Tag Archives: cast iron

Re-seasoning my grandmother’s cast iron pans (and a lesson in being hasty)

When Titus and I got married I bought the Rachel Ray pots and pans set. My mom tried to tell me that it might not be the healthiest way to cook, but I told it was fine since I had made sure that it wasn’t aluminum. 

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What I failed to research though, are the health risks connected to cooking on non-stick cookware.  The more I’ve read about it the more I’m convinced that it isn’t the way I want to go with my pots and pans.  There are so many things I want to do or buy to help my family be healthy and can’t afford it. But cooking on something healthier is something I can do help protect my family.  So in the last few months I have decided to switch to cast iron cookware.   There are a lot of benefits to cooking on cast iron which this post isn’t about, go google it yourself. 😉 

This post is about inheriting two of my grandmother’s pans. Okay I didn’t really inherit them in the sense that she left to directly to me.  When my grandparents died everything was left in the house that they had lived in.  I asked my aunt and uncle if I could have any of the cast iron pans that were left in the house.  They said sure, so I have two of them.  Since they haven’t been used in such a long time they needed to be stripped and re-seasoned. I think one of the very best things about cast iron is that you can’t ruin it! I even read about a guy that fixed his cast iron pan that broke in two.  When considering having a large family having indestructible things around is a good idea! 🙂

I got a really neat square pan.  I’ve never seen one like the before! It’s great for french toast!

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And I got a regular round one.

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And at a second hand store a few weeks ago I found this cute little guy.

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The following directions did not originate with me. I followed this blog post pretty much to the T:

http://www.ibelieveicanfry.com/2010/12/reconditioning-re-seasoning-cast-iron.html

All I did was spray oven cleaner on each pan and let it soak for a few days. She recommends wearing gloves when you do this. I recommend wearing gloves for each stage!  This process is very hard on your hands. I ended up with very very dry hands with multiple burns!

Sprayed with oven cleaner:

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soaking in trash bags

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After a few days I wiped them all off with paper towels and sprayed them again and let them sit another few days.  After that I soaked them in water and vinegar for about 60 min.

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After that I scrubbed them down and put them in a super hot oven, 500 degrees.  I only had olive oil on hand to grease them with.  Next time I’d like to try lard and see how that works.  Every 30 minutes I had to put more oil on and every 15 minutes I had to wipe them down to avoid pooling.  Even doing this my round pan did pool a little bit.

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After letting them cool completely this is what they look like now:

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Julia’s pans are very golden, and I’m not sure why mine didn’t turn out the same way.  The only way I could get mine to look that way was to have my flash on when I took the picture.

And the first thing I cooked in each one (just to prove nothing blew up!)

Pork and Mandarin oranges

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Fried egg. It’s going to take some time getting used to cooking on cast iron.  It’s a really hot pan so my eggs bubbled up a little bit.

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And monkey bread (I love the fact that you can bake in the pans too!)

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I do think I was too fast in trying to re-season my pans.  I think I should have let them sit a few more days in the trash bags with oven cleaner.  I was in such a hurry though because I really wanted to write this post. 😉 And because I had already boxed up my other pots and pans and needed these.  Also I just happened to be doing this project the week Gideon kind of freaked out and was crying all. day. long.  I just wanted to be done with the pans.  The round one especially doesn’t look great, and today after cleaning it I think I saw some rust which means I didn’t scrub all of it off after the vinegar soak.  I do regret being so fast to get it done.  But the good thing is that I didn’t ruin the pans.  I can always re-season them again if I want to.  And maybe not do all of them at the same time so I’m not so hard up for pans.

I wish my grandma was still alive so I could ask her where she got the pans.  Did they originate with her? Or did she get some passed down from a mother or grandmother?  I’ll never know, but it’s still special cooking on them.  Maybe one day I’ll pass them down to Faith, and she can cook on her great-grandmother’s pans. 😀