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Old 04-14-2013, 03:13 AM   #1
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Seasoning cast iron pots - one oil over top of another?

Since many people using cast iron cookware for camping and RVing, I thought this might be a good place to ask. I'm getting all of my supplies ready now. A while back I got two cast iron frying pans (a 10" and a 12"). They came pre-seasoned, but I didn't care for them properly, so I set them aside.

Now, thanks to a plethora of websites and blog posts, I found out how to season them. There were many differing and sometimes conflicting methods. In the end, I decided to wash with warm water, dish soap and an SOS pad. Then heated the pans a bit to open the pores. Then I rubbed every square inch with canola oil, wiped off the excess, and "baked" them in the oven at home at 450 Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. Then I did it 4 (yes 4) more times, but increased the baking time to 60 minutes. I did this because I figured it will be easier to season them in a household oven rather than when I'm RVing full time.

Then, after spending all that time seasoning them with Canola oil, I find out that just about any oil will go rancid on cast iron cookware. I'm not sure if the heat from cooking will kill off anything bad. But I just found a "Cast Iron Conditioner" Camp Chef® Cast Iron Conditioner | Bass Pro Shops that apparently will not go rancid. Should I get it? If so, can I re-season overtop of the canola oil seasoning? Or would I have to scrub with SOS pads and dish soap to get it down to the bare metal first? I don't know if I'll use the pans often, or if they will sit for a few weeks or longer (theoretically allowing vegetable oil to go rancid).
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Old 04-14-2013, 05:55 AM   #2
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My grandmother gave us our first castiron pan in 1975.
She seasoned it for us in the oven using lard and thickly sliced potatoes, redoing the lard and spuds often, curing it over an entire day. That is all I remember.
It is a treasure. The original non stick pan. Never rancid.

Best wishes!
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Old 04-14-2013, 06:08 AM   #3
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I've stored them for a long time,never had a problem.
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Old 04-14-2013, 06:28 AM   #4
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After each use, never wash with soap. Never. Will ruin the curing.
While still hot, add water and use a plastic scrubber to clean it. Rinse, add 1 tbsp of oil; ie: canola, wipe with paper towel, store in a paper grocery bag.
This is the way process has been since the Old Country: Scandanavia. Norwegian, Danish.
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Old 04-15-2013, 10:52 AM   #5
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Thanks! Maybe that cast iron conditioner is just a gimmick then. I liked the fact that it supposedly won't go rancid. But after the high heat the pans are baked at, and then reheated when you use them for cooking, I would think that will kill off any bacteria. If I do get that conditioner, I won't bother stripping the seasoning I've done so far. It took a while to warm the pans, oil them with canola oil (and wipe away the excess), heat them at 450F for an hour, let them cool, and do it again.

Although I seasoned my cast iron frying pans five times, they're still a long way away from having a non-stick surface. Yesterday I made pancakes. The first one I tried to make was a disaster. It totally stuck to the pan, even though the surface "looked" and "felt" like it would be non-stick. When I went to flip the pancake over, after maybe 1 or 2 minutes, it had totally stuck to the pan. It had bonded to the surface. I had to scrape it off in pieces. So I took my other cast iron pan, heated it up, poured a generous amount of canola oil on it, and finally my pancakes did not stick. After about 20 minutes, it was working even better, as the pan had heated up even more (the handle was hot by this point). In time, the seasoning should build up and create the non-stick surface I want.
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Old 04-15-2013, 11:23 AM   #6
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You could make your own handle mitts or buy them:
Make Your Own Cast Iron Hot Handle Holders {and How to Layer Silhouette Heat Transfer Material} - bystephanielynn
Hot Handle Mitt
This way you don't burn your self again.
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Old 04-15-2013, 11:24 AM   #7
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Oil will go rancid if you leave it on heavy. As suggested just heat some water and add some liquid soap. Let it soak and it will clean easily. Dry over the fire or stove top and while it is warm use some oil and coat. Wipe with paper towells or I prefer newspaper. As suggested keeping them in a paper bag is excellent. I keep some wadded newspaper in them. You just don't want them oily feeling.
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Old 04-15-2013, 03:51 PM   #8
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You need to add oil when you cook with them.... the non stick isn't like the Teflon stuff where you don't ever need oils/fats. Heating them first is good, but if you have pet birds, watch out for off gassing that can happen in a dry hot skillet. Will kill a parakeet in a camper.
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Old 04-15-2013, 05:56 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motive8 View Post
Thanks! Maybe that cast iron conditioner is just a gimmick then. I liked the fact that it supposedly won't go rancid. But after the high heat the pans are baked at, and then reheated when you use them for cooking, I would think that will kill off any bacteria. If I do get that conditioner, I won't bother stripping the seasoning I've done so far. It took a while to warm the pans, oil them with canola oil (and wipe away the excess), heat them at 450F for an hour, let them cool, and do it again.

Although I seasoned my cast iron frying pans five times, they're still a long way away from having a non-stick surface. Yesterday I made pancakes. The first one I tried to make was a disaster. It totally stuck to the pan, even though the surface "looked" and "felt" like it would be non-stick. When I went to flip the pancake over, after maybe 1 or 2 minutes, it had totally stuck to the pan. It had bonded to the surface. I had to scrape it off in pieces. So I took my other cast iron pan, heated it up, poured a generous amount of canola oil on it, and finally my pancakes did not stick. After about 20 minutes, it was working even better, as the pan had heated up even more (the handle was hot by this point). In time, the seasoning should build up and create the non-stick surface I want.
You have it! What I said before, AND it gets better all the time. Lasts forever.
And never use soap. Nonono. The folks from the old country got it down pat over 150 years ago
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Old 04-16-2013, 06:53 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PyrateSilly View Post
You could make your own handle mitts or buy them:
Make Your Own Cast Iron Hot Handle Holders {and How to Layer Silhouette Heat Transfer Material} - bystephanielynn
Hot Handle Mitt
This way you don't burn your self again.
Great, thanks! I have some cheap oven mits/pads already, but I like those from Lodge. The price is pretty reasonable, so I'll probably get those. Luckily I didn't burn myself, but I noticed the handle got quite hot. I just barely touched it, as I had a feeling it might be hot, and I was right. Hope I remember this each time I use them!

