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Lodge Unseasoned Dutch Oven

I have an unseasoned Lodge dutch oven. What is it worth? Should I sell it and buy a pre-seasoned one? It is gray and probably 10-15 years old. I have the instructions to season it.

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  1. <What is it worth?>

    If you are talking about market price, then it worth a bit less than its preseasoned counterpart.

    < Should I sell it and buy a pre-seasoned one?>

    Absolutely not. Although Lodge advertises preaseasoned cast iron to be easy to use, I do not share this belief and I know many here also disagree. For many people who are serious about cast iron cookware, they like to season their cookware from scratch. This means it is easier to work with the unseasoned one than the preseasoned one. I had to strip the preseasoned layer in order to start seasoning my Lodge cookware.

    19 Replies
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

      The reason why I ask its worth is that it's impossible to find an unseasoned Lodge because they quit making them over ten years ago and I can't find anything comparable online. Once I season my dutch oven the rare value is gone. My mom has another old dutch oven I can walk next door and borrow if this one was worth selling. Thank you for sharing Chemicalkinetics.

      1. re: Ironlady

        Lodge doesn't have any "collector" value I am aware off. Generally, you are looking at pre-WW 2 stuff for cast iron cookware collector value.

        There is probably someone out there who would pay a premium for this oven but, how would you find them?

        1. re: Sid Post

          I wouldn't expect a collector to be interested in it, but perhaps someone who wants to season their own dutch oven or someone with allergies to certain oils.

          1. re: Ironlady

            If someone has allergies, it is really simple to run it through the self cleaning cycle of their oven and start over with the oil of their choice.

        2. re: Ironlady

          <The reason why I ask its worth is that it's impossible to find an unseasoned Lodge because they quit making them over ten years ago and I can't find anything comparable online....>

          It is very simple to convert a preseasoned cast iron cookware into a unseasoned cast iron cookware. Because it is very simple to do, there isn't special value to speak of.

            1. re: rasputina

              living history and re-enactors pay for vintage cookware... so there is a "market" for cast iorn that is non labled on the lids have the dome lid rather than the set in lid.. and other types

              1. re: girloftheworld

                This one is labeled on the lid. It's not very vintage or old. It sat around in a dark pantry for at least ten years not being seasoned. Lodge has only sold seasoned ones since then.

                1. re: girloftheworld

                  The poster is talking about rare value due to having never been used. Last I went to an SCA meeting, we actually tried to live it, so we'd have been using it.

                  1. re: rasputina


                    I am assuming you don't dress up in renaissance faire garb and cook in cast iron. Please help with the acronym.

                    Mr Taster

                    1. re: Mr Taster

                      Reenactment is in the living and doing not in displaying unused items for decoration.

                      1. re: rasputina

                        Wow, OK! That's a visual. Cleavage, corsets and cast iron.

                        Mr Taster

              2. re: Ironlady

                I can't imagine any value in an unseasoned Dutch oven

                1. re: C. Hamster

                  Your sentiments are shared by the majority is seems.

                  1. re: Ironlady

                    I don't really think it is unreasonable to think that it has some value above a seasoned one. Maybe there is someone out there that wants to season their own dutch oven with their own choice of oil that doesn't want to go through the work of stripping a seasoned one a likes the Lodge. Or doesn't want to use oven cleaner or other procedures to strip it. Not that I'm saying its worth some crazy amount, but maybe a penny more.

                    1. re: Ironlady

                      <Maybe there is someone out there that wants to season their own dutch oven with their own choice of oil that doesn't want to go through the work of stripping a seasoned one a likes the Lodge.>

                      Maybe on an individual level, so you may very well find someone who is willing to pay more. However, this is not the case for the market value. The reason is that there are also people who want to able to use their cookware out of the box on day1 without spending hours or days to season the cookware.

                      You have some people who prefer one way, and some people prefer the other way. The market price is determined by the overall supply and overall demand.

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        You are right. I just thought I'd throw it there. Lodge discontinued selling the unseasoned pan because the demand for seasoned was greater.

