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Friday, April 19, 2013

Practicing what you Preach

How to restore and how to season remains the biggest question with cast iron cookware that I receive from folks around the globe.  The term, "There is more than one way to skin a cat" often relates to the care or restoring of cast iron since many methods work and some work better than others.  

Whether using an aerosol spray can of Oven-Cleaner,  coke-cola, electrolysis or placing the cook ware directly on a heat source first, there are many ways to clean rust off from a piece of cast iron and surely many different ways to restore the cookware.  However, in an early blog "Restore and Clean Cast iron Cookware" I try to fully explain why I choose one method over so many others. I always look for how to perform any task getting the best results, performing the least amount of effort, most affordable cost that provides the safest measures to any job.  This carries over into restoring my personal cast iron as well.  I do not knock others for finding what works best for them, although many other methods either cost more, do not get the best results or are simply not as safe which is why I practice what I preach.

I restore every piece of my cast iron using plain white vinegar.  It's that simple.  Take a look.

Lodge 20" inch cast iron skillet
Here is a piece of cast iron cookware with mild traces of rust.  It is not pitted but did need to have the rust removed and the reseasoning to protect the cookware from future oxidation.  Our first step, is to mix a 50/50 solution of white vinegar with plain tap water to soak and clean the surface rust off.  Normally,  I soak over night, this I went right to work cleaning.

Cast iron frier
Minutes after pouring the solution into the skillet, it quickly begins to work. Notice the use of a plain scrub brush of nylon bristles.  No wire brush required to begin scrubbing away the rusty surface.  Vinegar cuts through the rust getting back to the iron finish. 

Rust easily removed
By scrubbing the cookware, the cast iron begins to shine removing rust from the oxidized surface.  After completely removing the rust from the surface, I always wash in plain luke warm water with a mild soap for a final cleaning. This will neutralize the vinegar.  Once washed,  wiped dry with a towel and place in the pre-heated oven at 250 degree (F). This temperature is used to dry the cast iron. Plus it allows the cast iron to preheat while drying.  Even when cooking, a good habit is to always slowly heat cast iron cookware for longer life.  Now the item is ready for seasonings:   

Seasoning on the outdoor grill, looking new again

Remember, for a complete explanation of restoring cast iron cookware, check out this link (Restoring)

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