Taking care of Cast Iron and Stainless Steel Pots - Mothering Forums
Traditional Foods > Taking care of Cast Iron and Stainless Steel Pots
nicholas_mom's Avatar nicholas_mom 01:36 PM 12-28-2007
Hi,

I just received my first cast iron frying pan. This pan is pre-seasoned pan. How do I take care of a pre-seasoned cast iron pan? How do I wash it, with soap?

Also, I have some stainless steel pans that I have used and they have stains. How do you remove these stains? We have been using something called "Bartenders Soap" or something like that works but I don't know if its a healthy idea do use this product.

RootBeerFloat's Avatar RootBeerFloat 02:43 PM 12-28-2007
RE the cast iron, it took me a while to figure mine out, but what I do is make sure to cook with plenty of oil (I usually use bacon fat or palm shortening) to discourage sticking. When I clean it, I run it under very, very hot water for a few minutes to heat up the pan and melt any fat that's on there, and after that, it's very easy to wipe clean. It took me a while to figure out the super hot water thing; I was scrubbing my pans alot and wound up taking the seasoning off of them.

RE my stainless steel, I use regular dish soap and scrub with a scouring pad. I've had one incident of really stubborn stains and dh went after it with some steel wool. It worked, but I'm not sure that's the right way to clean it!
crysmomofthree's Avatar crysmomofthree 02:55 PM 12-28-2007
no soap on the cast iron just hot water and if you clean it right away it comes clean better, we have a brush to clean it
memory maker's Avatar memory maker 04:04 PM 12-28-2007
I have had such bad luck with my cast iron. I have gotten rid of 2 of them because I rusted them completely.

I wash my SS pans in the dishwasher. I dont know if you are supposed to or not. I do scrub with steel wool if stuff is really stuck
stilllearning85's Avatar stilllearning85 04:55 PM 12-28-2007
When I am done using my cast iron, I rinse it under hot water and then rub out all the gunck on it, then I put about a 1/2 inch of water in it and boil it until it all evaporates. This is how I was taught to do it. I guess it makes sure that the seasoning stays on, but all the bad stuff is killed. :
duckmom's Avatar duckmom 10:38 PM 12-28-2007
I find that baking soda works really well to remove stains from my ss pots. add just enough water to make a thick paste, use a liberal amount and scrub with a scouring pad.
saratc's Avatar saratc 02:43 AM 12-29-2007
Pretty much saying the same thing as pp --

For both the stainless steel and cast iron, I scrub with a stiff nylon brush.

For the cast iron, only ever use hot water for cleaning with nylon or plastic brushes. For cooking, use a flat bottomed spatula. Usually, I don't bother to wash if I can scrape the cast iron pan clean with a spatula. I just wipe it with a dry paper towel to get rid of any bits. If washing, make sure your pan is somewhat cooled, or you'll get a deglazing effect which takes some of the seasoning off. If you've washed it, make sure you dry it completely and then wipe a thin layer of fat over it. I usually wash, heat the pan for a few minutes to dry completely, and then wipe a thin layer of lard on the pan. The factory seasoning isn't as good as self seasoning, so for the first dozen or so times you use it, try to use it only for really greasy stuff like eggs with lard or butter and avoid stuff that is acidic or overly moist.

For the stainless steel, as pp mentioned, baking soda is great for getting rid of stains. If there's something particulary stubborn, you can also soak it in diluted white vinegar before scrubbing with baking soda and/or table salt.
spughy's Avatar spughy 04:07 AM 12-29-2007
Bon Ami also works really well on stainless steel. I have highly polished ss pots so I don't ever use a scouring pad on them. I also don't put them in the dishwasher much because the detergent is so much harsher and it tends to pit stainless steel over time, I think.

I actually DO use soap on my cast iron. : I use soap, rinse really well, then dry on a hot stove element and then while the pan is still hot, I wipe it with an oiled cloth. My cast iron isn't very non-stick, but I am a fan of sticky bits because they make fantastic sauce, so I don't care.
lotus.blossom's Avatar lotus.blossom 05:42 PM 12-29-2007
When my pan has somehting spicy/acidic in it I usually use soap but I have 2 pans now one for eggs and breads and another for meats and spicy sauces. I usually put my kettle on and pour some boiling water in for a few minutes to get the pan clean. I place it back on the burner on low to dry and then slather with fat/oil. Pretty typical but I also wanted to add that if a pan rusts you don't have to get rid of it! I restored my uncles antique cast iron that looked nasty and completely unusable. You have to do a lot of oiling and baking in the oven but eventually it comes back to life!
cristeen's Avatar cristeen 05:43 PM 12-29-2007
I do like the pp and just rinse my cast iron under very hot water. I use a nylon scrub brush if necessary to get anything stuck on off. Then the pan goes back onto a low flame until it is dry. Do not expect cast iron to air dry. That's how it rusts.

