I am writing to ask your advice about a Thanksgiving recipe I
prepared earlier today in my mother's 10" Wagner cast iron
skillet. This was my first attempt at cooking in cast iron, and
I was not aware of all the necessary procedures in cooking with
and cleaning cast iron pans. Instead of using a heavy saucepan
to prepare my cranberry dish, I used her skillet, which appeared
to be well maintained prior to today. After cooking the sauce
and cranberries in the skillet, I removed the ingredients and
placed the skillet in the sink filled with water to let it
soak. After approximately 1 hour, I washed the skillet and was
surprised to find the washcloth and sponge covered in black
after wiping out the pan. Even now, if I rub a paper towel
inside the skillet, it turns black. Do you have any advice as
to what I did wrong, what can be done to correct the problem and
whether the cranberry dish is still edible or needs to be thrown
away? I truly appreciate your assistance in this matter.
- Kelly (11/28/05)
The major mistake was leaving your cast iron skillet soaking in water.
That is a NO, NO! I clean mine out with soap and water but
never let it sit in it. You can save you skillet! What you need to do is to re-season you
skillet. You might have to re-season it several times to get it back in working condition. Check out the different
seasoning techniques on this web page.
Not knowing what your cranberry dish looks like, it is hard for me to tell you what to do. If it turned black, I would
indeed throw it away. Cranberries are very acidic and should be cooking in a stainless steel cooking pot.
Hello, I have luckily found your web site and could use some help. I
bought three Griswold iron skillets for a wedding shower. The man said
the sticky stuff on the outside was peanut oil. They were terribly
sticky. I came home and washed them, dried them, and put a light coating
of vegetable oil on them. They are still very sticky. I have baked them
in the oven for 6 hours on 225 degrees. Still sticky. I am now baking
them at 300 degrees for 1 hour. Should I start over with the
washing? A friend who uses iron pans says she never uses soap on hers.
Help, I have too many different views coming my way. What do I do with
these pans? - Kay Smith. (8/24/03)
Your problem does puzzle me. I've never seen old or new cast iron pans
with sticky stuff like you described. It sounds like you purchased old
pans with a greasy buildup. I know that most people say not to wash them
in soapy water, but in your case, I would do just that. Make sure that
all the sticky stuff is removed before re-seasoning them.
Everytime, after I use my cast iron skillet, I do the following:
(1) Wash it with dishwashing soap and water (do not soak)
(2) Lightly oil inside of pan.
(2) Place on hot burner of stove for a few minutes. Remove from stove and wipe excess oil off the pan with a paper towel.
(3) Store. If you need to place another pan on top of your season cast iron pan, place a paper towel between them. I hang mine
from my pan rack.
Linda, thank you so much for writing back. I will now be
able to keep these pan nice and clean. I took the easy way out and put
the pans back into the oven, turned it up to 400 degrees F. and bake
them for a little more than a half hour. Hurray, they were dry.
Not sticky at all. Hope I didn't ruin them, but they sit even on the
stove. I can't wait to cook in them and see the results. Thanks again,
have a good day.
PS. These were suppose to be fairly new