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iron-pot-care-msg - 8/14/15


Seasoning and caring for iron pots and skillets.


NOTE: See also the files: utensils-msg, horn-utn-care-msg, mazers-msg, spoons-msg, pottery-msg, Horn-Spoons-art, wood-utn-care-msg, p-tableware-msg.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.


Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                          Stefan at florilegium.org



From: destry at netcom.com (Fellwalker)

Subject: Re: "Seasoning" Cast Iron Ware

Date: Sat, 20 Jul 1996 03:18:51 GMT


On 19 Jul 1996 19:31:07 -0400, Bruce Mills (millsbn at mcmail.cis.McMaster.CA) wrote:

: I would be pleased if anyone who has knowledge on the "seasoning" of cast

: iron ware in preparation for use in cooking would post a concise treatise

: on so doing.  I have tried a number of methods, all of which I have found

: to be less than satisfactory.


The method I use:


Wash utensil, rinse and dry.


Grease lightly with a SOLID shortening (Crisco works well. What shortening

you use will definately affect how well this works).


Bake in a 300 degree oven for one hour. Cool, and store.


Wash with boiling water and a brush, do not use soap, as it will remove

the seasoning.


Do not store food in it or allow to sit for long periods after cooking.


--Morgan (Max)

--  ...with rings on her fingers and bells on her toes... <destry at netcom.com>


Sleepy Cat Graphis           http://emporium.turnpike.net/Z/zen/index.html

P.O. Box 608048                     - The Church of Zen Fatalism -

San Diego, CA 92160                      Artful Things Gallery



From: drgnlair at nai.net (Bob & Nancy Upson)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: "Seasoning" Cast Iron Ware

Date: 20 Jul 1996 09:38:18 GMT

Organization: The Dragons' Lair www/BBS


millsbn at mcmail.cis.McMaster.CA (Bruce Mills) says:

>I would be pleased if anyone who has knowledge on the "seasoning" of cast

>iron ware in preparation for use in cooking would post a concise treatise

>on so doing.  I have tried a number of methods, all of which I have found

>to be less than satisfactory.


1) Scour it thoroughly to remove any rust or packing oils.

2) Coat it with cooking oil, inside and out.

3) Heat it in a 300 degree oven for an hour.

4) Carefully wipe off any oil that remains.

5) Repeat process if necessary.


*) To maintain seasoning, re-oil the inside periodically.  This can be done

   by wiping the inside with a tablespoon of cooking oil and heating on a

   low burner.  (I keep my best skillets on the back burner over the oven

   vent -- just enough heat to help 'set' the oil.)


That will get you started, cast iron will continue to season and improve

with every use.  Be careful of cleaning it with soap -- it will degrade

the seasoning.  If you must use soap to clean it, scrub it clean and rinse

it thoroughly afterwards before re-oiling.  Never soak it in soapy water or

'Brillo' unless you're ready to strip it and reseason from scratch!





From: Sam Wise <gamgee at catamart.com>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: "Seasoning" Cast Iron Ware

Date: Sat, 20 Jul 1996 16:33:58 +0000


On 19 Jul 1996, Bruce Mills wrote:

> I would be pleased if anyone who has knowledge on the "seasoning" of cast

> iron ware in preparation for use in cooking would post a concise treatise

> on so doing.  I have tried a number of methods, all of which I have found

> to be less than satisfactory.


step 1. wash very well removing all rust and other buildup

step 2. use top of stove to dry. NEVER let cast iron dry by setting it

in dish drainer (unless you want a rust red skillet)

step 3. preheat oven to as hot as posible.

step 4. use cooking oil soaked paper towel to coat entire pot/skillet with

cooking oil. (remember you will be eating out of this thing)

step 5. cook the pot/skillet for 1/2 hour or so. (if oil starts smoking

that's long enough)

step 6. cool the pot/skillet

step 7. repeat steps 2-6 a couple times.

if this is the first time this peice, repeat steps 1-6 at least 3 times.


REMEMBER if you use soap to clean your skillet, you MUST re-season it.


I usualy use the top burner of my stove to season skillets.  just bring

the oil to a near burn. (when the oil starts smoking, it's hot enough)


At least this is the way I have always done the seasoning for my skillets.

And all I ever use is cast iron.  I will NEVER go back to aluminum!!!!!!!


From: hrjones at uclink.berkeley.edu (Heather Rose Jones)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: "Seasoning" Cast Iron Ware

Date: 20 Jul 1996 20:53:48 GMT

Organization: University of California, Berkeley


Bruce Mills (millsbn at mcmail.cis.McMaster.CA) wrote:

: I would be pleased if anyone who has knowledge on the "seasoning" of cast

: iron ware in preparation for use in cooking would post a concise treatise

: on so doing.  I have tried a number of methods, all of which I have found

: to be less than satisfactory.


For me, it works best to divide the proper use of cast-iron ware into

three aspects: initial seasoning, proper use, and re-seasoning.


Others have described adequate methods for the initial seasoning: clean

thoroughly, rub with fat or oil, and heat. I actually prefer to heat the

pan first, then rub it all over with the oil, then return it to the heat

and repeat several times. Don't use too much oil at one time or it will

polymerize into useless sludge. I actually prefer doing the heating over

the flame on my stove, but _don't_ do this with an electric burner.


