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How To Restore Rusty Cast Iron Cookware
My feelings about cast iron cookware are pretty well-known, but for the new kid in the back, here’s the skinny: I LOVE THE STUFF! I’m all about any product that not only performs outstandingly well but will outlive me with the proper care. Cast iron fits that bill very, very well. (It also happens to be a pretty good form of self-protection, should the need arise, but that’s a different subject altogether.)
Here’s the thing about cast iron, though… in the right hands, it has the potential to be the best cookware you’ve ever used. In the hands of someone inexperienced, it can quickly turn into a rusty, nasty mess. I’ll write a little piece on how to properly care for your cast iron soon, but today I’m focusing on what to do if you have a piece that is a super-rusty thing that you’d never want in your house… much less be used to put food in.
If you’ve found a piece of cast iron cookware that is not so rusted that it has holes in it, fear not! It can be saved! It’s just going to take a little time, a few key products, and a little elbow grease. In the end, though, you will have a piece of cookware that you’ll want to use every day, and it will last for YEARS. So, let’s get to it…
What you’ll need:
Let’s get to work…
1. Working outdoors, place cinder block on the ground and cover with a heavy-duty trash bag, draping bag over block so that sides of the bag will be easy to grasp and pull up over the pan.
2. Place pan upside-down on top of the block. Wearing rubber gloves, spray skillet all over with Easy-Off Oven Cleaner, being careful to keep spray away from your face and exposed skin.
3. Flip the pan over and spray inside.
4. Pull plastic bag up and around the pan and tie to close. Leave wrapped, sprayed pan outside for 24 hours.
5. Remove the plastic bag and throw it out. Bring the pan into a sink and scrub all over with SOS pad and hot soapy water to remove all residue. Rinse, repeat scrubbing with SOS pad, and rinse again.
6. Combine 2 cups white vinegar with 2 cups water. Fill the pan with the vinegar solution and let stand for an hour. Discard solution in pan; rinse well, then dry well with paper towels.
7. Using paper towels, immediately rub 1 tablespoon oil over the surface. Using clean paper towels, thoroughly wipe off excess oil (surface should look dry, not glistening).
8. Heat oven to 500 degrees. Place pan in oven for 1 hour. Using potholders, remove skillet from oven and let cool completely before storing.
Yes, this process takes a while. There is a little work involved. That said, if you have a piece of heirloom cast iron that has some high sentimental value for you, or even something you’ve found at a garage sale that you really want to make your own, this process is so worth it. This process not only cleans the pan out completely but also seasons it, so that it can become almost non-stick in time. Following this method will result in a pan that you can be proud of, and use over and over again.
Once you’ve got your pots & pans in tip-top shape, be sure to check out the post I wrote about properly caring for your cast iron!
Until next time, be sure to #SavorLifeDaily and be sure to join our community of Savor Lifers for more fun every day!