I’d wanted a cast iron skillet for a while. But every time I looked at the prices online and in retail stores, I was reminded why I didn’t have one. New cast iron can be so expensive. Then I stumbled upon hidden treasure at my favorite thrift store. I snagged a 10-inch and a 6-inch skillet for $7.49 total. The cast iron skillets had seen better days. Here are the steps I took to restore and season my pre-loved cast iron naturally.
I assessed the damage. The 10-inch skillet was scratched and somewhat rusty. There were no cracks, so I knew this would be salvageable.
The 6-inch skillet looked to be in better condition at first glance. There was no rusting and it seemed to be seasoned pretty well already. However, there was a greasy, sticky, green goo that coated the inside bottom of the rim. I had my work cut out for me.
Thankfully, all of these issues could be solved with a two-step process of restoring and seasoning.
How to Restore Cast Iron
First, I applied salt to all surfaces of the pans. I used sea salt, but any salt will do. The salt not only removed the green goo, but it completely annihilated the rust. Even some of light scratching.was gone after I scrubbed with the salt for only a few minutes. My pans only had minor surface issues, so this step was a cinch.
- Bonus tip: If you use your bare hands to do this step, you’ll have perfectly smooth, exfoliated, and glowing skin when you’re finished.
How to Season Cast Iron
The next step is called seasoning. I liberally applied olive oil over the entire surface of the pans. It was nice and shiny. I then wiped it off with a paper towel.
Heat helps the oil permanently coat the iron, so I placed the pans in the oven and then heated it to 350 degrees for an hour. I turned off the oven and let the pans cool in the oven overnight.
You can use coconut oil, flaxseed oil, or whatever cooking oil you like. Simply heat the oil to it’s smoking point so the non-stick coating can develop.
The next morning my used cast iron was ready to help me start the day.
I decided to make a very large, perfectly baked cast iron skillet chocolate chip cookie. What a delicious way to celebrate my success!
Cast Iron Care Tips
- New and restored cast iron can take several seasoning coats to achieve a smooth, non-stick surface. Be patient.
- Don’t use abrasive, metal scrubbers to clean the cast iron. This will scrape away your seasoning.
- Dry the cast iron completely immediately after washing.
- Re-season with cooking oil about once a month to maintain your seasoning.
This was my first attempt to restore and season cast iron. It was so easy and fast. I hope this encourages you to scour the bargain bins and garage sales to find your next little restoration project.