June 27, 2011



I have decided to start posting tips about random, but useful information that I come across during my day to day research and exploration of the antique and vintage collectibles gig. So far my main focus on this blog has been on glassware, in particularly Depression Glass, but that is not my sole interest or the only topic I plan on covering here. So to kick off my "TOP SECRET: A SMIDGEN OF ADVICE" collection I will start with cast iron.

Cast Iron is an excellent oven and stove-top cooking material. And starting a collection of cast iron cookware can be fairly inexpensive if you know where to look, what to look for, and what to do with that mess once you have found it.
Lodge Cast Iron Chicken Skillet Prior to Cleaning & Seasoning

Honestly, you can get online and go shopping at one of the many auction sites or antique/vintage collectibles sites, such as Quirks By Annie, and occasionally you'll find fantastic deals. But quite often, what you'll find is these sites have already taken the steps to properly clean and season their cast iron prior to listing it for sale. To many of these sellers it does not matter whether the piece is highly desirable or rare, they feel that they can charge outrageous prices, just because they are 'in the know'. Well isn't it time that you were 'in the know'?

Griswold Cast Iron Skillet No. 8
After Being Cleaned & Seasoned

Some of the cast iron cookware I currently have listed is highly desirable, rare, and in excellent condition, therefore I have priced those pieces according to their market value. However some of those same pieces can be found in less than perfect condition, not broken obviously, but with years of baked on muck and yuck, and if you use the correct procedures to clean and season those finds, you can save yourself limitless amounts of cash on an awesome collection of cast iron cookware.


Clean: The best way to clean old cast iron is to put it in an oven on the self-clean setting. Once the setting ends let the pans completely cool prior to washing with warm water and dish soap. If there is rust accumulation on the pans, you can soak them in a vinegar and water solution over-night, and then use a scour pad to clean off the rust.

Griswold Cast Iron No. 8 Skillet
Cooking Surface
After Being Cleaned & Seasoned
Seasoning: Once the pans are clean you will need to season them prior to use. Place the pans in a cold oven and heat to 450 degrees, once the oven reaches that temperature, remove the pans, but do NOT shut off the oven, only reduce temperature to 400 degrees. Once the pans are cool enough to handle, you will apply a thin layer of lard with a cotton cloth. Do NOT put too much lard on the pan or you will get a zebra stripe or leopard spot look to your pans. Next, place the pans back in the 400 degree oven, upside-down, for 30 minutes. When the 30 minutes are up turn the oven off and let the pans cool in the closed oven. The pans are now ready for a final warm soap and water wash. Never store your cast iron wet or even damp. To ensure that your cookware is completely dry, heat it on a stove burner for a minute. 

NOTE: In the event you do not get the seasoned look you were hoping for, you can repeat the seasoning process without any problems. In addition, with each use and following the proper cleaning methods, the seasoning process will continue.

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