Learn how to get it looking like new and how to prevent it from rusting in the future.
It may seem like a lot of extra work to care for a cast-iron pan, but it couldn't be easier and your efforts will be paid off with an amazing piece of cookware. With a few simple tips you can get that garage sale cast-iron skillet looking fresh as new. You'll be cooking everything from steaks to frittatas and cornbread to pita in this multipurpose pan.
Whether your cast-iron pan is vintage or brand new, if not cared for properly it can easily rust. You will need a mild abrasive to get rid of it. Believe it or not, table salt is one of the best things you can use on your cast-iron cookware.
Dab some vegetable or olive oil on a paper towel and pour a generous amount of salt in the pan, especially on the rusted areas. Using the oily paper towel, rub the salt into the effected areas until the rust or other debris is removed. If this doesn't work, then try a slightly more abrasive steel wool pad. Wash the pan with soap and warm water and dry thoroughly.
Once you've rid your pan of rust, there are a few easy steps to make sure that it stays rust-free. This is called "seasoning" or "curing" the pan, and you should also follow these steps with a brand new cast-iron pan. First, rub the entire cooking surface of the pan with a light layer of vegetable oil. Then put the pan in an oven pre-heated to 200 degrees F and allow it to sit in the heat for two hours. Turn off the oven and allow the pan to cool completely before removing it.
Some experts recommend doing this in much higher heat for a shorter amount of time, and many say that it is best to repeat this process a few times, especially if it is the first time you are doing it. This allows the oil to seep into the cast iron and creates a nonstick seal.
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