One of my friends just asked me what she should do for her cast iron skillet that had rusted just sitting in the kitchen cabinet, and that made me think that others might like to know how to properly care for their cast iron. There’s nothing better than Fox Trot Farm Lamb Loin Chops seared to a golden brown in a well-seasoned cast iron skillet. Here’s what I do to keep my cast iron skillets in top shape:
1. Put two racks in your oven, one on the lowest level and one right above it. Lay a sheet of foil on the lower rack, and preheat your oven to 200*.
2. Wash and dry your skillet. Use hot, soapy water. Most of the surface rust will just wipe off.
3. Liberally coat all the surfaces of your skillet with Crisco Shortening. Don’t use any other brand but Crisco. Do the inside, outside and don’t forget the handle.
4. Lay the skillet upside down on the top rack, above the foil that is on the lower rack. The foil will catch drips as the Crisco melts.
5. After 30 minutes at 200*, take the skillet out of the oven and use a wad of paper towels or an old cotton towel to wipe off all the excess melted Crisco.
6. Return the skillet to the oven, laying it upside down again, and increase the heat to 300*.
7. After 30 minutes at 300*, increase the heat to 425* and leave it alone for 2 hours.
8. Turn off the oven and allow the skillet to remain in the oven till it’s completely cool. (I do this process in the evening and then just leave the skillet in the oven overnight.)
9. Repeat this process the next evening. You may repeat this process a third time if you want. Your pan should be dark and shiny after this and will not rust.
I use very hot water with no detergent to clean my cast iron skillets after cooking, but sometimes you just need to use detergent and, in that case, after awhile you’ll see that the “seasoning” has worn off, so just repeat the above process again to protect your pan. I’ve taken really crusty, rusty cast iron skillets and Dutch ovens that I’ve gotten at junk stores and put them in the oven on the self cleaning cycle for 2 1/2 hours and the crust all comes off, then I do the above seasoning process and they come out looking beautiful. I love cast iron cookware! 🙂