When you have what looks like a good initial seasoning, keep in mind that

this is something that needs to be maintained -- you can't do it once and

forget about it. If you are baking/frying/etc., heat and then oil the pan

before puting food in it _every_time_ you use it. Try very hard to avoid

burning food onto the pan -- you'll take off the seasoning in the process

of cleaning out the crud. Don't use an abrasive cleaning method. If

possible, don't use water at all in cleaning. (My griddle never sees water

at all.)


I personally have not had problems with washing these items with regular

soap and water as long as I always reseason after washing: immediately

after washing, put the pan back on the heat, when it is dry and warm,

re-oil it lightly (and, of course, let it cool before putting it away).


It's a constant process, but especially for griddles and frying pans, the

result is well worth it. My favorite small frying pan is so smooth and

seasoned that I can flip crepes in it! (But I've been using that one for

the last twenty years.)


One final warning. At the risk of insulting even your closest friends and

family, NEVER let anyone else use your cast iron unless you've made sure

they know how to treat it properly. (Unless, like me, you are wiling --

for the sake of family harmony -- to grit your teeth and start over when

your father brags to you about how well he scrubbed out your dutch oven.)


Tangwystyl verch Morgant Glavsryn



From: svea at execpc.com (Barb Johannessen)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: "Seasoning" Cast Iron Ware

Date: 21 Jul 1996 13:40:07 GMT

Organization: The Great Dark Horde


There are several ways of seasoning cast iron:


The quick way (if you don't mind smoke in the kitchen and/or can do it



The slower way.


And the really slow (or lucky) way.


The really slow way is to inherit or buy *old cast iron* that has already

been cooked in for five or ten or twenty years. This requires luck, but it

will probably be beautifully seasoned. Or buy new cast iron and cook in it

for five or ten or twenty years, wiping it out and drying it on medium heat

after each meal. (Somehow, I suspect that this is not the method you want to

know about <g>)


The not so slow way is to

1. wash it well to remove any packing, or storage coatings. For this, you use

the hottest water you can stand, and yes, a Brillo or SOS pad. There's

*nothing* on new cast iron you want to keep.


2. Dry it on the stove with the burner turned up *high* (you want to dry it

completely, as fast as possible)


3. While it's still hot, pour a small pool of cooking oil (my husband and I

are both partial to peanut oil for this) into it, and wipe the oil around it

*throroughly*. Do the outside as well. Let it cool. then repeat the heating

and oiling.



The quick and smoky way is to scrub it clean and heat it as (1) and (2)

above, then turn your oven on (someone said as high as possible--this makes

for a *very* smoky kitchen-- I've done it at about 150-200 degrees and had

very good results) and fill the pan with oil, and let it sit in the oven for

several hours. Pour off the hot oil (coffee cans work well as containers),

wipe the pan with a couple of paper towels, and let it cool. You should only

have to go through this once.


The aftercare is not as rigorous as some people I have run into make it



Try not to scrub it once you've got it seasoned. (properly seasoned cast iron

can stand up to soapy water--just don't let it soak in the soap.) A

Scotch-Brite (tm) will clean off most any stuck on crud without removing the

seasoning. We take ours camping, and believe me, they get Hot Soapy Water



Dry it over heat each time you use it and wipe a thin film of oil on it

before you put it away.


If you use it to fry greasy stuff (bacon, chicken, so on) you may be able to

just wipe out most of the residual cooking grease and put it away with a thin

film of the oil still on it. (This is why Grandma's cast iron is so

beautifully seasoned--that's the way she did it.)


What oil you use will affect the flavor of the food you cook in the pan as

the seasoning layer builds up. If you've used Fire Oil, or a garlic-y oil to

cook with, you'll eant to wash out that flavor and oil with a mild oil.


Cast iron is great, once you've gotten it started seasoning!





From: Hrothgar <bhurley at washington.xtn.net>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: "Seasoning" Cast Iron Ware

Date: Tue, 23 Jul 1996 19:19:16 -0400

Organization: Nant-y-Derwyddon, Meridies


Michael Greenstein wrote:

> Greetings unto all from Michael Alewright of the Marche...


>         Um, why is "seasoning" so important for cast iron cookware?


> I've heard that such cookware is wonderful, but never used it, and might

> someday, so I figure this would be useful information!


>                                 Regards,

>                                 Michael Alewright of the Marche

>                                 Barony Marche of the Debatable Lands

>                                 (nearly!) Kingdom of Aethelmearc


Seasoning is the period version of Teflon.

I still like it better.


We have a skillet that has been used 30 years or so [not by me, but in the family]. If someone scrubbed it with detergent and a wire brush, I would instantly reach for sword & board.






From: drgnlair at nai.net (Bob & Nancy Upson)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: "Seasoning" Cast Iron Ware

Date: 23 Jul 1996 19:59:28 GMT

Organization: The Dragons' Lair www/BBS


zarquon at platinum.nb.net (Michael Greenstein) says:

>  Um, why is "seasoning" so important for cast iron cookware?


'Seasoning' is a way of creating a 'no stick' surface by polymerizing

vegetable oils onto their surface.  You end up with carbon layer that

rivals teflon for easy cleaning.  Well seasoned iron cleans easily and

cooks better than any other container you're ever likely to try.


>I've heard that such cookware is wonderful, but never used it, and might

>someday, so I figure this would be useful information!


Do try it, it's particularly good for camping use (cast iron conducts heat

extremely well and helps distribute uneven heat from campfires better than

light weight pots and pans).





