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Aluminium foil can do wonders for dirty or rusty cast-iron cookware.
We debunked the myth of forgoing soap and water when cleaning your cast-iron pan long ago, but sometimes it just isn’t enough to remove stuck-on food. Restoring your cast-iron pan to its original glory takes some dedication, and these babies are notorious for being finicky. But all is not lost!
Lifehacker recently shared their hack for getting stubborn food or rust off your favorite cast-iron pan—a ball of aluminium foil. According to their article, scraping the inside of your pan with little hot water and wadded-up foil will be enough to remove stuck-on food without destroying your seasoning efforts.
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However, as with any cast-iron pan, it still needs to be dried completely after washing to prevent rust. The pan then needs to finish drying on a burner turned to medium-low heat, and sprayed with cooking spray or doused with a few drops of cooking oil before letting it cool and rubbing the inside clean.
Looking for more kitchen cleaning hacks?
3 Dangers Of Cast Iron #AskWardee 137
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Cast iron, cast iron, cast iron… you hear all the time how great it is.
However, there are 3 dangers you should know about… so that you can use it safely and healthfully in your kitchen.
Ruth W. wrote in asking me to address the warnings she's heard about cast iron and to talk about whether or not enameled cast iron is any better.
I'm happy to share on today's #AskWardee!
Keep reading or watching below to learn more!
Subscribe to #AskWardee on iTunes, Stitcher, YouTube, or the Podcasts app.
Can This Cast-Iron Skillet Be Saved?
I needed a win this week. I imagine so many of us did, for reasons both public and political and intensely private. It&aposs so damn hard being a person. I needed a problem I could actually fix, and one found me. I recently came into possession of a chicken shed filled with terrible things: damp cushions, a couple dozen open cans of paint, improperly sealed canisters of oil, rotten wooden furniture, and a couple of badly-rusted cast-iron skillets. I hauled what I could to a dumpster and am still mulling over paint disposal, but the pans—or at least one of themlt like a mission.
The larger of the two was cracked irreparably across the bottom, and I said farewell. But the smaller—I had to at least try to salvage it. It was caked with rust and filled with damp and indefinable matter (some of which was wiggling). In other words, it was an ideal distraction from upsets both deep inside me and infiltrating the very air we&aposre all breathing, culturally speaking. I brought it into my kitchen to rinse, wipe, and assess the state of things, and of course post pictures on Twitter and Instagram, asking people, Can this skillet be saved?
The response was immediate and way more enthusiastic than I could have anticipated. Send it out for sandblasting. Throw it in a deep fryer. Throw it in a bonfire. Use the electrolysis method. Use a drill and a wire brush. Send it to me and I&aposll fix it.
I knew only one thing: That I was going to bring this pan back from the dead, and I was going to revive it with my own muscle. As I replied to more than one person, I have rage, salt, baking soda, steel wool, biceps, ADHD medication, and very little fear of fire. (And also a masters degree in metalsmithing, which I rarely get to deploy these days.)
So first, I scrubbed. Time flaked away as I threw in fistsful of salt and baking soda, relaxed my jaw, and clutched a plain steel wool pad in my right hand and the handle in the other. I bore down hard in spirals, loops, and stubborn lines. I probably grunted a little. A physically-driven fugue state is a rare luxury for me these days, and I&aposll take the break from my own head when I can get it. I could see the neglect of years sloughed away by the weight of will, but still it wasn&apost enough. Time for fire.
My friend Drew Robinson is a pitmaster, and he knows from metal and flame. He said to throw it in my oven on the self-cleaning cycle, so I did just that. I opened the door to the backyard, pointed a stand fan toward it, and cleared out while the kitchen filled up with smoke. I came back to a still-filthy phoenix, surrounded by a radius of rust. Still so much further to go.
But the world is sometimes unexpectedly kind if you let it be. I posted pictures of the progress, and to my great delight, people on Twitter and Instagram shared their advice and encouragement. It&aposs sometimes easier to get emotionally invested in something outside yourself with a definitive physical goal than in something with an end still beyond the horizon (or actually consequential). I wasn&apost trying to hammer out a bipartisan solution for healthcare, appoint a Supreme Court justice, or end centuries of systemic gender inequality—just trying to clean a pan, man.
