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I bought a cast iron skillet from Ikea about 5 years ago and I had no idea you're supposed to season cast iron. I've been washing it just like any other pan and scouring it sometimes w/steel wool when something is really caked on there. Is that supposed to make the metals leach into the food I'm cooking. Is it too late to season it?
 

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Not too late... but I scour mine too, just FYI. You can scour CI just fine without doing much damage, as long as you don't use soap.<br><br>
If you've been using soap, give it a really good wash, maybe even boil some water in it for a few minutes to be sure you get it all out. Then start the seasoning process.
 

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Yes, you should season cast iron, definitely, but no you can't ruin it short of cracking the thing in half. It can ALWAYS be reseasoned. There are many members here who are stoked to find at a yard sale or thrift shop a 30 or 40 year old rusty cast iron skillet that they can rehab.
 

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Do you eat meat? If so, use bacon grease to season it! This will make it perfectly dark and non-stick.<br><br>
Scrub it down well with steel wool, rinse and rinse, then coat the inside of the pan with bacon grease. Heat it until it smokes a little, then let it cool. Wipe out excess grease with a cloth or paper towel, and rinse if you want--but you don't have to rinse.<br><br>
Every time you use it to cook, rinse very well and get all the crusties out. Then coat with a thin amount of bacon grease and heat it. You'll have a perfect pan in no time! I can cook cheese and eggs in mine without hardly any sticking.<br><br>
If you don't eat meat I'm not sure what the best kind of coating is to use. I have tried Spectrum organic shortening before but it wasn't quite the same as the bacon grease. It smoked way too much and didn't coat the pan as well.
 

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I don't have a cast iron pan and don't know the answer to your specific question - but as to your general question of whether you can ruin a cast iron pan:<br><br>
Since I've read an MDC mama found a cast iron pan <b>by the side of the road</b> and took it home and nursed it back to health, I'm gonna hguess you can't ruin one!
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Pepper44</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/14690987"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Do you eat meat? If so, use bacon grease to season it! This will make it perfectly dark and non-stick.</div>
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Bacon is the best for seasoning – and you have an excuse to eat bacon <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"><br>
I have tried using canola oil and it worked OK but I didn't get the perfect, dark surface that you get with bacon.
 

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I usually use coconut oil as we don't usually have bacon around and it seems to do the trick pretty well.
 

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I've heard that if you overheat the CI it can permanently damage/ruin it. By overheat I mean putting it in a hot fire for hours. It can change the metal.<br><br>
This obviously doesn't apply to the OP's situation, though.
 

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Yup, mine came from goodwill & I seasoned it. Love it!!!
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Fujiko</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/14691209"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I've heard that if you overheat the CI it can permanently damage/ruin it. By overheat I mean putting it in a hot fire for hours. It can change the metal.<br><br>
This obviously doesn't apply to the OP's situation, though.</div>
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Nah, I don't think so unless, of course, you had the fire hot enough to smelt it. They make cast iron dutch ovens for camping and using right over flames/hot coals. You'd just burn the seasoning off if it got too hot, but it wouldn't be ruined.
 

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I just reseasoned mine by laying down a thin coating of canola oil and heating in the oven for a while while I cooked other things.<br><br>
I use kosher salt to scrub mine without damaging the coating. never let it soak a long time, or it can rust.<br><br>
Cook's Ullustrated says you should put it in the fireplace to remove old dirt and yucky old seasoning if you get one used.
 
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