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Old 12-25-2004, 01:27 PM   #1
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cast iron skillets

I purchased some cast iron skillets. I thought the label said they were "seasoned". I used them and now they look "rusty". What should I do to remove the rust and to get them black again? Anything I should NOT do?

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Old 12-25-2004, 01:58 PM   #2
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Being "pre-seasoned" doesn't make cast iron rust proof. After it is 100 years old and the seasoning is so thick you can't cut it with a knife, really black and crusty from lots of use, it can still rust if not treated with some respect.

The 4 main things I would say NOT to do would be wash it in the dishwasher, use soap to clean it, put it away without a protective layer of oil/grease after being properly dried, and NEVER stack one cast iron skillet/pot inside another without a cushion of cardboard or paper towels (no direct metal on metal).

You're going to have to re-season it. Depending on how bad the rusting is ... you might be able to get by with scrubbing it with a dry scotchbrite pad, or you may need to use steel wool, and then wash it with hot soapy water, dry it, oil it, and season it by hand.

Go to http://www.lodgemfg.com/ and check the FAQ and Use & Care sections.
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Old 12-26-2004, 10:57 PM   #3
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I can't add anything to this topic that Michael hasn't already said except to add my own testimony of the rugedness, and usefullness of cast iron. I use my cast iron pans for almost all of my stove-top cooking, and much of my oven cooking as well. I've even used it on the grill and over camp fires. The pans, when seasoned properly, are nearly as stick-free as the best non-stick cookware, and a whole bunch more durable. I couldn't live without my cast-iron.

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Old 12-27-2004, 12:04 AM   #4
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I agree with GoftheN. I love my cast iron skillets, griddles, dutch ovens, etc. Some of my recipes just would not be the same if they were not cooked in a cast iron skillet, etc. I just recently picked up a book, " A Skillet Full" from Lodge Press. It is chock full of recipes for various types of cast iron.
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Old 12-27-2004, 01:03 AM   #5
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you may have to get out fine grain sand paper to get rid of the rust, depending on how deep it has gotten into the metal. then you should re-season it, inside and out (with a thick "tray"of foil underneath to catch any run off grease - i use crisco) right away. a couple of applications of grease is best. also, i always wash mine out right after using it, never letting it sit in water, and then put it back on a burner for a minute to evaporate any residual moisture. a quick wiping down before putting it away with any kind of oil is also a good practice.
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Old 12-27-2004, 09:50 AM   #6
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http://www.panman.com/cleaning.html
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Old 12-27-2004, 10:02 AM   #7
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oof, i don't know about you, but lye and oven cleaner scare me. sand paper works well, and is bucky friendly :D ...
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Old 12-27-2004, 12:19 PM   #8
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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.
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Old 12-27-2004, 02:00 PM   #9
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Thanks for all this info. One of my gifts was a huge cast iron fry pan. Can't wait to use it.
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Old 12-29-2004, 01:11 PM   #10
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buckytom - I agree about the chemical wash .... if you really want to unseason a castiron pot or pan just put in an oven and run it through one self-cleaning cycle.

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.
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