I kept scrubbing. More baking soda, more salt, the occasional douse of vinegar. Eventually, the paper towels I was using to wipe away the debris began to come away cleaner and cleaner until the soot turned to rust red, and then turned to nearly nothing.
Time to season. Also on Drew&aposs advice, I bought flaxseed oil, and while the oven crept up to 500ଏ, I rubbed it into the skillet&aposs surface as evenly and thinly as I could. The metal was thirsty in places, fuller in others, and I took my time. Slid it onto the center rack, waited a while, more oil. Back in the heat five more times until the surface was hard and almost glassy, and the metal told me it could drink no more.
When the skillet was cool, I picked it up. It was still heavy and hard, but somehow one with my hands. I transformed this iron object with the force of fire and my muscles and my will, and I made it mine. And also sort of everyone&aposs. Here you go, strangers and friends. I hope you like her. Share our victory.
13 Dangerous Household Items You Should Quit Using Immediately
There are many unknown dangers around our home, most of which we have no control over. In a world of "going green" it's hard to tell which products produce a threat to your health and which are simply natural alternatives. Here's a list of common household items that truly put you and your health at risk.
1. Non-Stick Cookware. While it's nice not to have to soak your pans overnight or scrape off burnt-on food, the ease of non-stick cookware comes with a price&mdashyour safety. Polytetrafluoroethylene, the coating that makes products "non-stick" is releases gases when heated, all of which have been linked to putting humans at higher risk for cancer and other harmful health effects.
2. Flea and Tick Products.Pet's flea and tick products may save your pooch from unwanted bites but due to pesticides it can lead to nerve damage and more.
3. Mothballs.Naphthalene, found in mothballs and products alike, can destroy red blood cells and has been proven to cause cancer in animals but has not yet been proven to cause cancer in humans.
4. Air Fresheners. Toxins found in air fresheners can accumulate in the body over the time. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council those toxins may affect hormones and reproductive health especially in children.
5. Oven Cleaner. Many of these cleaners contain corrosive alkalis, which can have grave effects on your gastrointestinal track and respiratory system if inhaled or ingested.
6. Furniture Polish and Stain. Non-vegetable, oil-based stains and polishes are not only extremely flammable but contain the chemicals phenol and nitrobenzene, which can be absorbed by your skin and can cause skin cancer.
7. Toilet Bowl Cleaner. The corrosive ingredients that make acidic toilet bowl cleaners clean so well are the same ingredients that can cause burns on skin and eyes. They are also extremely dangerous when mixed with other types of cleaners.
8. Gas Space Heaters.Gas powered anything releases toxins and using them indoors is extremely dangerous and can lead to Carbon Monoxide poisoning &mdasha condition that presents very little warning symptoms.
9. Cleaning Solutions. As the biggest offenders on the list, and the most commonly used, it's no secret household cleaners contains hazardous toxins. What's most concerning is it's not required for cleaners to list their ingredients on the bottle, leaving consumers in the dark. Even those claiming to be "green" or "natural."
10. Extension Cords.While an extension cord itself isn't dangerous. The way they are commonly used is. Many people don't realize there is a voltage capacity, and plug in as much as they can&mdashcreating a huge fire hazard. This, coupled with using warn out cords and running them under furniture and carpets, is why extension cords are a leading cause of fire in the US.
11. Antibacterial Soaps.For many years antibacterial soaps were assumed the "better" way to ward of harmful diseases and bacteria. However the triclosoan and triclorcarbon is actually harmful. According to theFDA, it can be linked to creating antibiotic-resistant bacteria and is not biodegradable.
12. Flaking Paint. Homes built as recently as the late 70s can have interiors covered in lead-based paints&mdashhazardous when the paint starts to flake AND when it's time to repaint. Inhaling these particles can lead tolead poisoning.
How to Make Glue
Most of these involve a little bit of cooking. They&rsquore as easy to make as a very simple sauce, and older kids can safely make them as long as they know how to use stoves and saucepans safely.
