General Question

Nullo's avatar

Any suggestions for care and long-term storage of cast-iron cookware?

Asked by Nullo (21944points) October 13th, 2010

I have a couple skillets and a Dutch oven, none of which I use very heavily. I know that neglect leads to rust, but the only thing that I know for that is to either daub the stuff in oil (cooking oil? olive oil? bicycle oil?) or else Cosmoline.

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11 Answers

marinelife's avatar

If they are seasoned properly, you do not need to oil them.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
CyanoticWasp's avatar

I agree with @marinelife regarding seasoning, with the caveat that the pieces have to be stored properly, in a dry place. Even a well-seasoned pan is going to rust eventually if it’s put away wet or allowed to stay wet for long periods.

mrentropy's avatar

You may want to put a paper towel in there, too, just to absorb moisture. I don’t know if that works or not, but I got it from other site a long time ago.

My cooking is 90% done with a cast iron dutch oven.

WestRiverrat's avatar

Store them with a couple layers of paper towel between each pan. If you have any dessicant you can put that in the cupboard to absorb any excess humidity, a couple saltine crackers will do the same job. Wiping them down with cooking oil before storing them won’t hurt them.

I do a lot of camp cooking in the summer with cast iron. I store a lot of my camp cookware over the winter.

Ltryptophan's avatar

My grandma just puts them away clean for 30 years. Cooks good…to me.

FrogOnFire's avatar

@marinelife is right about the seasoning. The linked article mentions seasoning in one’s oven, but, in my experience, that fills the kitchen with smoke. I prefer to season my cast iron dutch oven in my propane grill. I just turn it over every half-hour or so during the process to make sure it gets evenly heated/coated.

mrentropy's avatar

@FrogOnFire I use lard and put it in the oven at a lower temperature for a longer time.

JaneraSolomon's avatar

Is there any reason you’re saving them, given that you’re not really using them?
The easiest way to prevent rust on them is to spray them lightly with Pam, then put them in paper bags then inside plastic bags. Some oil will soak into the paper bag which is fine. The plastic bag will keep it from messing the shelf where you store it. Contrary to what some folks said, proper seasoning is not necessary until and unless you’re cooking with the pans. Just to store them and keep them from rusting a light coating of oil (Pam) works equally well.

Nullo's avatar

@JaneraSolomon I have a mini-skillet that’s only good for cooking small amounts of things. Doesn’t always get used. The Dutch oven is good for soup, but I don’t always make soup.

JaneraSolomon's avatar

I find my cast iron dutch oven is one of the most useful pieces in my whole collection. I love making pot roast, chili, or spaghetti in it because you can get it good and hot and brown the meat in the same pan that you make the sauce in. It’s also wonderful for roasting a whole chicken in on top of a bed of mirepoix (chopped carrots, onion and celery). You’ll get less splatter than with a flat pan, plus its easy to store the leftovers since you can just toss the lid on and put it in the refrigerator as is. I’ve even used mine as a smoker, with wood chips on the bottom, cooking bbq ribs on the stovetop in winter time.
Just sayin… ;D

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