From: rolf at deltainet.com (Pendraco)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: "Seasoning" Cast Iron Ware

Date: Fri, 26 Jul 1996 22:52:29 GMT


On 22 Jul 1996 17:01:29 GMT, zarquon at platinum.nb.net (Michael

Greenstein) wrote:

>  Um, why is "seasoning" so important for cast iron cookware?


Seasoning a pan with oil (or shortening or lard or bacon grease, etc.)

is a very good way to keep things from sticking, and believe me, I can

clean scrambled eggs out of my favorite pan with running water and a

paper towel (I re-season or touch up the pan every twelve months or

so, barring accidents).


The Frugal Gourmet's instructions are a little more complete than

those given...  Paraphrasing into  


1.  Put about a tablespoon of oil in the pan, wiping all of the inside

surface,  and heat on medium burner (or equivalent) until the oil

begins to smoke.  

2.  Turn off the burner, and let it sit until cold. Scum will form on

the pan if it has been cleaned with soap of any kind. Blot it from

the surface with a paper towel, then pour out the oil.

3.  Repeat steps 1 & 2 with fresh oil or shortening.

He says to season this way three times total, but if this is a new

pan, twice will do (right after you get it home, rinse it out with

plain water and season)  If this is an old pan, you might have to

season it three times and then season it again after each washing for

a few months -- it will be "done" when things like rice pilaf don't

stick when you're transferring the food out of the pan.


>I've heard that such cookware is wonderful, but never used it, and might

>someday, so I figure this would be useful information!


Cast iron is my favorite type of pan, but I have carpel tunnel in my

wrists so I can't lift any but the smallest skillets. I've been using

my grandmother's square skillet for about fifteen years (and I got it

after my mom used it for twenty years, and my grandmother for who

knows how long).  It sounds like a lot of work, but it really only

takes a few seconds.  


Some other notes:


High acid foods like tomato sauce will erode the oil (especially if

you let the pan sit while everyone is eating dinner), so just plan on

a touch-up after rinsing it.


The pans hold heat much longer and much more evenly than "regular"

cookware, especially anything coated with silverstone or teflon.  The

pan itself will sit on the back of the stove and keep the food warm

enough for seconds.  (Use an 8" skillet as the most versatile, and

borrow a lid that fits from any pan in your collection.  I use the lid

for my Visions pan)  When you first begin to cook with it, take it

easy.  Bacon, sausage or hamburger are great "testing" foods because

they're high in fat and you won't have to reseason every time you burn

the burgers, unless they've turned into charcoal.


For really sticky things like oh, burnt pancake batter or breaded fish

(and worse...) use plain table salt as an abrasive. Pour a small

handful in the damp pan and scrub it well with a wet rag.  PLEASE use

an old rag you don't plan on using for washing dishes, because black

stains will not come out of the rag.   And, again, plan on

re-seasoning the pan.


The good news out of all this?  You'll have a virtually indestructible

pan with only a few dollars investment.  The pan will give iron to the

food cooked in it, giving you a slight nutritional boost.  And for

sneaky chefs, rubbing the flat of the skillet with garlic before

seasoning it does WONDERFUL things to meat & fish...


Best wishes

Tatiana VonKeppel / Sarah Williams

Barony of Fettburg

Kingdom of the West



From: wayne at wam.umd.edu (Wayne McCullough)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: "Seasoning" Cast Iron Ware

Date: 31 Jul 1996 12:44:29 GMT

Organization: University of Maryland, College Park, MD


Pendraco (rolf at deltainet.com) wrote:

: Seasoning a pan with oil (or shortening or lard or bacon grease, etc.)


I have been told that you do not want to season with any form of oil/fat

that contains salt.  Salt tends to accelerate corrosion of iron.


From experiance and what I have heard, you just can't go wrong with

standard cooking oil.





From: Vicente Coenca <76025.2514 at CompuServe.COM>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: "Seasoning" Cast Iron Ware

Date: 3 Aug 1996 13:43:48 GMT

Organization: rec.org.sca


Greetings to all on the Rialto.


I subscribe to a cooking magazine, and there was an article

several months back on cast iron cooking ware.  The sidebar was

written by a Lodge Cast Iron Works rep, and gave details on how

to season properly.  The recommendation was for melted Crisco or

other vegetable shortening, melted and generously spread over the

interior.  Place in a 300F oven for about 30 minutes,

occasionally brushing the oil from the bottom up the sides.  I

did this for a Dutch oven, and oh, did it work well. Had beef

stew and roast chicken at this past Lilies War.


Seasoning is an ongoing process; keep making greasy food in the

thing and cleaning it with boiling hot water and a scrub brush.  

The bamboo brushes you find in Asian markets work very well. Dry

it on the stove, or use a paper towel. Do not use a dishwasher;

you'll lose the buildup of carbon and fats on the surface.  Spray

Pam or wipe a little oil on it each time you store it; it'll keep

rust from building up.  Eventually a satin-smooth finish should

build up, and you'll only need a little oil to keep food from



I know cast iron isn't period, but hey, who cares?


Vicente Coenca, Three Rivers, Calontir  



Date: Fri, 21 Jan 2000 13:16:50 -0500

From: "Jeff Gedney" <JGedney at dictaphone.com>

Subject: Re: SC - a grid?


<snip of indo on cooking over a fire. See cook-ovr-fire-msg.

