Cast Iron Care

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by Motomom34, Aug 18, 2014.

  1. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    Preppers/ survivalist often say a must have is cast iron. My Mother only used cast iron. A pan can be used for cooking or as a weapon. So how do you care for your cast iron?

    fry pan.
  2. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    We like to buy vintage pans from antique shops so most of the ones we use are ~100 years old. I like the old stuff better than modern offerings as it's much smoother.

    My method for care:
    • Cook with lots of fats: bacon, butter, coconut oil.
    • Gently clean with hot water and a plastic scrub brush.
    • Occasionally re-season (after cooking acidic foods like vinegar or tomatoes) with more bacon fat.
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2015
  3. kckndrgn

    kckndrgn Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    About the same as already mentioned. Also, we, really I, clean the CI immediately, while it's still hot. Should something stick (and that really only happens when the temp is too high), add hot water to the pan and let set for a few minutes or bring to a boil. We have the Lodge plastic scrubbers for CI for the really stuck on stuff. Wipe off, put on the burner to get rid of any residual moisture and add a thin coat of bacon grease or lard for storage.

    Occasionally, if a pan gets really bad off, we'll cook off the existing "finish" in the "cleaning" cycle of the oven, then re-season as above.

    While I love the smoothness of the older pans, on a recent trip to East TN, we visited the Lodge Factory outlet and picked up a bunch of "seconds". Nothing a dremel or a bit of sanding couldn't fix ;)
  4. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    I love my cast iron, and I use it in place of a microwave, which I do not own. Dutch oven, baby.

    Yup, these guys nailed it already. I always clean it ASAP while still hot, using only water. I am not too worried about the seasoning of my daily use iron skillet, I just keep it oiled up after every use, which is every day.
    pearlselby and Motomom34 like this.
  5. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    I have read never to clean after each use with soap and water. My Mom always did bacon grease and wiped it with a paper towel.

    Now I have a pan that is in bad shape. I traded for it. They got the good deal. This pan has rust and is not smooth. It has not been cared for at all. I saw a thread on the Monkey that said apple cider vinegar-
    Rust and how to defeat it.

    I would like to know if I can get the rust gone is there a way to seal the cook wear? No toxins allowed. Has anyone had success keeping the rust away and reviving an old pan?
    Marck and pearlselby like this.
  6. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Mine is Wagner's CI. Would have gotten Lodge had it been available when I needed it. Very pebbly finish that succumbed to abrasion with stones to get it to the point where it was (relatively) smooth, then cured by the usual means of oily chow. Burned on guck is taken off with hot water and a stainless scrubby thing, no soap involved. Once in a LONG while, the outer surfaces need a good wire brushing to remove spatter that managed to find its way to the sides. They are only 15 years old, so have not yet seen a self cleaning oven treatment.

    @Motomom34 - Wire brush the he l l out of it with stainless brush, then bacon fry. The grease will keep rust at bay.
    Motomom34 likes this.
  7. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    NEVER use SOAP on cast iron, it will remove the treatment (season).

    It depends on how rusty the cast iron is, but you can fully restore it with a little work. I have used river rocks and sand, metal marbles, brillo pads, steel wool, sand paper, all kinds of things to remove the rust. A vinegar and water treatment will not remove all the rust but if left to soak may form a bit of a patina, which could help against rust later. I would just scour off the rust, get a good scotch brite pad and some vegetable oil or shortening and scrub it down, then rinse it off with hot water (no soap) and apply a final coat of oil to it and bake it until seasoned.
    Motomom34 likes this.
  8. kckndrgn

    kckndrgn Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    @Motomom34 , once seasoned there will be no rust.
    Clean the pan with soap and water to remove the existing rust, if it's badly pitted you may need to use a wire brush on it.
    Dry the pan
    apply a THIN coat of grease/oil and put in the oven as in your first post (tho I've read differing temps/times to cook the seasoning).
    Allow the pan to cool in the oven, don't let the pan go through extreme temp changes, it may warp.
    Rinse the pan in hot water, dry, apply another coat of oil.
    You can optionally do another baking to set the seasoning some more, but it should not be needed.
    Motomom34 likes this.
  9. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    You can also bring a pan back with electricity.:)

    easy electrolysis,,,, the clean way:
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2014
    CrufflerJJ, Brokor and Motomom34 like this.
  10. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    Thank you @kckndrgn , @Brokor and @ghrit for your reviving suggestions. I look forward to this project to see if I can truly save this pan. It is the perfect size.

