Thursday, February 26, 2009

cast-iron cleanup

cast iron is one of the best things to use in cooking. not only does it last a long time, it provides small amounts of iron to food (great for women). and don't believe the hype-with proper seasoning cast iron is NON-STICK. if you are having a problem, you didn't season it right (or at all).
but probably the best thing about cast-iron is that you can find it cheap in thrift stores-like what happened to me recently during a recent visit to the Salvation Army. for $2, i picked up this adorable little cast-iron pot which is perfect for making sage butter for my squash gnocchi (will discuss later).

now as you can see the only problem is that this little pot has seen better days-it is dirty and covered with rust. what to do? it is actually very easy:
1. take either sandpaper or steel wool and scrub the crap out of it, make sure you scrub the rusty parts especially well.
2. rinse the pot and check for rust, scrub again.
3. give a good soap + warm water wash
4. cover the ENTIRE pot (inside and out) with a good layer of shortening, applying it with a paper towel-like to use a veggie-based/organic one. i have found that shortening is the BEST way to season cast iron (other people say an inch of oil in the pan-don't listen to them).
5. put the pot in a baking dish-or better yet, another cast iron piece (re-seasoning the other item!) and put in a 300 degree oven for 1 hour.
6. turn off the oven, leave the items in there until cool, wipe away excess oil.
check it out!!
washing cast iron: warm water (DO NOT SOAK) and a thorough dry. i usually just wipe it clean with a clean cloth and hang it up. i am seriously thinking about rehabbing old/vintafe pots and selling them!

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