Storing cast iron skillets
I got rid of my cast iron skillets becauce I couldn't figure out how to store them when they are seasoned. I don't want to keep them on my stove top. I tired putting storing them in the oven, but I hated having to take them out of the oven to bake. I don't want to put them in the cupboard because they are messy. Where do you store yours? I miss my skillets....
Mark Bittman has a great bit on the ease of seasoning, so if you were concerned about seasoned pans getting mucked up (me, I get cat hair everywhere, so I'm sympathetic), you might want to reseason it the way he offers here:
(S)easoning is simple, and maintaining it is even simpler. To season a new pan wash it well and dry it. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees while you warm the pan gently over low heat on top of the stove. Using a brush or a paper towel, spread a tablespoon or so of a fresh neutral oil like corn or grape seed in the pan; the surface should be evenly covered, with no excess. Put the pan in the oven, bake it for about an hour and let it cool in the oven.
Once the pan is seasoned, routine washing can almost always be done with a scouring pad, not steel wool or anything else that will damage the seasoning (although the worst that can happen is that the pan will have to be reseasoned).
Despite many recommendations to the contrary, a little mild soap won't tear off the seasoning.
Cast iron can rust of course, but never if you dry it after washing and keep it out of rain and floods. If rust does appear, scour it off with steel wool or sandpaper, and reseason.
I keep mine in the drawer under the stove. My mother used to put nails up on the wall and hang her skillets near the stove - they stayed flat to the wall,and nothing could get on the cooking surface.
Seasoning really isn't as fragile as it seems, especially if you use your skillet regularly -- I wash mine with a plastic scrubby and a little dish soap, then dry it on a burner and rub it with a little oil before putting it away. If it's really cruddy, I scrub it out with salt -- it cleans away the crud without messing up the seasoning.
Yeah - I agree. While the surface of cast iron is virtually non-stick, you don't have to treat the pans like they are teflon non-stick. Stack 'em up, abuse the heck out of them and they will be no worse for the wear.
What were you doing to them that kept them so messy (I assume you mean oily)? After a good seasoning, it's not like they have to be dripping with oil for storage.
*lol* just using them.
By cruddy I mean when the black sorta pebbly feeling that accumulates on interior sides starts moving down onto the bottom of the pan. My mother used to go after hers with steel wool when that happened, but I find that the salt works just as well, and it doesn't need to be re-seasoned. I save steel wool for the rare occasions (once every coupla years) when I am cleaning up a yard sale find for a wedding present or such.
I wash my seasoned cast iron using dish detergent and a plastic scrubbie so that it's clean before storing. Then I spray with a light coating of Pam (or use veg oil if preferred) and wipe out any excess with a paper towel. Stays nicely seasoned, doesn't rust. Store with all my other pots and pans.
My seasoned cast iron skillets get washed and dried. They are clean and go into the pot cupboard with no problem and don't dirty anything close to them. Once well seasoned they can handle gentle washing.