One of my favorite things to do is go to garage sales or flea markets and find old rusted cast iron cookware. I would look at it and wonder how many pieces of fried chicken were cooked in it? I couldn't imagine how much cornbread was baked in it or how many sweet cobblers bubbled away in it. I knew it had a story to tell, if I was just willing to listen. Now unfortunately it had seen better days. I know that with tender loving care I could make that skillet new again. It would be shiny and black as the blackest of coal. Food would slide out of it better than any fancy nonstick you ever saw. The first thing you must do is use steel wool and scrub the oxidation away.
Then you would treat it like a brand new skillet.
That is when you season it.
Seasoning is making your cast iron non-stick cookware like all the new miracle cookware. You can buy and maintain a non-stick skillet with nothing more than vegetable shortening. The best thing is that it will never wear out. The cast iron skillet can be used to cook on the stove top, the oven or the grill. A good iron skillet can be passed down as an heirloom if taken care of properly.
Make sure your new skillet has been washed in hot water and mild detergent. This will remove the factory anti-rust coating. For re-seasoning an existing skillet, just make sure to wipe the entire surface with hot water and a clean wash cloth or paper towel. Dry the skillet by heating on the cook top then let it rest and cool. Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees.
Use about a 1/4 of a cup of vegetable shortening and coat the whole skillet except the bottom. You can use your hands or a paper towel.
Once you have the skillet coated, place it in the oven (at 200 degrees) and set a timer for 3 hours. This low temperature will open the cast iron pores and allow the shortening to penetrate as it liquefies. Ooops! Looks like I should have cleaned my oven before taking this picture.
After the time is up, cut off the oven and let the skillet cool. Once it is cool enough to touch, wipe it down with another paper towel to remove most of the shortening and leave a thin coat on the surfaces.
Now you are ready to use the skillet. For the first couple of uses, cook something greasy like bacon or sausage. This will help to heat cycle and re-coat the interior surface which will make the non-stick coating better.
Here are some recipes you may like to try with your cookware..
Barbecue Pork Sandwich
This recipe I made with my dutch oven
You can get the recipe here
Get the recipe here.
Cast Iron Skillet Potato Cake
Get the recipe here.
So the next time you are at a flea market or garage sale, look around. Are there any cast iron cookware that has a story to tell you? Are you willing to listen?
Peace be with you,
Copyright 2012 Veronica Gantley
About the Author
We welcome guest contributors who graciously volunteer their writing for our readers. Please support our guest writers by visiting their sites, purchasing their work, and leaving comments to thank them for sharing their gifts here on CatholicMom.com. To inquire about serving as a guest contributor, contact editor@CatholicMom.com.