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Old cast iron saucepan

I picked up a 2-Qt. CI saucepan with lid at a collectables store. I got it on a whim as it was only $20. I've used it for deep-frying but that's about all. Can I just use it like a regular SS pot? I know this does sound dumb.

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  1. Conventional wisdom is that you should not use cast iron to cook acidic foods or sauces such as tomato or citrus which will tend to erode the seasoning. I've found, though, through experience, that I can cook tomato sauces in my very well seasoned pan without significant deterioration of the seasoning and that whatever small loss there is can be quickly remedied by deep- or shallow frying the next dish made in that pan.

    1. You can cook anything you want in the pot. Just realize that your white sauce may come out with a grey tinge.

      Seasoning is most needed when you want a low stick surface. The other main reason is to act as a barrier between the food and the iron. Unless you are using it for baking or frying, the much vaunted seasoning layer is grossly over rated.

      The parade with tar and feathers in my honor will proceed at moonrise tonight.

      2 Replies
        1. re: DuffyH

          Better a parade than a treeswing and a bonfire...

      1. If I use CI for pretty much "non-stick" cooking, sometimes only need to wipe out pan with paer towels.

        If I cook something that's "wet" (acid based or not), I give a good scrub with cheap-o salt and plenty of HOT water. Then back on burner till HOT and another dab of bacon grease.

        Guess I'll be on the bill with Indianriver for the T&Fs??

        1. Check out our discussion about rice cooking at:

          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/965486

          I use mine almost exclusively for sauteing onion/garlic and baking rice that always comes out perfect. The heavy iron assures evenly-distributed ambient heat w/o burning or sticking.
          CP

          1. Thanks for the prompt replies. I'll try it out for regular cooking and see how it goes.

              1. Only an unasked question is dumb. You can do anything you like, but you will discover that some foods do pick up unpleasant aftertaste. Are you too limited in space and budget to have several pans? Some experimentation on your part will get you to see what you like and don't like about the pan. By "saucepan" do you mean a pot or a suacier?

                1 Reply
                1. re: law_doc89

                  I would consider it a saucepan. It's appr. 7" diamx 3-1/2"
                  deep. On the bottom it is stamped Made in U.S.A. and
                  2 QT Stewpot.

                2. Hi, redstickboy:

                  Sure, you can use it any old way you want.

                  CI is not the ideal material for a saucepan, but your find was a bargain, and it's not so large as to exacerbate one of the biggest disadvantages--poor conductivity.

                  Is it enameled or bare CI?

                  Aloha,
                  Kaleo

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: kaleokahu

                    It's bare CI. It's pretty heavy. Have no idea how old it is.

                    1. re: redstickboy

                      likely it is unmarked Wagner much of the "Made In USA" CI is later Wagner from mid century.

                      While cast iron may not make the best "Sauce Pan" well seasoned it will be a super useful little pot - an excellent deep baking dish for beans or small casseroles - or well, stew.

                      Another thing this will do nicely that a SS pot wont is fry I because it is fairly deep and small diameter it wont take too much oil to get a nice couple inches of hot oil to "deep fry" and unlike doing this in a SS pot which will likely require some cleanup the CI pot will love you for it.

                      As long as you keep it seasoned you will find many good uses for this pot.

                      1. re: JTPhilly

                        Thanks for the info. Yes,we've used it as a "gas powered" Fry Daddy. Works great.

                  2. Cast iron sauce pan huh? It is probably not the very first option I have in mind, but you can definitely use it. Its heat response and temperature evenness won't be as good as that of aluminum or triply based saucepan. However, these are the lesser concerns. You can work around with these restrictions. My bigger concern is using a cast iron saucepan for acidic sauce. The acid will dissolve some of the iron into the sauce. Nothing toxic, but it will slightly alternate the taste, and there is no good way around it.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      Of course you have science on your side, and I won't try to swat it down with an opinion. However, I bought my first iron Dutch oven at a hardware store just before my GF and I left on a camping road trip, and the first time it was put over a fire she cooked a tomato-heavy lamb stew. Now, that was 42 years ago, but I don't recall any undue metallic taste. In fact, we kept the leftovers in the pot and reheated them the next night. I still have it – it's never been seasoned worth a damn, probably because I use it mostly for chili!