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Care for Cast Iron (I need to get rid of the fish smell)

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craigcep Mar 3, 2012 07:08 PM

I made salmon in my cast iron pan (not enamel) the other night. I'm still new at this, but wiped it with a wet paper towel, then dried it. Then I rubbed some veggie oil on it. A few days later, it smells of fish. What to do? And please don't say reseason.

Thanks.

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  1. r
    Robinez RE: craigcep Mar 3, 2012 07:24 PM

    Table salt and Lemon will do the trick.

    Pour a few T of salt into the pan. Cut a lemon in half and use the halved lemon to scrub the pan while squeezing the juice out of the lemon. Use both halves, then let it sit for about 5 mins. Dont let it sit too long, it will draw too much of the oils used when it was seasoned.

    If you are not up to re-seasoning again, wipe the salt and lemon with a paper towel and follow with a coat of oil.

    Hope this helps. Take care

    1. g
      GH1618 RE: craigcep Mar 3, 2012 07:44 PM

      I never add oil to my cast iron pan after use and cleaning. If it is actually seasoned, it doesn't need it. Too much oil will cause stickiness and will hold smells, including the rancidity of the oil itself. I put my pan away clean and dry.

      1 Reply
      1. re: GH1618
        r
        Robinez RE: GH1618 Mar 3, 2012 08:06 PM

        I don't add oil to my cast iron skillets after use and cleaning, either.

        The OP wanted to get rid of a smell and because my method of cleaning was abrasive, oil as a last step is called for.

        If this is a well seasoned skillet to begin with, the salt and lemon trick will work, and wiping the skillet with a bit of oil won't stand on the top coat and leave a sticky substance.

      2. j
        jacquelyncoffey RE: craigcep Mar 3, 2012 08:04 PM

        If it is a well-seasoned pan, wash it with soap and water - yes I said soap!!, rinse and dry well. Put on stove top at medium heat for 5 minutes, until hot, but not screaming hot, remove from heat and wipe with a teaspoon or so of vegetable oil, using a paper towel. Let cool completely and wipe away any excess. I "condition" my cast iron this way just about every time I use it. The thought of only using salt or just wiping "skeeves" me. However, my pans are over 50 yrs. old and really well-seasoned.

        2 Replies
        1. re: jacquelyncoffey
          r
          rasputina RE: jacquelyncoffey Mar 3, 2012 09:25 PM

          it skeeves me too, I always use detergent on mine if I've cooked anything greasy or smelly. Which means basically, almost every time I use it. LOL.

          1. re: jacquelyncoffey
            r
            Robinez RE: jacquelyncoffey Mar 3, 2012 11:16 PM

            The OP asked how to remove an odor from her cast iron skillet. I answered with a solution that has worked many times in my experience. I never suggested that this is a way to put up a cast iron skillet on a regular basis.

            Just wiping with a paper towel and putting it up would "skeeve?" me too.

          2. Chemicalkinetics RE: craigcep Mar 3, 2012 09:04 PM

            The seasoning surface of cast iron is very absorptive. In other words, it is difficult to completely remove flavor and smell. Personally, I don't care, but if this really brother you, then there are a few ways to remove the taste and smell.

            You can repeatedly wash it with detergent
            You can repeatedly wash it with acidic and/or basic solutions
            You can heat the pan up at low heat to burn off the smell.

            All of them have the problem of weaken your seasoning surface. So I do not recommend doing this if you don't have to. If carry-over smell and taste is unacceptable for you, then you probably need to switch out of bare cast iron cookware -- what a shame though.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Chemicalkinetics
              r
              Robinez RE: Chemicalkinetics Mar 3, 2012 11:34 PM

              That is why I have 3 cast iron skillets, pots. A deep chicken fryer, reg old bacon and egg, sausauge gravy and biscuit skillet, and a 10 inch skillet for baked corn bread.

            2. r
              rasputina RE: craigcep Mar 3, 2012 09:23 PM

              When I cook fish in my bare cast iron I always wash it with dish detergent once it's cooled. I don't have any lingering smell issues.

              1. p
                PepinRocks RE: craigcep Mar 4, 2012 06:25 PM

                Hi Craig,

                Scrub it with hot soapy water with a plastic scrubber or 3m green pad. Dry it with a paper towel. If the paper towel looks at all brown/black afterwards ... then you need to reseason it. You may not want to hear it, but that's how it works.

                The good news is ... once you PROPERLY season it, it will be super easy to care for afterwards for MONTHS of daily use, without any "reseasoning touch-ups".

                When you do season it - give it at least 2 treatments, not just 1. Even better give it 3. Good luck!

                1. d
                  dixiegal RE: craigcep Mar 5, 2012 07:12 AM

                  I never oil my cast iron before storing it. The oil goes rancid and it holds smells. As for fish. After cooking salmon, I always, always, wash my skillet with dish soap and water, rinse, then dry. The dish soap will NOT wash off the seasoning layers, but it will wash off the oils where you just cooked the fish. If my pan is sorta new and not heavily seasoned, I will then grease it up,(I usually use lard) wipe it down and put in the oven to bake on another coat of seasoning.

                  I don't always wash my cast iron in soap and water, but will not hesitate to do so after cooking something that I don't want to stay on my pan and become a part of it. Such as fish and the smell that goes with it.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: dixiegal
                    r
                    Robinez RE: dixiegal Mar 5, 2012 04:57 PM

                    I really dropped the ball on this one. I completely misunderstood this :" but wiped it with a wet paper towel, then dried it." I assumed that the OP meant after they had already tried washing it with soapy water and still couldn't get the fish funk out of it.. Because of course one would assume that after cooking fish in a cast iron skillet that soapy water would follow. I truly missed the "(wet ) paper towel" cleaning. I assumed, again, that this was a paper towel used to dry the pan before lightly coating with oil.

                    I should never post late at night when insomnia is driving me crazy. Appologies.

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