In today’s post, I’m going to show you how to bring a rusted old cast Iron skillet back to cooking condition.
Cast Iron cookware seems to be a staple on any off-grid homestead, but more and more people are choosing cast Iron for its many benefits. Picking up old cast iron at a swap meet, yard sale or estate sale is an inexpensive way to have some cast iron cookware of your own, but many times these pieces may not be in ideal shape for cooking.
There are many ways to remove rust from cast iron. This post isn’t a list of the different ways to do it. This is the process I’ve found to be the quickest and simplest. This process works great and can be done in a few hours depending on how much time you want to spend seasoning the skillet.
The first step is removing the rust from the skillet. I use a wire wheel attachment on an angle grinder.
I use two different size wires when removing rust from cast iron. One has thick wires and I use it first to get the heaviest rust off then I switch to a wheel with smaller wires to finish the skillet.
If you don’t have an angle grinder you can use a drill but it will take more time and more elbow grease because a drill doesn’t spin with the same RPMs as an angle grinder. Check angle grinders on amazon below.
The trickiest part about removing the rust with an angle grinder can be getting into tight angles on the piece, but I’ve found that’s usually only a problem on the handle where there is a hole to hang the piece on a hook.
Once you’ve removed the rust with the wire wheels you will need to remove the light layer of rust dust from the piece. This is easily done with a rag and some white cleaning vinegar.
Once the piece is cleaned it’s time to heat it up. I clean cast iron in the winter so I can perform the seasoning process on the woodstove. This way I’m not using any propane or electricity. I’m already using the wood to heat the house. Now the wood stove is pulling double duty.
Cast iron skillet is now rust-free
Set the cast iron on the wood stove and heat it up to the point witch you can lightly touch it without burning yourself, but you can’t leave your finger on the skillet (do this test on the upper edge of the skillet not in the bottom of the skillet).
Once the cast iron is hot enough add a 1/2 teaspoon of oil. I use olive oil, but any cooking oil will work. Remove the skillet from the heat and begin rubbing in the oil with a clean rag. Rub the oil in all over the piece making sure there is only a light layer of oil remaining. be sure to remove excess oil. Now let stand to cool.
First step of the cast iron seasoning process
Now heat the pan again until the layer of oil begins to smoke then add oil and rub it in again. Let it cool and repeat this last step at least three times.
Your cast iron skillet is now ready to cook with.
You should make it a regular practice to perform the last step each time you clean your cast iron. Over time this will improve the seasoning of your cookware.
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