Inherited cast iron skillets have rust under gummed up oil

botanica_13August 28, 2011

I've inherited some Lodge cast iron skillets -- non-enamel (just plain old cast iron). I've read quite a few forum threads about how to restore them, since one had rust and the other two had gummed up residue in thick layers on them. So I've set to work scrubbing off the gummed up stuff (with sand paper, not using any water), and under all that I'm finding an orange layer. I'm assuming this is rust? I didn't realize it could grow under the oil. Do I need to scrub until all the orange is gone? Or am I just scrubbing till the surface feels flat, and then oiling and heating them to re-season? Thanks!

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klseiverd

was reunited with cast iron a few years ago when I picked up 3 different size skillets at a yard sale for a song. They were Lodge, Griswold and... whatever the other "name" people want. And all were totally cuddy with someone elses CRUD. What I did was probably heresy to purists, but I just used dollar store spray oven cleaner. It took SEVERAL applications to clean them up. Then reseasoned well. Found that one key to getting the most out of these great pans is USE THEM as much as possible. After the first 3, started collecting. Most uniques is a small diamond shaped Lodge specifically marked for eggs on bottom... perfect fit on square bread for a sandwich. Have to restrain myself to keep from ending up with dupes. WOuld LOVE to find a deep "chicken fryer" and muffin pans.

Have heard people say to run thru self-cleaning cycle in oven. Also heard of someone putting crusty cast iron in center of wood fire.

Once you get pieces cleaned up and reseasoned, don't store in oven. I did that for a while and rust started developing. Thinking steam from stuff being baked or roasted while CI sat in bottom of oven. Most times only need to wipe pan out with paper towels. If something happens to stick, I used cheap, plain salt and scrub away under hot water. Then back on stove burner till HOT, followed by a little dab of bacon grease... that's what my grandmother always did.

Personally, I would probably try to strip the pans back to unseasoned state and start over again.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 11:39PM
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botanica_13

Thanks (and thanks to those who have emailed me with thoughts, too). I know that there are several ways of dealing with the cookware, but I guess my big question is this: do I have to remove all orange before I refinish? The orange I'm seeing seems almost to be a color finish at this point -- very smooth, very thin. But should I keep scrubbing until all this is gone? Will it all disappear given enough elbow grease?

    Bookmark   August 31, 2011 at 3:13PM
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cooksnsews

Just my opinion, but yes, I'd remove all the orange gunk before putting any food in them. When you get used goods with unidentifiable stuff adhered to them, I'd play it safe and get right down to bare iron.

I picked up an unusually shaped CI pan at a "junktique" shop last summer, and tried klseiverd's tactic of oven cleaner to get some gloppy drops of goo off it. Unfortunately, they were impervious to Easy-Off and I ultimately resorted to sand blasting. Rather inconvenient and messy, but it did the trick. It's now my fav pan.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2011 at 5:11PM
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