    @kellory unsure if I should experiment with water and electricity. I will save your method as last resort.
    kellory and Brokor like this.
  11. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    Moto, pure water does not conduct electricity. It is the impurities that do. Most videos I have seen for this type of cleaning, use a medium similar to thin oatmeal. I have a skillet I intend to try with this method or one like it. ;)
    Motomom34 likes this.
  12. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    I have read that a Dutch oven can be used instead of a pressure cooker. Because of elevation a pressure cooker is needed for me to successfully cook beans. A Dutch oven seems like a better way.

    We have this thread that says cast iron cooking is healthier- cast iron is healthier
    My Mom always said the same. I tend to be slightly anemic so incorporating a Dutch oven would give me a bit more iron.
    Brokor likes this.
  13. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    I am definitely not an expert in this area, but I do find myself cursing the decision to not own a microwave from time to time. Still, I think it's worth it to stay true and not use a microwave.
    Motomom34 likes this.
  14. Airtime

    Airtime Monkey+++

    That depends on what you are doing. If canning, you often need the higher temps a pressure cooker provides and a Dutch oven will not in order to safely preserve some foods.
    Motomom34 and NotSoSneaky like this.
  15. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    I recently acquired some free cast iron skillets. They needed a little attention, but not much.

    I just washed them with hot water and a scouring sponge, applied a little vinegar to the surface and let them sit a few minutes. Rinsed off, dried and then applied a light coat of oil. I used a blend of olive oil and grapeseed oil, but that's only because I didn't have any bacon fat rendered.

    I baked upside down in oven at 300 degrees for 1 hour, then turned the oven off and let it sit until cool. I did not open the oven until several hours after I turned it off and the skillets were completely cooled. Then, hang them up!

    DSC00011.JPG DSC00018.JPG When I first got them. A little rough.

    Finished.JPG After proper cleaning and seasoning. Good to go!
  16. oldbee1966

    oldbee1966 Monkey++

    Hello, new here but have a bit to add to this thread.
    I found these video's a year ago. Here is one that fit's right in with this thread.

    kellory and Brokor like this.
  17. NotSoSneaky

    NotSoSneaky former supporter

    They do make a nice KLANG !

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  18. Tully Mars

    Tully Mars Metal weldin' monkey

    I have bought several "well used" pans at trade days and outdoor shows that were in pretty sorry shape. I've had good luck soda blasting them and then seasoning them with bacon grease like others have mentioned above. Soda blasting is like sand blasting except the media is baking soda instead of silica sand. Provides a smoother finish than the sand. Hope this helps.
    kellory and Brokor like this.
  19. hedger

    hedger Monkey+

    I have been cooking a lot in cast iron dutch ovens. My family really enjoys the flavor--a lot! If I take a break from it, my family will complain and ask when I'm going to get back to it.

    When I clean up, I usually rub the dutch oven, inside and out, with a light coat of olive oil. I store my dutch ovens in my garage and cover them each with a cloth draped over them. This has worked out well.

    My wife recently surprised me by purchasing me a Le Creuset that has a 12.4 quart capacity. For those of you who do not know about Le Creuset, they are porcelain-lined/faced cast iron dutch ovens. Actually, the French prefer to call them French Ovens.

    So, when the weather is unpleasant, I can cook with the Le Creuset indoors during the winter.

    For those who are intrigued by the thought of Dutch Oven Cooking, you should start with a 12" cast iron dutch oven (about 6 quart capacity) on tripod legs. Most dutch oven recipes are for 12" dutch ovens--unless otherwise specified.

    If you have not used one before, you place hot charcoals underneath and on the top of the dutch oven. For a 12" dutch oven, 10 coals underneath and 14 on the top will generate a 350 degree F. internal temperature. Keep in mind that a lot of recipes require that you cook for a few hours, so you will need to plan to have some hot calls ready by the time that first batch are about done--roughly an hour.
  20. -06

    -06 Monkey+++

    We have bi annual gatherings (Nov 7-8-9-this year) and usually have a dutch oven cook off on Sat evening followed by a common meal. Always amazes me to see what comes out of those things. We use cast almost exclusively at home and have an assortment hanging around the garden window.
    Brokor likes this.
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