Quote:
Originally Posted by YC1 View Post
Oil will go rancid if you leave it on heavy. As suggested just heat some water and add some liquid soap. Let it soak and it will clean easily. Dry over the fire or stove top and while it is warm use some oil and coat. Wipe with paper towells or I prefer newspaper. As suggested keeping them in a paper bag is excellent. I keep some wadded newspaper in them. You just don't want them oily feeling.
Ah, I see. I've been using a pretty light coat of Canola oil and wiping the excess off before storing the pans, so I should be ok then. And that's right, I've heard the cast iron should be dry before storing them, though if they're well seasoned, I would think the layers of oil would protect them. But, why take a chance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MartySQ View Post
You need to add oil when you cook with them.... the non stick isn't like the Teflon stuff where you don't ever need oils/fats. Heating them first is good, but if you have pet birds, watch out for off gassing that can happen in a dry hot skillet. Will kill a parakeet in a camper.
Oh, I didn't know that. Thanks for the heads up. I don't have any pet birds, but I do have a dog (not sure if dogs are as sensitive to the smoke as birds). He wasn't hanging around the kitchen too much when I was seasoning the pans, but I also had the range hood fan on, and opened a window, even used an oscillating fan to move the air since there was a bit of smoke. When I'm camping, I'll be sure to only use under well ventilated conditions, or outside on camp fire whenever possible. I don't particularly like all the smoke either.
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Old 04-18-2013, 12:01 PM   #11
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Yesterday I got some old cast iron frying pans from my dad. One is a Lodge, the other two are off-brands, one stamped "Made in Japan". They were all purchased in the mid 1970s, so I worry about the off-brands, if they might contain lead like some of the current "Made in China" cast iron pans have today. I think I'll keep the smaller Lodge pan. I went to Bass Pro and bought a set of Lodge cast iron cookware with a large frying pan, round griddle, a 5 quart Dutch oven (and the lid fits the frying pan too).

They were out of stock on the "Cast Iron Conditioner" but I did some more looking online and came across a review on Amazon where someone stated the ingredients:

Quote:
The ingredients listed, in order, are: Organic Palm Oil, Organic Coconut Oil, Organic Sunflower Seed Oil, Vitamin E, Citric Acid
So, nothing too exotic. I have coconut oil already. I could buy palm oil and sunflower oil. Or just use any one of those oils. I don't have citric acid or Vitamin E on hand. And I read in some of those reviews that the conditioner needs to be heated or it comes out almost solid (probably due to the coconut oil). So, probably not worth going out of your way to get. I've heard flaxseed oil (which needs to be refrigerated) is one of the best oils to use for conditioning cast iron. Maybe I'll go get some of that. Otherwise I still have some Canola oil. I want to season my new (pre-seasoned but still gray) Lodge cookware, and re-season the old Lodge frying pan.

Here's the 5 piece set of Lodge cast iron cookware I got at Bass Pro yesterday:

http://www.basspro.com/Lodge-Logic-5...duct/10230807/

It's got a 10.5" round griddle (should be good for pancakes, though I would have preferred a rectangular one), an 8" skillet, a 10.25" skillet and a 5 quart Dutch oven. The lid from the Dutch oven also fits the larger pan. The older Lodge pan may dad gave me is smaller. I think 6". Since I'll be camping solo or maybe with just one other person, this cookware should be fine and big enough.
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Old 04-18-2013, 12:09 PM   #12
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My grama cured mine with lard and potato slices.....38 years ago. All is well.
Yes, a Lodge
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Old 04-18-2013, 01:49 PM   #13
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Cast Iron Cooking

The best seasoning method I found was to cook some fried chicken, and cooking bacon. Tasty and effective!!


Quote:
Originally Posted by motive8 View Post
Great, thanks! I have some cheap oven mits/pads already, but I like those from Lodge. The price is pretty reasonable, so I'll probably get those. Luckily I didn't burn myself, but I noticed the handle got quite hot. I just barely touched it, as I had a feeling it might be hot, and I was right. Hope I remember this each time I use them!



Ah, I see. I've been using a pretty light coat of Canola oil and wiping the excess off before storing the pans, so I should be ok then. And that's right, I've heard the cast iron should be dry before storing them, though if they're well seasoned, I would think the layers of oil would protect them. But, why take a chance.



Oh, I didn't know that. Thanks for the heads up. I don't have any pet birds, but I do have a dog (not sure if dogs are as sensitive to the smoke as birds). He wasn't hanging around the kitchen too much when I was seasoning the pans, but I also had the range hood fan on, and opened a window, even used an oscillating fan to move the air since there was a bit of smoke. When I'm camping, I'll be sure to only use under well ventilated conditions, or outside on camp fire whenever possible. I don't particularly like all the smoke either.
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Old 04-18-2013, 03:14 PM   #14
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Lard/Crisco used to be what my mom and grandmother used. Cooks Illustrated did a piece a year or so back where they tested several methods and ended up deciding flax seed oil was the way to go.
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