I toss my stainless pans into the dishwasher all of the time. I expect a certain amount of staining on the pans, so I don't do anything about exterior stains. Interior stains... if it's just a stain, I don't worry about it. If it's actually something stuck on the pan, I let it soak for a bit in hot water, then scrape it off with whatever's handy... spatula, scrub brush, etc... I don't use steel wool on anything... don't even have any in the house.
Taedareth's Avatar Taedareth 12:19 AM 01-17-2008
Those of you who cook with cast iron - do you have any tips on buying cast iron frying pans? I saw some at Walmart but they looked like they had black paint or something on them. Should cast iron look like regular metal?
quietserena's Avatar quietserena 02:42 AM 01-17-2008
the black paint looking stuff is because they're preseasoned.

i have a lodge one and it's not bad and i have a set from JC Penney that's very similar to the lodge. i also have one that I got as a handmedown from who knows who and i looove how it's smooooooooooooooth on the inside and not bumpy like the lodge ones. only thing that sucks is that the bottom of it isn't flat so it gets hot spots and twirls on my ceramic cooktop stove.

it seems there isn't any cast iron made that is smooth any more. i don't know why but the smooth is really nice to cook in and it seems things stick less.

i haven't met a cast iron pan i didn't like though.

i like the preseasoning too because it's all nice and even on the outside. i don't usually get the pans seasoned evenly on the outside and if it's preseasoned it gives me a pretty looking starting point.

i don't use soap on my cast iron either, i just put water in it and boil to get the stuck on stuff off and then I pat dry and oil ligtly. haven't had one go rusty on me in ages. i also use a scrubby if nothing is seriously stuck and just run under hot water.
purple_kangaroo's Avatar purple_kangaroo 03:57 AM 01-17-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by quietserena View Post

it seems there isn't any cast iron made that is smooth any more. i don't know why but the smooth is really nice to cook in and it seems things stick less.
Don't they get smooth like that just from being used a lot and seasoned really really well? Basically carbonized grease making a glassy surface?
quietserena's Avatar quietserena 12:59 PM 01-17-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by purple_kangaroo View Post
Don't they get smooth like that just from being used a lot and seasoned really really well? Basically carbonized grease making a glassy surface?
i think so i just haven't made it there yet. i look forward to it!

my smooth pan though is smooth with no seasoning (i took the old seasoning off before I used it)
Taedareth's Avatar Taedareth 04:16 PM 01-17-2008
So the black paint isn't toxic or anything?
tempestjewel's Avatar tempestjewel 09:02 PM 01-17-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by Taedareth View Post
Those of you who cook with cast iron - do you have any tips on buying cast iron frying pans? I saw some at Walmart but they looked like they had black paint or something on them. Should cast iron look like regular metal?
There are some threads under Mindful Home Management about cast iron pans. Most recommend to avoid cast iron made in China. It can contain high levels of arsenic. Cast iron made in the USA is less likely to have it. I really, really like lodge, and most of it is made in the USA (though not everything, so you have to check). I have some cheaper cast iron I got at Fred Meyer but it does not work as well as my lodge (and its also, unfortuately, made in China .
tubulidentata2's Avatar tubulidentata2 02:19 AM 02-14-2008
One of the PP mentioned cooking something like eggs with lots of butter to add seasoning to a pan. I have so much trouble with eggs and cast iron that I must be doing something wrong. My eggs always stick, and then the seasoning comes off when I scrape off the stuck eggs. Perhaps I am not using enough butter. I use 1-2 tbsp of butter for six eggs (scrambled).

Another question about bacon fat. How are you guys storing this bacon fat? Do you just cook bacon once per week and save the fat in a jar in the refrigerator?

TIA
attached2mason's Avatar attached2mason 03:03 AM 02-14-2008
Re: stuck food - one thing to keep in mind about cast iron is that it holds heat REALLY well. So, I will often heat it up on medium-high and then turn it right down to medium/low. Otherwise it gets too hot and the eggs stick. HTH.
tubulidentata2's Avatar tubulidentata2 03:14 AM 02-14-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by attached2mason View Post
Re: stuck food - one thing to keep in mind about cast iron is that it holds heat REALLY well. So, I will often heat it up on medium-high and then turn it right down to medium/low. Otherwise it gets too hot and the eggs stick. HTH.
I will try this next time. Thanks!
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