   Then a question about how to season cast-iron cookware>


> I've read the directions that came with them, I read the entire

> Florilegium file, I've gone through rec.food.cooking.  I understand

> the theory (heat instrument, coat in fat, let fat soak in, never scrub

> again) but it doesn't seem to "take". Rust shows up all the same; or

> food gets stuck to it anyways and I have to scrub and start from

> scratch.  Every time.


> There.  I've said it.  I suck. :(


Nah, a lot of folk have lost the nack.

I do the following. ( my grandfather's technique )

Clean the pot as usual.

Start the old Backyard Barbecue grille (this is gonna smoke like crazy!!)

Heat the pot or pan very hot without applying oil or fat.

A drop of water should dance on the surface without wetting it.

Take paper towels, some long tongs, and some crisco.

When the skillet is very hot, put some  crisco on the paper towel, and

using the tongs, quickly rub it all over the insides of the pot ( don't worry

about the outsides ). when it is all coated, stand back and wait for the

smoking to slow down. Do this again several times.

After you have done this, Let it stay on the grille until it almost stops

smoking. and remove it from the heat.


The idea of seasoning is to first, drive off the water in the iron, ( and

yes it is there, and a lot. watch it when you first heat it, it'll sweat visibly.

Replacing it with fat to keep it from re-entering the pores of the pan,

driving the fat into the surface with heat. then reducing the fat to fill

all the pores of the iron with a barrier surface of pure hard carbon.


(Grampa used to do this on the stove top, but once the neighbors

called the fire dept, cause they thought his house was on fire, from

the amount of smoke pouring out of the kitchen window.)


( you'll still see rust, occasionally. No problem. It should cook fine unless

you see lots of rust, and not a fine powdery spot of it.

A little rust is taken off by rubbing it with oil.

---Instead of cleaning it in the sink, just knock off the bulk of the crud

with some oil and a tablespoon of Kosher salt as an abrasive, while the

pot is still on the fire. As long as the surface feels smooth to the spoon

or spatula it is clean enough. Wipe out the pan with a coule of paper

towels and put it away.)





Date: Sun, 18 May 2003 07:40:44 -0400

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org

From: "Phil Troy/ G. Tacitus Adamantius" <adamantius.magister at verizon.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] CAST IRON SKILLET


Also sprach Phlip:

> Ordinarily, whatever you cook will use oil- it's basicly for fried

> foods.


While this is true, I think we may need to define "fried", or at

least maybe add sauteed, pan-broiled, baked etc. I often use my

largest cast-iron skillet for pizza, since I don't have one of those

silly oven stone thingies, and it does a truly excellent job for that.


> If it does get dirty, you can use a scrubble or whatever to remove the

> crusted on stuff, and a bit of clean water to rinse it off, but put it on your

> stove to heat dry, then oil it again and put it away. You don't want a lot

> of oil on it- you don't want to attract diret and dust- just enough added

> while it's still hot to give it a sheen- as it cools, the oil will withdraw

> into the pores.


Again, true. Think of it like an oil-soaked sponge; there may not be

a lot on the surface, but when properly seasoned, it's in there.

Another aspect of that porosity (porousness?) is that some of that

oil undergoes a chemical change with repeated heating and usage, and

what you end up with is those pores being filled, to some extent,

with a plasticky substance (note that most plastics are made from

petroleum) which is essentially non-stick.


I, being a Y-chromosome-bearing life form, give most cast iron pans a

brief soak in plain water, maybe a couple of hours at most, to

dislodge any crud, and then scrub with a soft scrungy-pad or my

wok-brush (which tool I highly recommend for most pans, BTW). Or,

since I have a nice wok-brush, I borrow the technique of the cooks in

Chinese restaurants and wash the pan with the brush under running hot

water immediately, while still hot, so the pan can get back into

action in 15 seconds or so. I'm able to do an entire meal of several

dishes that way, all using the same pan.


Another hint involves the cooking of meats, say, a steak, for

example. James Beard used to recommend (and I've found that it works

pretty well) a thin dusting of Kosher or other coarse salt in a dry

pan for pan-broiling steaks. Basically it keeps the meat from

sticking long enough for the fat of the meat itself to begin to flow

and lubricate the pan (as well as seasoning the meat at the same



I'd be interested in how Phillipa's Kosher kitchen and eating habits

(at least I _think_ that's the situation) are affected by cast iron

cookware, what with the tendency of the pans to absorb fats. I'm

assuming that you'd have to have a meat pan and a dairy pan, one

impregnated with meat fats and one with butter and oil, both of which

should work just fine, and this is probably no different from a

similar situation with other cookware. Have I overlooked anything






From: "Heleen Greenwald" <heleen at ptdprolog.net>

To: <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

Date: Sun, 18 May 2003 19:52:21 -0400

Subject: [Sca-cooks] more on the... CAST IRON SKILLET


Yes, Master A, you'd have to have a meat skillet and a separate dairy

skillet in a kosher home.





From: "Beth Turner" <nellwynn0 at lycos.com>

Date: Tue Jun 17, 2003  1:47:02 PM US/Central

To: ansteorra at ansteorra.org

Subject: Re: [Ansteorra] Other cookery storage question


If you flat can't get the pot to season for some unknown reason, use it

to make rose and/or peony beads.  If you boil them down in an

unseasoned true cast iron pot, you get the loveliest black material

with which to make beads.  Put rose oil on your fingers when you role

them and they even smell good.


Nell de Percy



From: peerlady at hotmail.com

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Care and Feeding of Cast Iron

Date: 18 May 2004 15:37:21 -0700


> After you wash them, dry them with a towel and then sit them on a warm

> burner to dry thoroughly.  


