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Mar 1, 2011 06:53 AM

Care for Copper Pans with Cast Iron Handles


Long time reader, first time poster here. This is a great community and I am grateful for all the knowledge sharing going on!

I have, what I hope, will be an easy question. So I've brushed up on the proper care of cast iron skillets (recently picked up a very nice vintage Griswold 10 on Ebay, per everyone's raves on here). Also, pretty comfortable cleaning copper cookware now, as well. I have mostly Demeyere stainless, but decided to give copper a try. So I recently picked up a Mauviel M'Heritage fry pan.

Here's the rub: it has a cast iron handle and I haven't a clue how to care for it when it's affixed to the copper pan? I washed the pan last night, and this morning the cast iron handles has veins of oxidation already streaking it. How do I remove them and also prevent them from returning?? Are you supposed to somehow season the handles?

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    1. I am theorizing three methods. First, apply cooking oil to the cast iron handle and use a torch to season the handle. Second, apply drying oil like tung oil, lineseed oil....etc. These oils will polymize at room temperature - unlike most cooking oils which remain liquid. Beeswax is an option too. Third, just use some protective coating.

      1. Thank you!

        Now how about removing the little rust veins that have formed? What is the best way of doing this without risking damage to the copper pan itself?

        1. BuffaloKitchen: The handle care is not much different from a CI skillet...

          Yes, vegetable oil is great; the iron will season a bit over time just from cooking. If you want, just put the pan in a low oven after you wipe on the oil.

          Chem has suggested a torch--that will work, but I'd be a little ginger around the rivets. If you use a torch, an old blacksmith's trick is to get the iron hot, and then brush on a little carnauba wax and wipe any excess off. That makes a very durable, shiny finish which also protects from rust.

          As for removing surface rust, a little steel wool or a small steel parts brush (toothbrush size) works well, then just wipe down again with oil or wax. Just keep whatever you use away from the pan itself--copper is very soft and will mar.

          1. Did you dry the handle after washing?

            I have a copper pan with a cast iron handle. Other than drying it after washing I haven't done anything special. Rust hasn't be a problem in at least a year.

            5 Replies
            1. re: paulj

              All my copper has cast iron handles as well. I've never done anything besides dry them right after washing and polishing either. Havne't noticed any issues in the handles. My oldest pieces are going on about ten years old now....

              1. re: paulj

                Yes, I dried, but unfortunately not thoroughly. I left the pan upside down on the countertop overnight and a drop of water must have remained on the underside of the handle.

                I'm still attempting to figure out whether or not the Mauviel came with a protective lacquer on the copper. Mauviel's site simply says wash everything with dish washing soap prior to the first use, but I'm nervous about firing up the stove and burning a lacquer to the pan. Does anyone know if they come with a coating or not?

                1. re: BuffaloKitchen

                  Mine are all Mauviel...I washed and then used without any issue.

                  As for the handles...I handwash all the pots and then dry by hand right away rather than allow to airdry. Could be why I haven't had issues with the handles I guess....I really haven't paid much attention to teh handles to be honest and don't polish the copper everytime I wash either.

                  1. re: ziggylu

                    Great, thanks. I appreciate your input!

                  2. re: BuffaloKitchen

                    If the manufacturer has nothing about cleaning the lacquer off, then don't worry about it.

                    I did clean mine with acetone, since I read that it would allow the copper to develop its natural patina. While don't regret do so, I wouldn't repeat it.

                    I wouldn't worry about spots of rust. They are not going to grow and make the handle fail.