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.