   Make sure it's a *warm* burner, not a hot one.  Split one of

Grandma's skillets in half once when I underestimated the heat of the

burner.  Or you can put it in a warm oven to dry.


-- Signy



Date: Sat, 16 Apr 2005 21:24:26 -0400

From: "Phlip" <phlip at 99main.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] "virgin" cast-iron cookware - help, please.

To: "Cooks within the SCA" sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


> I have not tried lard, but I have tried both vegetable oil and solid

> vegetable shortening (ie Cisco). I definitely prefer the Crisco. It is less

> messy and I think it gives a better result.

> Also, whatever you use, it may take more than one treatment to get a

> good seasoned surface.

> Cynara


Actually, you spend your wqhole life trying toget a perfectly seasoned

surface ;-)


Seasoning cast iron is not one of those things that you can do and be done

with- rather it's a process that's ongoing throughout your ownership of your

pot or pan. Following the instructions here will give you a goo start

towards proper seasoning, but it will take years of usage to get it to the

proper point where you can do something wrong (NOT including using soap, or

dropping the pot) and the seasoning will ignore it, or fix it for you.


Saint Phlip,




Date: Wed, 27 Apr 2005 10:57:19 -0400

From: "Phlip" <phlip at 99main.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Not so Virgin Cast Iron Question

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


> My brother just gave me a nice size cast iron kettle.  Now I happen to love

> cast iron for use around the mundane house.  The problem is that this

> particular pot was used to cover something outside and only recently

> rescued.  The interior bottom is badly pitted and rough.  The question is:

> Is it worth putting the scrubbing and possibly sanding with a disc sander

> into this?  Should I use it as a planter?

> Regina


Rather than sanding it, and taking away even more metal, in this case,  

I'd use the Powers of Electricity to clean it up.


First thing you need is a large plastic container, in which you can totally

submerse the pot. You need to fill the plastic container with water, then

put salt in the water until it will not absorb any salt- you can get a

higher salt content by making the water hot. Then install the pot, with the

cathode (positive connection) onto the pot, and the negative contact into

the water, attached to a piece of metal that you don't mind getting messed

up. The piece of electrical equipment that you use for all this is just a

(car) battery charger, set on trickle. In a few hours, your pot should be

perfectly clean, or at least as perfectly clean as it's going to be.  This

method is inexpensive, easier than it sounds, and you can borrow most of

what you need to do it- all it will cost you is some salt and some

electricity- it's what I use to clean up metal. Note- If the metal in the

water stays clean, and the pot appears MORE corroded, you've hooked up the

electricity in the wrong direction- just switch the contacts.


Another method will be more expensive, and difficult to find someone to do

it for you. You need to find a shop that does sandblasting, using walnut

shells (first choice) or powdered glass as the blasting media- neither of

these will eat up the metal.


Once you've done this, you'll be able to season your pot as usual, and

return it to cooking- unless it's VERY bad (as in, so corroded that it's

likely to break any way) it should be fine for cooking.


Saint Phlip,




Date: Thu, 28 Apr 2005 09:21:22 -0400

From: "Jeff Gedney" <gedney1 at iconn.net>

Subject: RE: [Sca-cooks] Not so Virgin Cast Iron Question

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


Phosphoric acid does a very good job of removing rust...

It actually pulls oxygen from the iron.


Try scrubbing it with steel wool and Coca Cola.


It has worked for me in the past...


Capt Elias

-Renaissance Geek of the Cyber Seas



Date: Sat, 18 Jun 2005 08:50:54 -0400

From: "Phlip" <phlip at 99main.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Seasoning a Potjie

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


> I just got a cast-iron three-legged potjie (Thanks to Master Guntram) and I

> was wondering what is the best way to go about seasoning it. I suspect this

> woll require open fire, won't it? it certainly won't fit on my range.

> Giano


Will it fit in your oven? If so, oiling it down, and putting it in the oven

at 500 for an hour will do it. Make sure you have plenty of ventilation. If

you must use a lower temp, increase the time accordingly- you'd do 350 for

about 3 hours. The idea is to get a layer of carbon burned onto it.


Alternative fire sources work quite well, too- I just used my forge for the

cast iron pan I rescued from the scrap yatd, although it didn't need much- I

just thoroughly cleaned it (baking soda scrub, then vinegar boil), applied a

light layer of peanut oil (vegetable oil is best for seasoning) and used it

as a lid over the forge when I was done smithing.


Saint Phlip,




Date: Sat, 18 Jun 2005 12:18:55 -0400

From: "Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius"

        <adamantius.magister at verizon.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Seasoning a Potjie

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


> I just got a cast-iron three-legged potjie (Thanks to Master Guntram) and I

> was wondering what is the best way to go about seasoning it. I suspect this

> will require open fire, won't it? it certainly won't fit on my range.

> Giano


Mordonna the Cook replied:

> Never tried that one.  How about a large barbecue grill?  Phlip's

> forge sounds good.  Problem with almost any thing that applies heat

> in a limited area (like the paint stripper) won't get an even season.


That's true. But my suspicion is that this could still be true of

almost any method used. Gee, I didn't catch where in the country the

original poster is, but if it's someplace that gets hot and sunny,

they might think about rubbing the pot down with oil and leaving it

out in the sun for several hours to start the process. If nothing

else, it would probably provide relatively even heating. That might

conceivably provide enough of a minimal seasoning to think about

finishing the process through actual use with a cooked product

designed not to stick too badly, like a thinnish but slightly fatty

stew, maybe something like lamb or veal breast.