                        1. re: Ironlady

                          Lodge would have the choice between applying a thin seasoning layer, or, as they previously had, applying a wax or varnish coating to prevent rust on the store shelves. And the wax was really annoying -- it took more effort to clean that than to season the cast iron in the first place. I'm sure they'd choose a non-allergenic seasoning method. Once at home, anyone who wants to go ahead and season the pot to their liking can go right ahead, the pre-seasoning will no longer be in evidence afterwards.

                          1. re: LJones

                            I am fairly sure that Lodge choose to use soy-based oil. As to its allergenic effect, that I don't know.

            2. It sounds to me like it IS well seasoned if it is gray, i.e. no rust. Maybe you meant that it is not "factory seasoned" like their current pans.

              My advice is to keep it and use it. It's a great thing to own. Enjoy it and take care of it!

              1. Definitely do not sell it! Pre-seasoned Lodge cast iron isn't all that special over and above un-seasoned Lodge cast iron.

                If your oven has a self clean feature, I would wash it in soapy water to pull off any dust or oils first. Now that you have a fresh 'virgin' cast iron dutch oven to work with, heat your oven really hot with a aluminum foil or cook sheet on a bottom rack and put your lightly oil dutch oven on the upper rack and heat it up.

                Having seasoned several De Buyer iron pans and taking the lessons learned, I would use peanut oil and a 500 degree oven. A two or three times through the peanut oil and high heat should give you a really good start at seasoning and rust protection. Now, start searing roasts, browning hamburger, etc. to finish it off.

                16 Replies
                1. re: Sid Post

                  The instructions say to cook for one hour at 350 degrees. I was told by the Lodge company to do that 3 times. Then to cook fatty meats for the first 20 to 30 meals. Do you still recommend the 500 degrees? My son is allergic to peanuts. Is there another oil you recommend?

                  1. re: Ironlady


                    Don't listen to Lodge. I floundered around with my cast iron for years, not understanding the appeal, until I read about the high heat flax seed oil method. Flax seed oil is the food grade equivalent of linseed oil, which is what artists use to seal their paintings. The flax seed oil makes a bulletproof, amazingly hard bond with the iron. Six seasonings and you'll have a perfectly seasoned pot. Just be sure to add a thin layer of oil and wipe everything you can put with a
                    paper towel. If you leave too much on, it will become sticky.

                    Google flax seed oil cast iron seasoning.

                    Mr Taster

                    1. re: Mr Taster

                      I found flax oil to have some problems. It appears that it might be more prone to flaking than other oils over time. A few people have noted this here, and there were quite a few comments on her blog from people who had experienced flaking. I experienced flaking with flax seed oil myself, though I modified her method.

                      I modified her method, though, because I found the initial 6-7 seasonings were insufficiently non-stick, considering the work involved.

                      If a durable, thick, fully non-stick surface MUST be built over time (as Canter implies in the comments section), then I'm not convinced it matters a whole lot which oil you start with. If you can build a fully non-stick surface quickly (and I did indeed find a way), then flax seed seasoning might just suffer from a critical lack of durability.

                      1. re: cowboyardee

                        I used the Cooks Illustrated method, which is a modification of Sheryl Canter's method. I seasoned my Griswold 10 and my Lodge 12" with this method 2 years ago and it's absolutely bulletproof-- not even the slightest hint of flaking.

                        1. Warm an unseasoned pan (either new or stripped of seasoning*) for 15 minutes in a 200-degree oven to open its pores.

                        2. Remove the pan from the oven. Place 1 tablespoon flaxseed oil in the pan and, using tongs, rub the oil into the surface with paper towels. With fresh paper towels, thoroughly wipe out the pan to remove excess oil.

                        3. Place the oiled pan upside down in a cold oven, then set the oven to its maximum baking temperature. Once the oven reaches its maximum temperature, heat the pan for one hour. Turn off the oven; cool the pan in the oven for at least two hours.

                        4. Repeat the process five more times, or until the pan develops a dark, semi-matte surface.

                        *To strip a cast-iron pan of seasoning, spray it with oven cleaner, wait 30 minutes, wash with soapy water, and thoroughly wipe with paper towels.

