Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Cast Iron as wedding gift
In case you get cast iron that needs to be reconditioned, this is basically how I do it, although I’m no expert. There are other methods that work for people more safety conscious and capable than me. Like electrolysis.
This pan was reconditioned yesterday when I put it in the oven at the same time I ran the oven through its cleaning cycle. Depending on how much residue has formed over its life, the pan will come out covered with light ash and will look very rusty. You will be appalled, but this is GOOD, it will be down to the original surface. At least for the cast iron I have, this method has worked well. Yours came out beautiful.
Next step is to re-season it. First, clean off all the residue with Crisco or canola oil and paper towels. You will be anxious because so much blackened and rusty stuff comes off and you’ll wonder if it will ever be safe for anything edible. (Remember. Cast iron can become a small source of iron in the diet. Better, even healthy for you, unlike the shedding of toxic perfluorooctanoic acid [PFOA] from nonstick pans.) Keep applying the shortening until the towels are fairly clean. Wipe it off, then place it in the oven and turn the temp to 450 degrees. When it reaches that temp, turn the oven off. As soon as you the pan is cool enough to handle, reapply a light coat of Crisco and replace it in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes. Turn oven off and leave it in the oven to cool on its own. Wipe it out again. It’s now ready to use.
For the first few months, before you cook in it, always lightly grease it, and heat it on medium/low for five minutes as you get ingredients ready or post your fb status. This will help the seasoning process along and the surface improve – it will eventually become silky smooth. Then adjust the heat to whatever your dish requires. The more you use it, the better it will get. I promise.
If food has not stuck to the surface, cleanup only requires a quick swipe with a damp cloth or paper-toweling that leaves a very light coat of oil. If you make something that sticks, (some things will) don’t worry about scrubbing it hard. It can take it. I know a lot of folks say NEVER scrub it or use soap, but I do all the time- if needed. Before you put it away, make sure it drys, re-oil it, and put it on low again for a few minutes, and it will be ready for the next use.
Hannah, your cast iron skillet is a WagnerWare #5. Less than 8 inches max. I found it at a garage sale and hate to tell how little I paid for it, since it’s your wedding gift, and after all, you and Thomas are worthy of much more. Don’t know how old, but probably pre-1960’s. It is just right for sautéing onions and peppers, making a 3 egg omelet, or baking 3-4 apples. It will make awesome fry-basted eggs – that’s where you put in a teaspoon of butter, heat the pan, crack in the eggs, quickly add 1 T water and slam on a pot lid. Done to perfection in a couple minutes! No flipping necessary.