After all, it's probably true that in the end, what you do to keep a

well-seasoned pot maintained is at least as important as the original

seasoning, since proper use increases the seasoning on the pot.


Adamantius, who doesn't have a whacking great iron pot, but who owns

and uses a lot of cast iron and carbon steel pans...



Date: Sun, 19 Jun 2005 14:08:32 -0400

From: "Phlip" <phlip at 99main.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Seasoning a Potjie

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


> If we can arrange this, I think the best thing would be to have a big

> fire there, season the pot for a few hours while digging the garden, then try

> bake a roast in clay in the embers and use the potjie for a veggie stew and/

> or bread to go with it. Sounds like the perfect way to spend a

> Saturday.

> Giano


Caution- you don't want flame while you're seasoning- it'll just burn up the

oil. Make a bed of coals, add the pot, then you can add more wood to the

fire area, and scrape coals towards the pot as the wood becomes coals.


Also, just because the pot is black doesn't mean it has cooled. Either plan

on leaving the potjie there until the fire is dead out, or arrange some way

to move it without you touching it- a bar that can go through the bail, and

lift it, with one of you on each end, for example. You do NOT want to cool

the thing suddenly, or it will crack or break- cast iron is pretty fragile.

I know, I've broken it ;-) And once it's broken, it's pretty worthless.

There are ways to weld it, but it's never as good as it was before it broke,

and it can't readily be remelted and reformed.


Saint Phlip,




Date: Thu, 08 Sep 2005 12:31:42 +0000

From: ekoogler1 at comcast.net

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Re: Dutch Ovens

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


One small tip to add to what was said:  salt works really well to get out things that are cooked on.  Mix a little with oil and use it to scour the stubborn spot.  I can't begin to emphasize the idea that you don't want soap used on your pot unless you want to go back and re-season it!





Date: Mon, 1 May 2006 14:27:08 -0400

From: "marilyn traber 011221" <phlip at 99main.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Rust removal

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


> I wrote:

>> I really hate having to bring out the wire brushes for my cookware!

> Which reminded me:  what do the members of this august company

> prefer for rust removal from cast iron?  My mother just gave me her

> old ableskiver pan and it's awfully rusty.  This is going to be

> difficult.  I'm hesitant to dive in with chemical rust removers

> because then the trick is to remove the remover before using the pan

> for actual food without chemicals.  You see the quandry.

> In the meantime, I'm going out to get a wire brush that will attach

> to my power drill, that may save some elbow grease anyway.

> Selene Colfox


Don't waste your time with a wire brush- they're pretty dangerous anyway,

when one of the wires comes loose, if you aren't wearing a leather apron. A

guy just managed to impale his left testicle through his jeans a few days

ago. And, never mind, using a wire brush tends to drive the rust deeper, so

your food will taste like rust for a while.


Instead, get a battery charger. You should have one, if not, you need one ;-)

Put one contact on the metal you're cleaning, attach the other to a piece of

scrap metal- iron or steel- and immerse the pieces in salt water in a plastic

container, separated a bit. Turn the charger on to "trickle" and go away for

a while. If when you come back, the piece of metal has rust attached to it,

you're doing it the right way- if not, you need to switch the clamps, so the

polarity goes the other way (I can never remember which way it goes, and for

Heaven's Sakes, turn the thing OFF when you switch the clamps).


It's completely the easiest way to remove rust I know of, and doesn't risk

driving nasty stuff into your cast iron, and, depending on how much rust you

have, shouldn't take more than a few hours to accomplish.





Date: Mon, 1 May 2006 13:27:12 -0700 (PDT)

From: Carole Smith <renaissancespirit2 at yahoo.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Rust removal

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


One thing that gets off a thin layer of rust from cast iron is a  

little Crisco and a paper towel.  Not as exciting a remedy without  

use of power tools, but it works for me.





Date: Mon, 1 May 2006 16:53:10 -0400

From: "marilyn traber 011221" <phlip at 99main.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Rust removal

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


> This is not a "thin layer" but I think it frightens me less than

> Phlip's battery charter method.  I live alone and probably nobody

> would find me for days... eeep.

> Selene C.


Battery charger method is quite safe ;-) It's also incredibly easy.  It's certainly considerably safer than putting a wire brush on the end of a power tool- THAT can get you seriously hurt. And, the residue from the charger method (the water) can simply be flushed down the toilet or the sink (you don't want to pour it on your garden because of the salt in the water). It works very well, too- it's how I've been cleaning

up the cast iron pieces my favorite scrapyard's been giving me.





Date: Mon, 1 May 2006 17:28:02 -0400

From: "grizly" <grizly at mindspring.com>

Subject: RE: [Sca-cooks] Rust removal

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


STUPENDOUS!  I did a google search for rust removal and Mr. Wizard . . . .

found this website from a guy who does the same thing with old tools.




The negative (black) goes to the "keeper" piece and the positive (red) goes

to the sacrificial scrap piece.  He added some baking soda as a catalyst to

speed up his electrolysis.  The following link has a better description; both

have pictures.  This one uses "washing soda" which you can find in most

markets.  Arm and Hammer is usually unscented and plain.




