This blog isn’t just about politics, though that is the subject of many of my articles. I sometimes write about other things. This is one of those times.
For many good cooks, especially Cajun and Southern cooks, cast iron pots and skillets are the utensils of choice for many situations. They distribute heat extremely well and with minimum care they can last a life time, and even for many generations to come.
They are among the best cooking instruments known to man if you can find the oldies but goodies. The more recently made cast iron pots and skillets don’t measure up to the Griswold and Wagner brands made many years ago. These old skillets and pots bring top dollar at flee markets,etc. but the texture of the iron is smoother in these old cast iron utensils. If you find one in decent condition, be sure to first remove any rust with steel wool.
Here is a tip for removing old cooking oil crust that often has accumulated from years of use the utensil’s previous home, especially where it has dripped on the sides and bottom. Place the old cast iron skillet or pot on the middle rack in your oven at 500 degrees for 2 hours. You will probably want to put aluminum foil on the bottom rack to catch any drops or debris. Also be sure to turn on the stove exhaust fan on to remove any smoke or smell. Let cool and you will find the old oil has turned to a powder and the skillet or pot will look almost new.
After old oil has been burnt off, be sure to “season” your skillet or pot before using it. Seasoning is essentially baking on a thin layer of oil which protects the skillet or pot from food sticking as you cook and provides the best coking surface. It also keeps it from rusting.
Instructions on seasoning:
– Scrub pot or skillet well in hot soapy water.
– Rinse well and dry thoroughly.
– Spread a thin layer of melted shortening or vegetable oil over
the entire skillet, both top and bottom.
– Place it upside down on a middle oven rack at 375°. (Place foil on a
lower rack to catch drips.)
– Bake 1 hour; let cool in the oven.
Everyday care: Don’t wash your cast iron skillet or pot with soap or detergent after cooking as this will remove the seasoning Remove any remaining food with a paper towel and then rinse with water and dry thoroughly. I usually put my pan back on the stove for just a few minutes to steam off any remaining moisture and to sanitize it before letting it cool and putting it away.
You many occasionally need to re-season the skillet or pot when the seasoning wears off. Just follow the directions above again.