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Old 11-14-2004, 06:52 PM   #1
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Descoware care

Hi all-

I'm new to the forum--it's great to be here!

I am fortunate to have found a set of descoware pots and pans at a thrift store in Nebraska a few months ago. There's a large skillet, and two sizes of small, stacking saucepans with lids. The enamel is off-white inside and robin's-egg blue on the exterior. I paid $7 for the lot, which, compared with what I've seen on eBay, is a very good price for what I got. On top of that, the set is nearly flawless. Or it was when I brought it home...

You see, I live in Georgia. I unthinkingly stacked the saucepans in the skillet in my cupboard, forgetting that the humidity here was likely to cause rust. I now have some cardboard rounds in between the pieces.

I haven't yet cleand the rust ring out of the skillet, because I wasn't sure what kinds of cleaners and scrubbers were okay to use on the enamel. I've never had any, and my mom never used cast iron. I'd like to use my set for cooking, but not if it will compromise the condition too seriously. From what I've seen the blue is a very rare color, so I'd like to keep it as nice as possible. I'm thinking of taking it back to my parents' in Nebraska to avoid the humidity (somewhat).

So, if anyone has any advice on use or care of enameled cast iron, or else expertise or experience with Descoware, I'd really appreciate hearing from you.

Thank you so much!
Jen

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Old 11-14-2004, 07:17 PM   #2
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IF you have rust on the enamel, I would think the enamel has worn through to the cast iron. And I don't know how you'd fix that - I do know there are 'enamel repair kits', but I don't know if they're okay to use on cooking equipment. :( Sorry I wasn't more help!

I have several pieces of le Cruset, one of which inadvertantly sat outside the entire winter, under the grill (don't ask! :roll: ), and have had no rust problems (I'm in Charleston, SC, the home of humidity)

PS - Welcome to the forums!
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Old 11-14-2004, 07:35 PM   #3
 
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I think you are referring to rust from an exposed part of a pot getting on the intact enamel of another pot.

Am I correct?

If I am, you need a very mild abrasive like barkeeper's friend to remove the rust mark from the porcelain without damaging it.
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Old 11-14-2004, 07:42 PM   #4
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Hi there-

Yes, Chocolatechef, it was the iron from the bottom of one that left rust on the inside of the other. I'll look for the barkeeper's friend next time I'm at the store. Thanks for the tip!

Marmalady, I'm totally impressed that your le Crueset survived a whole winter outdoors! These pans must be at least 40 years old (I think descoware stopped being made in the 60's?) but they clearly haven't seen much use. I'd really like to use them, but I don't really know what to expect from iron. I'm a grad student, which means I've been cooking with non-stick mirro (yelch) since I moved out (they should really just make us take a vow of poverty before enrolling us!) and cooking with iron is such a luxury, but I don't know how fast it will heat, or what temperatures to use for things. Or even what kinds of cooking to use it for. Any advice on what kinds of special occasions to use the descoware for?
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Old 11-14-2004, 07:49 PM   #5
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Oh - Duh - the pots are meant to have an exposed cast iron bottom? Sorry, didn't know!

After you've gotten the rust off, season them following the instructions on the many topics in the 'cookware' forums, and you should be okay.

As far as how to cook with them, you'll find they're wonderful for just about anything, once you learn how they heat up and hold the heat. Cast iron is traditionally slow to heat, but holds its heat a long time once it's hot.

How lucky for you that found this bargain!

Happy Cooking!
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Old 11-14-2004, 07:53 PM   #6
 
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Enameled cast iron excels at those tasks calling for long slow cooking....like braising, oven roasting, etc.

It will not brown as well as regular cast iron, but it will brown foods well. If you use adequate fats/oils it is great for deep frying.

Enameled cast iron is good for baking also. It will retain heat well, but does not heat up or cool down fast.

You do have to be careful about chipping the enamel. Don't put a real hot pot into cold water or it may crack the enamel or even break the cast iron. Do not leave the pot on heat without having food in it. Be careful about using metal utensils, or scouring with abrasives.

Soaking stubborn foods off is better than scouring.

I hope this helps.
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Old 11-14-2004, 11:30 PM   #7
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jkuzuz..........don't you just love this cookware. I was fortunate to find a nice piece (yellow) about a month ago. I keep mine out right on the stove because its such a great color and shape. I used it today to make goulash and just love cooking in it and it cleanse up so easily. I can't wait to find other pieces to go along with it. Hopefully I'll get the others at a steal also. You got a heck of a deal yourself!

Sorry I can't help you with the rust situation but follow the advice the others have given you as they always come through with the best solutions.
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Old 11-16-2004, 12:05 PM   #8
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I used to work in the Housewares department of Gemco.
Most of you won't know that name. It's like WalMart Supercenter.
Anyway, we sold DescoWare by the oodles and it was wonderful stuff, but even back then, very pricey. (the store I worked in was in a movie star neighborhood and Lana Turner or Charlton Heston didn't seem to notice).

I agree with Choclatechef about how to clean. We sold Bartenders/Barkeepers Friend even in that department, as a users' guide for how to clean this great cookware. I too have purchased many wonderful finds of DescoWare in thrift stores. I have had similar problems with rust and it will come off and not damage your treasures but be sure to use a soft hand and don't rub too hard. Also, if you cook something like chili or stew or something that discolors your off white interior, I have filled up the whole pot, after washing it, with water and 2 tablespoons of bleach, simmer on low, then turn off, and let it sit for hours. I came back to a completely clean and bright inside again. If you don't want to use bleach, do the same with washing it out first, then using a Babbo or Ajax or something similar to that, softly scrubbing the entire inside, then leave that cleanser in there and fill up with water. Turn stove on, let water inside get good and hot, turn it off and let set. The bleach from the cleanser will brighten it up just like plain liquid bleach.

On a topic that also involves rust, is black cast iron cookware. A friend of mine, years ago, told me she always bought her cast iron heavy stuff, whatever brand, from Thrift stores whenever she saw something there she wanted. Her secret for preventing rust was to wash it, then put it on the stove over flame for a few minutes until she was she there wasn't a drop of water on it. She did something similar for existing rust if it was present on her purchase. She washed it down as best she could, then put the cast iron piece in the fireplace while a fire was going. NOT THE DESCOWARE, but rather just plain black cast iron skillets etc. This is just mentioned as a seasoning tip for future notice.
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Old 10-07-2006, 11:25 PM   #9
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Question descoware question

Hi,

I have recently come into owning some pieces of descoware and I am wondering if you can use your descoware in the oven. also does anyone know if there is lead in the brand? Thankyou.
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Old 10-07-2006, 11:32 PM   #10
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Isn't Descoware like Le Crueset? ..enameled cast iron? If that is the case then definately they can be used in the oven.
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