Use salt water, washing soda (sodium carbonate . . . NOT baking soda) and a

piece of wrinkled aluminum foil to clean silver pieces.  Immerse all and put

silver in touch with the foil . . . no electrodes needed.  Silver Plate

isn't so helpful, but sterling cleans with zero effort.


nioccolo difrancesco



Date: Mon, 01 May 2006 19:17:09 -0400

From: Robin Carroll-Mann <rcmann4 at earthlink.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Rust removal

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


Carole Smith wrote:

> One thing that gets off a thin layer of rust from cast iron is a  

> little Crisco and a paper towel.  Not as exciting a remedy without  

> use of power tools, but it works for me.

>  Cordelia


Add some kosher salt.  It gives some abrasive scrubbing power without

damaging the metal or imparting a strange taste. Crisco/cooking oil and

kosher salt is also good for scrubbing food residue from cast iron

without removing the seasoning.


Brighid ni Chiarain

Barony of Settmour Swamp, East Kingdom



Date: Wed, 31 May 2006 18:08:52 -0400

From: "Saint Phlip" <phlip at 99main.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Cast Iron pots??

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


On 5/31/06, Marcus Loidolt <mjloidolt at yahoo.com> wrote:

> cousins and friends all, I have a question...having no clue to the answer,

> can cast iron be recycled? I have one that has a sizable crack in it...it

> won't hold water....

> can a metal worker use this for remaking something or just pitch it/

> change its use?

> Abot Johann


Well, I _can_ be welded, but that doesn't work very well for any object that

goes through heating and cooling cycles like a cook pot does, as the welding

filler is usually a nickel alloy, and heats and shrinks at a different rate.

I have heard of some of the folks doing smelting throwing some cast iron in

with the ore for a smelt with some success- in an anaerobic, reducing

environment, cast iron will lose much of its carbon and go back to being a

ductile version of steel, but there just aren't that many who smelt in SCA.

Best bet, if you want to recycle it is to use it as a flower pot holder, if

it's arractive enough, or just send it to the scrapyard. Commercial smelters

can deal with it, unlike most hobbyists.


Saint Phlip



Date: Fri, 29 Aug 2008 23:01:51 -0400

From: "Saint Phlip" <phlip at 99main.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] OOP but not OT-seeking advice on a cast-iron


To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


Well, for starters, rather than elbow grease, clean it up the easy way

;-) If you have a battery charger (for cars), place the hibachi in

salty water, with one electrode attached to the hibachi, and the other

electrode attached to another piece of steel (not stainless) or iron

(which is also in the salt water, but not touching). Turn the charger

on to trickle charge, and leave it alone for a few hours. When you

come back, there should be rust on the sacrificial piece of metal, and

less rust on the hibachi. If not, swap electrodes (I can never

remember which one is which- I think the ground goes on the hibachi,

and the positive on the metal, but don't quote me on that).


Once you have it cleaned up, treat it like any other cast iron- wipe

it down with your favorite edible oil and season it. You can season

the outside by starting a charcoal fire in it after the outside is

wiped down with oil, and you can season the inside by putting the

whole thing in/over a small campfire's coals, or, if it will fit, oil

the whole thing down and put it in the oven at 350 or so for a couple

of hours. Just remember to take any wooden or plastic pieces off of it

before you do ;-)


On Fri, Aug 29, 2008 at 11:41 PM, Daniel & Elizabeth Phelps

<dephelps at embarqmail.com> wrote:

I loaned the hibachi to some friends to take to Gulf Wars a while back-I believe it was the Gulf Wars that got rained out, and they returned it to me rusty. I was entirely unenthused with this, one of the many reasons those individuals are not friends any more. It's only surface rust as I recall, and it's been in storage ever since, as I really wasn't sure what to do with it. I can figure out how to clean it, steel wool/wire brush/wire brush on a drill, that's not too hard to figure out, just a lot of elbow grease and some very colorful language speculating on the ancestry and hobbies of said former friends, but then what? Do I use soap and water with the steel wool and wire brushes, or do I just use them dry? And how do I keep it from rusting again? I though of stove polish, but googling this topic seems to indicate this would just not be suitable. Would cast iron stove paint be appropriate? It's a charcoal-burning hibachi, not a wood stove, so I assume the operating temperatures would be higher. Or do I  clean it off and just  use it naked? ( The stove, not me...)


Isabella de la Gryffin

Barony of Oldenfeld, Trimaris

Tallahassee, Florida


Saint Phlip



Date: Sat, 30 Aug 2008 13:15:26 -0500

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Another cast iron question

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


Two points.  You don't season cast iron tea kettles. They are going to



Since there is no particular virtue in boiling water in an iron tea kettle,

I use a stainless steel teapot and an old timey blue enameled coffee pot.

Tetsubin are strictly for making tea, not for boiling water, so I'm

assuming one of the full size cast iron tea kettles like my grandmother had.


For maintenance after you get it clean the first time, don't let water sit

in the kettle.  Use it and pour the water out.  Take the lid off and return

it to the heat to cook off any excess moisture.  Wipe the kettle down with a

dry soft cloth to remove any particulate matter. When it rust to the point

you want to clean it, scour the inside with a little damp sand, rinse and

put on the heat to cook off the moisture.  Yeah, it's a pain, another reason

to not boil water in cast iron.




<<< I've been cleaning and caring for decades, but this one has me stumped. My

daughter (the brunette who acts ditzy, not the blonde who acts intelligent)

knows I love to cook with cast iron when camping. So, when she saw an

antique cast iron teapot at a yard sale, she bought it for me.  It must have

been a true yard sale, because the thing was covered with mud, and rust, and

other nasty things.  I've got it nice and clean now, and I've seasoned it.  It's a beautiful shiny black, again.


