Cooking with Grandma's Cast Iron: Part 2

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Refurbishing, seasoning and maintenance

Because of it’s very nature, our much beloved cast iron cookware can get a light haze of red rust on it before you know it. Especially here in the humid deep south. A light haze is readily removed with a scouting pad and cooking oil while the cast iron is warm. Wiping with a white paper towel and light cooking oil will let you know when you have removed it all. Here is a quick 17 second video of the finished and ready to use cookware.

A slightly heavier coating of rust may be removed with a more abrasive scouring pad followed by the paper towel wipe down process.

Deep pit’s in your cookware can sometimes be addressed with a rotary brush or a grinder. However, it must be remembered that one of cast iron cookware’s most endearing trait’s is that it heats evenly across its entire surface. Any thin spots that are made during the restoration process can cause it to burn, discolor and/or stick. Excessive grinding can ruin cast iron leaving you with only a cool display piece.

Our favorite seasoning method, except for the seasoning of brand new cast iron, is to deep fry in it, for example, having a fish fry at the end of a camping or fishing trip. Then carefully wiping the cast iron clean while still hot. Keeping the cookware carefully oiled seems to work best and always when warm so that the pores are open to receive and retain the oil.

Maintaining that great finish during storage can be tricky, but gets much simpler when it is stored in a temperature/humidity controlled environment. Because we prefer that the outside of our cookery stay campfire ready and some what smutted up, we store and transport our cast iron in heavy coarse fabric  shopping bags, making it easier to handle and it keeps the smut from transferring to other things in the storage area.

One of Betty’s little tricks for keeping the rust at bay is to collect the desiccant capsules, that  we find in many over the counter meds such as antacids, put them in a sock and drop them in the cookware before closing the lid tightly. When the desiccant becomes less effective, she bakes them dry to re-use them.

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