                        Mr Taster

                        1. re: Mr Taster

                          I wrote at length about this method here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/785489
                          When I first seasoned my most recent CI pan, that is the method I used.

                          My first couple problems with the method are admittedly speculative. I experienced a couple problems, but didn't have a control (besides past experience, which is not extensive in my case) to really compare my results. And I couldn't rule out error on my part as a factor, especially since I modified the method after being disappointed in the initial results. The problems:

                          1) It seemed to me that flaxseed oil seasoning is less tolerant of high heat than other seasonings. That is, the seasoning discolored and eroded when the pan was made very hot, whereas other seasoned pans have seemed to hold up to comparable temperatures in my (admittedly limited) experience. Several other posters mentioned having similar experiences, so I might be on to something. And the very low smoking point of the oil might (but might not) correlate with a more heat-sensitive polymer once the seasoning is created. But I can't say for certain.

                          2) Flaxseed oil seasoning became flaky (possibly in part due to exposure to high heat). Again, several other posters mentioned this. OTOH, people have noted other kinds of seasonings flaking as well. As Canter herself boasts, flaxseed oil seasoning is supposedly very hard. It makes a kind of intuitive sense to me that this same hardness also makes it less able to expand and contract without flaking as a pan is heated and cooled than other seasonings. Even if I'm wrong, and flaxseed seasoning is no more or less brittle than that of other oils... does that speak well of it? The explicit claim from Canter and CI is that this seasoning is MORE durable than other seasonings. Why shell out for flaxseed oil, or follow a method more convoluted than the traditional for the same results? Again though, I modified the technique before experiencing this problem.

                          Which brings me to the less speculative objection:

                          You buy the expensive oil and run through the whole process and then... the pan isn't any more noticeably non-stick than a pan newly seasoned with another oil. I feel reasonably confident of this. I've cooked on other newly seasoned pans, just as I cooked on this one right after seasoning; I've read comments here and on Canter's blog saying the same thing; and Canter herself claims (in those comments) that a truly non-stick surface must be built over time (which isn't 100% true, but I don't know if a fully non-stick surface can be made quickly and still be durable - I'm working on it).

                          Well, then, what advantage does this method actually have over other methods? True, it's not THAT much more work, but it does involve buying a specialty oil, and applying more coats than many traditional methods call for. But if all you're doing is building a bit of a base and making the pan less prone to rusting, that's easy. What's all the hoopla about?

                          1. re: Mr Taster

                            I followed this same method to the letter and spent a ton of time and effort doing it right; bottom line? It was no better, nor for that matter, no worse, than any other oil I have used to season pans over the years. Since the results are the same, it does not justify the expense of the flaxseed oil nor the time involved in using this method. FWIW, IMHO

                      2. re: Ironlady

                        By the way, when you're allergic to something, you're allergic to the protein, not the fat. But, the point is moot if you do the flaxseed oil method.

                        Mr Taster

                        1. re: Mr Taster

                          You can most definitely have an allergic reaction to peanut oil if you're allergic to peanuts.

                          1. re: cowboyardee

                            If there's protein left in the oil, that could cause the allergic reaction. The oil itself is not the allergen-- that was my point.


                            The FDA exempts highly refined peanut oil from being labeled as an allergen. Studies show that most individuals with peanut allergy can safely eat peanut oil (but not cold-pressed, expelled or extruded peanut oil – sometimes represented as gourmet oils). If you are allergic to peanuts, ask your doctor whether or not you should avoid peanut oil.

                            Mr Taster

                            1. re: Mr Taster

                              Arguing about how many angels can sit on the head of a pin may be entertaining for you, but if you or anyone in your family had a serious, life-threatening allergy I doubt you would be so cavalier about advising someone who is allergic to take even the smallest chance. Any responsible doctor I have consulted over the years has always advised me to err on the side of caution. There are FAR too many oils avail to choose from when seasoning a pan; personally I don't see any sense at all in taking even the smallest chance when the other options are so readily available.

                            2. re: cowboyardee


                              I think this is the first time I've even experienced such deafening silence from you in response to one of your posts! ;-)

                              Mr Taster

                              1. re: Mr Taster

                                Guess I have to respond now.

