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Oct 4, 2010 09:50 AM

Re-seasoning flaky cast iron

I've been using my cast iron skillet for a while, and I saw that the seasoning on the inside circumference of the pan was starting to flake (Kind of like the pic on the left, but only around the edge of the pan The size of the flakes are around grains of sand, fairly fine, so when I wipe the skillet with a paper towel, there are around several dozen flecks.

Do you guys just put on another layer of seasoning when this happens? Or do you strip it all the way down to restart? I admit that my first layers of seasoning weren't the best (went a little heavy with the Crisco), but it's held up till now. Just wondering if another layer on top of that would be useless because of the flaking.

Also, how often do you guys reseason your pans? It seems almost inevitable that the seasoning will start chipping/flaking away with time, but people always talk about their generations-old skillet that they've never had to maintain.

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  1. My own suspicion would be that the flakes are carbonized stuff from cooking that has accumulated over time. I doubt seasoning over it would help, since it would probably still break off underneath. If it were me I'd scour out the stuff and re-season.

    I never find it necessary to re-season, and believe that if you just wipe the pan well after each use you can keep going forever. Seasoning is not a hard coating that would chip, but just some oil that clings and fills in the microscopic holes in the cooking surface. Just don't ever let any detergent or soap anywhere near it. Once the pan is performing well, just wipe it out each time. I often use the pans for things that leave behind some dried/burnt on residue, and then I simply heat the pan hot, toss in little water to deglaze whatever it is, and wipe it out, maybe adding a tiny bit of oil before putting it away. Works fine, and the pans continue to perform well. The deglaze approach might even help get rid of the stuff in your pan.