Vintage Cast Iron has been growing in popularity for years now. It seems that as far as cookware goes, people are realizing that cast iron is healthier and tastes better than modern cookware. In addition, there is also a huge market for cast iron as collectibles!
(I have the most talented friends and while on Facebook recently something caught my eye from my friend Andy!)
My old friend Debbie asked me if I could do a short “how to” on how I recently restored a very rusty old vintage “3” cast iron skillet. So, here goes:
How To Restore A Cast Iron Skillet
This step can vary depending in the severity of the rust on the skillet. If it is a light amount of rust, you can usually get it completely clean by scrubbing it with Kosher salt. The salt cleans and “sands” the rust away without the use of heavy chemicals.
If the skillet has more rust than the salt can remove you can soak the pan in white vinegar. This step requires you to check the pan every few hours. Do not leave it in the vinegar for days as it will begin eating the metal and ruin your finish. After removing the rust wash the skillet in dishwashing detergent and dry thoroughly.
Most older skillets DO have food residue that is baked on from many years of use. To get this completely removed place it in your oven and run the “self clean” cycle. Just like cleaning your oven, this cycle will turn your food residue into flakes that will brush right off. Once again, wash with dishwashing detergent and dry thoroughly.
With all your rust and food residue off of your skillet it is now ready for “seasoning”. Remember, cast iron must be seasoned well to become a “non stick” surface.
There are several ways to season cast iron. I have purchased a product called “Crisbee”. It comes in a puck and is used by many people who actually know what they are doing. You can also use many different cooking oils. Some have used Canola, Olive Oil or Corn Oil. Some people have stopped using lard and other animal fats as they say it can go rancid.
Whichever you use, coat it on the skillet and place it in the oven at 200 for 30 minutes. Remove it from the oven, wipe off the excess and place back in oven at 400 for 1 hour. Repeat this seasoning process at least 3 times. I know people that say they do it as many as 7 times.
Restoring old vintage cast iron can be a fun and rewarding experience. Afterward you have a very functional piece of Cookware as well as a collectible heirloom your family can keep for generations. This is not the only or maybe even the best way to restore cast iron but it is the method I used to restore the #3 in the pictures! Don’t be afraid to try this, you can’t mess it up!
This one looks beyond restoring but as you can see, it’s not!
Back of the cast iron pan:
After using these steps for restoring cast iron:
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