My mom had a cast iron skillet that I loved. It cooked evenly. Pancakes, bacon, and burgers turned out great. I purchased two skillets in the past few years, but neither came close to the quality of my mom’s. One rusted quickly.
My sister told me that I had to “season” the skillet. I found a product to spray oil over cast iron to season it, but somehow didn’t think that was the way my mother and grandmother accomplished the task.
Since I also wanted to purchase a Dutch oven for cooking over an open fire, I searched for a method for curing cast iron.
First, wash the Dutch oven (or skillet) with hot soapy water to remove waxy coating.
Heat your regular oven to 200 degrees with the cast iron pot inside. Keep the lid on your Dutch oven.
Once heated to 200 degrees, pour small amount of oil inside the pan. (Shortening or lard work well, too.) Wearing oven mitts, wipe the whole surface of the Dutch oven or skillet with a clean cotton cloth. Make certain to rub oil into the outside.
Turn up your regular oven to 350 degrees and heat the skillet for an hour. Expect to see smoke. When the hour is up, allow the skillet to cool slowly to avoid cracking or warping.
The Dutch oven or skillet is ready for use.
To clean the skillet, wipe away food with a paper towel before washing it in hot soapy water. Dry it completely. Then apply a light coating of oil inside and outside.
Skillets turn dark brown or black after repeated uses.
This easy method revived my rusted skillet.
-Sandra Merville Hart
Beattie, Roger L. “Seven secrets of Dutch oven cooking,” Backwoods Home Magazine, Inc., 2016/05/26 http://www.backwoodshome.com/seven-secrets-of-dutch-oven-cooking/.
Collester, J.S. Old-Fashioned Woostove Recipes, Bear Wallow Books, 1988.