I love cooking with cast iron. Mostly I love it because it's sturdy and looks really cool. What other cooking tool can you find buried on an old homestead, take it home, clean it up and cook on it? Cast iron is, however, a finicky type when it comes to care and storage.
For my birthday my dear mother got me a beautiful cast iron griddle. LOVE!! Then I committed a horrible cast iron no no. I set it down to show my mom around the property and forgot about it. Several days and two very heavy rains later I realized what I had done.
|In my defense, it was already a little rusty.|
Luckily cast iron is forgiving, and with the right know-how you can easily bring it back to life.
Step 1 - Cleaning
Using warm water, soap, and steel wool, gently scrub all of the rust from the pan, inside and out. Make sure that the pan is thoroughly rinsed. Allow to completely dry, remember, oil and water don't mix.
Step 2 - Seasoning
Cover the entire pan (inside and out) with a thin coat of lard, crisco, corn oil, or some other type of fat. I use lard because that is usually what I have on hand. Be sure to get every little corner.
|Please ignore my nails that are sorely in need of new nail polish.|
Step 3 - Still Seasoning
Set your oven to anywhere between 300 and 400 degrees. Place tin foil on the bottom rack (unless you want to scrub oil drippings from the bottom of your oven), and place the pan upside down on the top rack. Set your timer for 1 hour. When the hour's up, allow the pan to cool in the oven.
Now you have a seasoned cast iron griddle ready to set on a wood cook stove and make pancakes. Yum!
Once you have seasoned your pan, don't use soap when you clean it. This will remove the seasoning. Instead use warm water and a soft brush to remove any baked on food. Do NOT store your freshly seasoned cast iron against a tree unless you want to do this entire process all over again.