What do we mean by old? 1920’s and even older......... YEAH!!
OK, first we shouted YEAH, than reality hit………they were in very bad shape……years of build up, rust, and who knows what else clung to our ‘hopeful’ treasure trove.….could they be saved?
Cast iron made in Taiwan, etc. isn’t the same as the ‘old school’ cast iron. One clue is weight; older cast iron is heavier than the newer ones. Our ‘hopeful’ treasure trove was abused, misused, and then abandoned to a wet garage. Not such a pretty sight to be sure. Just dreaming of a dinner made using cast iron that our great-grand parents used, or even older, was something we definitely wanted!!!
Cast iron has the advantage of getting hotter, faster than the pots and pans you find today. Old time cast iron holds the heat longer than anything! They also are just as easy to clean and maintain then those found today. If you have never used cast iron, you are definitely in for a treat………well seasoned cast iron adds a whole new dimension to the taste buds.
So, what do you do if you find rust and worse on your gramma’s cast iron? Do you try to save it or throw it away? Definitely save!!!! So let’s talk about how……….
Before we start though, we are going to apologize. It was a case of ‘he thought I took pictures’ and ‘I thought he took pictures’, so we don’t have photos of how bad they were to start………………and they were BAD!
First, here’s what you will need:
Fire (good old fashioned wood stove is perfect)
Fine grade steel wool, ‘OO’ works great
Olive oil or Lard (we used olive oil to start)
Old clothes or towels
Good old fashioned ‘elbow’ grease
Extra thick, heavy duty foil
Fine Steel Wool………..this isn’t the steal or copper scrubbers you find in the kitchen gadget isle at your local store. You’ll find steel wool at your local hardware store. This is the longest phase and takes time…..DON’T skimp on this step!!!! Using the steel wool, scrub the pots to remove all the chard chunks remaining from the first step, also this is where you scrub out all the rust spots that you can find. Don’t panic if you seem to get down to the original cast iron……that’s exactly what you are trying to do. Here are some before and after shots.
Remember: Cast iron heats up fast, so turn your burner down. Also remember it holds its heat longer, so turn it off a little earlier than you would otherwise.
Finally, enjoy your cast iron!!!! Cast iron was made to last a lifetime, not just yours, the cast irons’ life time!!! Cast iron cooking is a treat not a CHORE!
Homemade flour Tortillas anyone????