How to Care for Cast Iron Cookware : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) Preparation Forum : One Thread

So, you have new and old cast iron cookware and you haven't the slightest idea on how to care and cure them. I've been using the same cookware for over 25 years and have had excellent results in their performance over the years.

For Brand New Cookware

First of all, I hope you don't have Taiwan or China cast iron cookware. The cast iron they use for making the cookware is inferior and does not hold up to high heat as does American made. I have purchased a few at yard sales and when burning them out, they crack or the handles fall off.

Best cast iron cookware are: Griswold, Wagner, and Lodge. Griswold is no longer made, but you can still find them at yard sales or flea markets. No matter what type of cast iron cookware it is (skillets, dutch ovens, etc), if it says Griswold you have the best.

Rinse with water only your new cast iron cookware. Rub your cookware down with lard. DO NOT USE vegtable oil or shortening. Vegetable oil turns gummy and rancid when stored. Place in a 300 degree oven for about 2 hours. Cool down then rub again with lard and store away. It will take several cookings to get your pans well seasoned (to the point where eggs won't stick). After each use of your cookware, wash out with water only. NEVER use liquid detergent on your cookware. Use a nylon scrubber to get stuck on food off. Rub down with lard after each use. Cook bacon in your skillets, it will speed up the seasoning process. Rinse with water and scrub out drippings, rub down with lard and store.

For used and rusted cookware

Used cookware is the best because they have some seasoning on them. If they are rusted, take some fine steel wool and rub out the rust. Rinse with warm water only. Rub down with lard and place in a 300 degree oven for a couple of hours. Follow the same process for new cookware.

For cookware where the food is burnt or caked on:

Build a campfire or you can do this in a fireplace. Get the fire going good and hot. Place skillets face down directly onto fire. Leave on fire for about an hour. Remove pan, let cool down to a warm touch. Then rinse well in warm water only. Rub down with lard. If there's still caked on residue on the pans, steel wool the residue off, rinse, rub down with lard.

Good luck...

-- bardou (, December 01, 1999


Thanks, Bardou! I accidentally 'burned out' a skillet last winter by setting it directly on the firebox of my woodstove. This makes an unpleasant smell in the house and I don't recommend it, but it worked. The skillet was as slick as brand new in a couple of hours. I can't remember why I did that...

-- helen (, December 01, 1999.

Bardou thanks for the info printed it out to add to my notebook. Now its time to retrieve new dutch oven and old rusted skillet from garage and get them ready. Nana

-- Nana (, December 01, 1999. you know of an alternative for lard? I'm a vegetarian. We just got an iron dutch oven and need to season it.

-- (, December 01, 1999.


I have my great-grandmother's Griswold skillet, and use it a lot... Been trained well in the procedure you write. Cast Iron is awesome stuff if you treat it correctly...


The Dog

-- The Dog (, December 01, 1999.

If you don't want to use lard then the hard vegetable shortening is the next thing, but not liquid vegetable oil! Also, the more you use your cookware, the more seasoned it gets.

Here's some prices for Griswold cookware:

Crispy cornstick pan, Griswold #262, 4 x 8-1/2 $125.00

Skillet, Griswold #10, large emblem, no smoke ring $80.00

Skillett, Griswold #14, large emblem, no smoke ring $125.00

Griswold muffin pan, #17 $75.00

Dutch oven, Griswold, No. 10 Chuckwagon, 3 leg, large emblem $145.00

Bundt pan, Griswold, rare $1,250.00

Take care of those cast irons!

-- bardou (, December 01, 1999.

Thanks Bardou! Sorry to be stupid, but what is lard? Do you buy it in the margarine section?

-- Amy Leone (, December 01, 1999.


On the left coast you'd find lard in the Hispanic section now. I used to use a refrigerator roll mix with it that made the best Parker House rolls. It's good for tortillas & lots of other stuff.


Thanks for the info. You're a peach!

Jo Ann from another thread,

Lodge used to make the spiders, I had them in a print catalogue within the last decade { dating myself, shamelessly {they had 'em in the square & round shape}}. Of course they don't have a lid, sorry I didn't make myself more clear. I was just placing a bet on the coals I'd start with on the bottom.

-- flora (***@__._), December 01, 1999.

Amy, lard is pig fat. You'll probably find it in the baking section along with vegetable shortening. Sometimes grocers put it in the meat section under a shelf or in the Mexican food section. Lard can used in place of vegetable shortening where recipes call for it.

-- bardou (, December 01, 1999.

I hate to be a dissenter, but there seem to be many acceptable ways to season cast iron dishes. Some authorities actually say to use veg. oil.....and NOT to use animal shortening! Others say to use melted shortening like Crisco. I've never seen, in my several directions from various places, instr. to use lard! Because it can give off a rancid taste, one book said. In fact, I just got two new Dutch Oven cookbooks and they both say to use oil. (So does my video from Lodge, I'm almost sure.) The interesting thing is that various sources give differing times to leave the pan in the hot oven. Some say 350 degrees for an hour, others 250 or 300 degrees for 2 hours. There are many ways to season your pans, so not to lose any sleep over it. Just do it. Once seasoned, the pan should not need to be redone, if cared for properly; but if necessary, seasoning can be done anytime.

-- Jo Ann (, December 01, 1999.

bardou; Concerning the seasoning of cast iron pans, An old Italian told me to soak a pan or pot in virgin olive oil for a few days to season it... Just wondering if you have heard of that process ?

-- Furie (, December 01, 1999.

I am a vegetarian and have used my cast
iron cookware for 35 years. I only use
vegetable oil to season or cook. I don't
wash my pan in soap. I just rinse with
water then dry immediately. If I have to
wash it, I dry it, then oil it while on
the burner.

-- spider (, December 02, 1999.

I'm sure there's plenty of variations out there on how to care for cast iron cookware. Whatever works best for you is what you should continue to do. I posted what's been working best for me the past 25+ years. I've rescued cast iron pans that were going to be thrown away or have been left out in the rain. I restored them with my methods above and they are in perfect condition.

-- bardou (, December 02, 1999.

bardou thanks for the tips. nothing like cast iron. use at home, camping, etc.

-- (, December 02, 1999.

Please tell me why it is ok not to disinfect this cookware with soap. What happens to all the germs??? I have always been afraid to believe this. I have been told not to use soap on my cooking stones either and can not understand why someone won't get sick. Thanks for your help.

-- S Graham (, December 03, 1999.

S. Graham--detergents such as Dawn has chemicals in it that embedds itself into the metal. Have you ever kept rinsing and rinsing your pots or pans and it still smells like soap? Also, the residue left on the pans creates a coating, and the food sticks to the coating. As for germs, everything has germs, but when you heat cast iron to a high heat it kills germs. If you wash you pans thoroughly with water, and lightly with steel wool or fine sand, you will remove particles of food. Dry, then wipe down with lard. Once your cast irons become well seasoned, food won't stick if you take care and a little bit of effort.

-- bardou (, December 04, 1999.

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