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Renewing your cast iron skillet or cooking pot

By Edited Nov 29, 2015 0 0

Here are a few tricks and tips on how to renew your old cast iron cookware. These instructions may come handy if you happen to find an old rusty pan in the flea market or yard sale etc. Some parts of the instructions are not suitable for skillet with wooden handle.

It doesn't really matter how rusty your cooking pan is as long as it doesn't have any cracks or holes in it! Having holes or cracks welded up isn't actually very practical as the original strength cannot be reached and new cracks may develop very easily.

So you found a very rusty old cooking pot that is covered with rust, mold or any other nasty corrosion? As a general rule of thumb one might say that the older the pan the better. They don't make them anymore with the quality they were once made in the good old days. In order to prepare it to become cookware once again, we need to get rid of all that rust.

Idea is to heat up the pot so much that the rust is removed. The needed temperature  can only be achieved with fire. I have an outside fireplace for barbecuing that I use. I burn a bunch of wood in order to get big nice embers. Then the pot is placed on top of the ember and it is kept there until they have cooled down together. The pot should get so hot that it glows red. Now all the rust should be easy to knock and scrape off with a piece of wood. The fine tuning can be done with scratchpad or similar.

The next step needs to be done as soon as the pot has cooled down as it will start to rust immediately again! The clean pot is scrubbed all over with sunflower oil. Don't use olive oil as it will not tolerate the heat that happens when cooking. So when the pot has been oiled, it is placed into a COLD oven upside down. Place a oven pan with aluminum foil under it so  that the dripping oil doesn't burn into the bottom of the oven. Heat the oven up as high as it goes (525 F/275 C). Leave for 15 minutes then turn off the oven and leave the pot in to cool down. When the pot is cool reapply oil and repeat the heat cycle.

Your pot or skillet is now ready for hard use and I can promise food wont stick to it any more than to a teflon pan! Butter or oil is recommended however when cooking.

The first sign that a new oiling and oven heat cycle is needed is when food starts sticking to the pan. The deterioration can be slowed down by not using any kind of dish washing agents and occasional oiling before storing. Washing can be done with warm water only.

And now that you have done so much work to achieve brilliant surface to your pot you definitely don't want to ruin it with wrong usage. Here are the three basic rules on how to handle your cast iron pot:
1. Do not wash it in the dish washer
2. Do not leave water standing in it
3. Do not lend it to a friend!



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