's Friend. To take it a step farther ... IF you brought the temperature of the food you cooked up to a point sufficient to kill bacteria (160-180F), and IF you clean your castiron within an hour or so after cooking before new bacteria can begin to grow, and IF your table salt hasn't become infected with bacteria ... there isn't a bacteria issue. And, IF you preheat your castiron before you toss food into it to cook the next time ... or the food is heated to 160-180F airborn germs that could have gotten into your cookware will be dead, too.

Again, IF your castiron is WELL seasoned - you might indeed get away without oiling/greasing it before storage. If the iron isn't coated to keep it from the moisture in the air, it will rust. It would be far better to grease it, and if the grease goes rancid, wash it right before cooking with it rather than leaving it unprotected.
Michael, I know that some people use the term 'well seasoned' to refer to a pan that been used for years and years and has a black patina. I probably should have used a different adjective. What I meant by well seasoned, is a brand new pan that's been seasoned correctly at the start. As long as a person follows the directions for seasoning, that brand new pan shouldn't require oiling between uses - just drying after washing/storage in a dry place.

As far as utilizing heat as a tool to kill bacteria, I can see where you're coming from. I guess it's the same kind of premise as a bbq grill. I think, though, that with a grill, the enclosed setting/intense preheating guarantees bacteria killing temps, whereas the non-conductive nature of iron might result in the sides of the frying pan not getting hot enough, even with a substantial preheat. I know that I'm being nit picky here, but if you're going to rely on heat for providing a bacteria free environment, all the angles have to be considered.

And this is all from a safety perspective. From an aesthetic, what flavors are being brought the table approach, I think you're still stuck with the whole rancid oil issue - not from the oiling in between but from the residual oil from the last meal. Fat/oil in a bottle with a lid has a lifespan that far outshadows fat/oil spread across an open pan.

Btw, is there such a thing as bacterially contaminated salt? I was under the impression bacteria couldn't survive in salt.

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