                                I don't really have anything to add to your second post. You're right, AFAIK. I just think that claiming oil doesn't cause allergic reactions is over-simplified and potentially a bit dangerous. Less-than-fully-refined peanut oils cause allergic reactions easily. Even peanut oil that's advertised as highly refined probably doesn't warrant experimentation from someone with peanut allergies, since there are plenty of other options out there. I only put so much faith in manufacturers.

                                If you hold on for a bit though, I'll argue you into oblivion about the Canter/CI seasoning method.

                            3. re: Mr Taster

                              I have reactions to flax oil. It may not properly be categorized as an allergy, but it's still a nasty reaction. I won't touch flax in any form, including oil.

                            4. re: Ironlady

                              I have used plain vegetable oil with good results, just a little more smoke than I like. I like peanut oil because it doesn't smoke as much but, I also don't have any allergies to worry about. Definitely use higher heat than Lodge recommends. Flaxseed oil seems to be worth a try next time I need to reason.

                              Just remember to use THIN layers of oil. I generally find 3 seasonings is enough to get a good start for cooking. After that, I would brown off a few roasts or cook some hamburger a few times and you should have a great oven with great seasoning.

                              1. re: Sid Post

                                Has anyone used sunflower, or grapeseed oil?

                                1. re: Ironlady

                                  I have used grapeseed oil. In all honesty, I think most oils will work with a very few exceptions like extra virgin olive oil.

                          2. It's not worth anything more than other Lodge dutch ovens.
                            You can find unseasoned cast iron on Ebay - it doesn't sell for much.

                            Might as well just season it yourself.

                            4 Replies
                              1. re: Ironlady

                                I once seasoned a Dutch oven with charcoal as the heat source while on a week-long camping trip with Boy Scouts. I continued to season it for five successive nights, though I began to cook with it on the second night. I used corn oil. It was what was available. After the first treatment, you could tell where the charcoal had been sitting on the lid. After the third night you could not.

                                1. re: LJones

                                  Never thought to do it that way. Has it preserved its non-stick condition well?

                                  1. re: Ironlady

                                    As it happens, I do not own this particular Dutch oven. One of the other scout leaders bought it right before camp and had no idea it needed seasoning before use, I think. So I sent it home with him and I might not have seen it since. But it is fairly standard practice among camping scouts to scrape, rinse, and re-season Dutch ovens immediately after use and generally using charcoal as the heat source (though a campstove could serve, as I would do if I had cooked with a Cast iron fry pan). My own Dutch oven has been cared for primarily using charcoal, though it had a very nice cure on it delivered on a stovetop when it first went to camp. To avoid excessive scorching adding unwanted flavors to my food I have come to prefer stovetop re-seasoning.

                            1. take it to a machine shop... have them grind out the bottom... rub it down withoil cook it out over an open fire filled with coals... for about two hours... dump it let it coolwipe it out...

                              1. It's probably worth adding a few other opinions on the subject of which oil to use for seasoning cast iron. The chemical reaction responsible for the non-stick coating is a complex one. It's built up on a framework of iron oxide. It's similar to rust, but black in color and much harder because oxygen does not easily penetrate the oil covering the iron.

                                It's also porous, and the pores fill with oil and ash. The oil present means that the surface exudes tiny amounts of lubrication. This is what gives it non-stick properties, but it also means that the pan should be brought up to a temperature that kills off bacteria during cooking because the mix has nutritive properties that allows bacteria to live until temperatures are raised.

                                But though

                                1 Reply
                                1. Google for the book "Cast-Iron Cooking for Dummies" by Wily Publishing. It provides more info on cast iron pots and pans than you would believe, or maybe even want to know. Recipes too. It isn't very expensive.

                                  1. No extra value to me. Folks go to flea markets and buy them all day for a few bucks and just clean them down to the bare metal.

                                    But, this is America after all and I've long suspected that if you put instructions on a bucket of gravel, you could slap an additional 20 bucks on the price and no one would bat an eye.

                                    Put it up on Ebay and explain why it's worth 25 or 100 bucks more than a new one. If someone thinks the same and finds that your value proposition resonates, then enjoy the fact you made the sale and call it a win.