But, ya know what?  I cannot for the life of me figure out how to use it to

boil water without getting the water either oily or rusty.  Anyone have

suggestions or solutions?


Lady Anne du Bosc Known as Mordonna The Cook >>>



Date: Sat, 30 Aug 2008 15:21:01 -0500

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Another cast iron question

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


Those kettles weren't so much for humidification, but for instant hot water

for the sink before gas ranges and water heaters.  A well pump at the

kitchen sink and hot water on the stove were modern conveniences in the

first half of this century.


Gas replaced the wood stove at my grandmother's around the time I was born,

but the pump at the kitchen sink lasted until it was replaced by city water

in the late 1950's or early '60's.





Date: Sun, 31 Aug 2008 11:01:28 -0500

From: "Betsy Marshall" <betsy at softwareinnovation.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Another cast iron question

To: "'Cooks within the SCA'" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


When my mom needed to de-rust a cast iron skillet, she would leave it in the

oven through a "clean" cycle, wash off the powdered remains, then re-season

as usual.





Date: Tue, 02 Sep 2008 12:03:51 -0700

From: Dragon <dragon at crimson-dragon.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Another cast iron question

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


Daniel & Elizabeth Phelps did speak thusly:


<<< But I have another question about using edible oils to season the

hibachi-it's not huge, I think it would probably fit in the oven,

but what would keep the oil from going rancid? I don't think we'd be

using it more than half a dozen times a year, outside of hurricane

season and local SCA events. >>>


You don't just wipe the oil on, you heat it to the point it

polymerizes. That is what is happening to create that black sheen of

the season on the surface. Rancidity occurs because of oxidation of

the oil, this is just not possible with the polymerized fat because

all of the weak molecular bonds that would normally oxidize have been

cross-linked to other fat molecules and now form a very large network

that is difficult to react with oxygen.


<<< So, still playing devil's advocate and asking questions, why would

cast iron stove paint not be appropriate? It seems to me the usage

of a cast iron hibachi is closer to a cast iron woodburning stove

than a pan that you use every day. >>>


My hibachi is painted. It came that way from the factory and it has

remained well coated. I don't use it a lot and it really has not

rusted in the 18 months or so I have had it. I think it is a much

better solution than seasoning if you get a paint that is designed

for such temperatures (like the stove paint you mention or other

"engine" paints).


The problem with seasoning is that you will burn it off fairly

quickly anywhere the burning charcoal is near the iron. It cannot

withstand the temperatures of the direct contact.





From: Hugh Prescott <hugh at QUINCYHOBBY.COM>

Date: May 31, 2010 5:59:24 PM CDT

To: CALONTIR at listserv.unl.edu

Subject: Re: [CALONTIR] Rust Removal


For fine rust on iron and steel I use 3M Scotch pads and WD-40 or lite oil and just scrub a lot.  Saved a nice 12 inch metal lathe that sat for years in a barn unused.


Lite rust on not precision surfaces and deep rust I use abrasive wheel grinder then treat with phosphoric acid to convert any remaining rust into black iron. Wash well after a day in the acid. Dry well and protect with a clear lacquer or prim and paint. phosphoric acid does not attack steel or iron only oxides of iron.


phosphoric acid is a great metal prep for any type of painted finish as it etches the steel for better adhesion. I get it at auto supply stores that carry automotive paint and refinishing products.


Current project is a 48 inch John Deere mower deck that has been rode hard and put away with wet grass stuck to it. Rust everywhere. Sand blaster then treated with phosphoric acid, welded up the cracks and primed now ready for yellow paint.


Deere wanted $1,089.00 for just one new part, (I paid $800 for the tractor and deck used) I will have a completely restored and usable deck for about $150 plus some bearings that need to be replaced.



Amanda wrote:

<<< I have an older loom which has metal parts which have some rust in them.

This is one of my looms which is still disassembled so I can work the pieces separately.

How do I remove rust without using a chemical or washing? Can i just use a fine steel wool? I dont want it do go back to mint condition, just not so rusty it stains my fingers brown.

Once I have removed the rust to my liking how do I keep it from rusting? Lightly oiling? what kind of oil?


Amanda. >>>

From the Facebook "ABTF-Above the Fire, Cooking for re-enactors" group

Diana Shell Wertz    1:16pm Nov 7


As for cleaning the rust I was told this method by an old timer at an antique gathering of sellers,......He said it will get rid of THE WORST rust,...and it DOES. TOTALLY non-chemically/safe,.....and totally FREE. He said to go ahead and set the rusty pan in a pan of water,...it'll help soften the rust,...and soak a broken brick piece (not as heavy to handle as a whole one,...) and in about 30 minutes,...start scrubbing at the rust with the brick,.....the brick will NOT scratch the pan like a metal brush will,...the water acts as a lubricant and both brick dust and rust will just flow off into the water, so you aren't breathing airborn brick and rust dust,.... When all the visable rust is gone,...rinse the pan in some clear water (and maybe a bit of dishwashing soap) and then towel dry, and leave in the sunshine to finish drying,....or set it over a low flame/heat until it's totally dry,......then lightly coat it with oil,.(I actually use mineral oil, as it's not inclined to gum.. leave a few minutes, then wipe it down with a paper towel and warm a few minutes more,...and put away


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