Some of them involve no cooking and can be made safely by younger kids. Supervision is always a good idea.
Please note: we keep getting asked what glue would be safe to put on skin. We are not scientists, and everyone&rsquos skin reacts to different things. So we can&rsquot advise you on that.
The Best Recipes to Cook in a Cast Iron Skillet
Ready for some cast iron cooking? Cast iron is one tough, versatile vessel. Not just for meats, a cast iron skillet is good for caramelizing vegetables to perfection, and its dry, even heat makes sensational baked goods. Here's what makes cast iron cooking so good. Cast iron heats up quickly and cooks evenly, absorbing and retaining heat like no other surface foods brown and caramelize rather than sweat and stew. And it goes from stovetop to oven and back like a champ. Here are some of the best recipes to cook in your cast iron pans. And don't miss our complete collection of Cast Iron Skillet Recipes.
Which Ordinary Household Items Could Actually Stop a Bullet?
Don't believe the movies&mdashthat cast-iron skillet won't save you.
Which household items could stop an intruder&rsquos bullet?
We hope this is a strictly theoretical question&mdashor that you have plans to move to a better neighborhood shortly. Assuming the former (and, admittedly, there is a morbid entertainment value in fantasizing about extreme self-defense scenarios), the first thing we need to establish is what sort of bullet are we talking about here?
If an ISIS terrorist, say, were to drag an AK-47 or any rifle suitable for hunting man or beast through your unsecured doggie door, you&rsquod be pretty much out of luck. Rifle rounds travel with sufficient velocity to penetrate virtually anything you might put between you and them&mdashincluding many &ldquobullet-­proof&rdquo vests. The good news is that rifles of any sort are seldom used in crimes, and hard to fit through your doggie door. So let&rsquos say Mr. Bad Guy is packing a more realistic 9mm pistol, an extremely common weapon the world over.
Your first instinct might be to duck around a corner, run into another room, or maybe crouch behind your sofa. Not ideal. &ldquoBullets will go through your wall very easily, especially if it&rsquos just a piece of Sheetrock,&rdquo says Dr. Karl Chang, an applications development engineer at the DuPont Kevlar Ballistic Group. &ldquoThey will also go through most of the furniture in your house since there is not much substance there.&rdquo
Don Sherman, the ballistic lab manager at Wayne State University, helped us figure out some good (and not-so-good) things to hide behind: A refrigerator probably won&rsquot hold up, but a paper-filled filing cabinet or a full bookshelf might. A solid wood door is a safer bet than, say, your closet&rsquos sliding doors. If you can run to the bathroom, you might do well to hop in the tub, assuming it&rsquos a steel or cast-iron model. No need to strip down first&mdashthough that could help distract or, perhaps, frighten your assailant.
If you can&rsquot slip away, what can you grab in a pinch? For that, we enlisted the help of Dr. Cynthia Bir, a professor at the University of Southern California&rsquos Keck School of Medicine. Bir runs the Biomechanics Injury Research Lab, and was kind enough to oversee some live-fire testing for us. The ballistics-savvy among you will want to know that the items were shot with 124-grain 9mm full-metal-jacket ammunition from a distance of six feet. The rest of you will want to know that very few of them survived.
If you&rsquore confronted in your kitchen, don&rsquot reach for the cast-iron skillet. Surprisingly, that didn&rsquot stand up to the gunshot. However, if you can make your way to the laundry room, that 14-pound box of kitty litter could save your life, as long as you hold it so the bullet has to travel the long way through. A 1,000-plus-page textbook succumbed.
Food sticking to the surface of the pan.
Even if you’ve properly seasoned your cast iron pan, occasionally you’ll encounter food sticking to the surface. This can come about for any number of reasons, including a lack of fat used when cooking with the pan or cooking something with high sugar content. The way to remedy this is by scrubbing out all of the stuck or burnt bits with the rough side of a sponge and then re-season the pan itself.
Try this: Lodge 12 Inch Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet Pan, $24, walmart.com
How To Restore a Rusty Cast Iron Skillet
- Using steel wool or scrub pad, remove all the rust and gunk from the rusty pan. This is the only time you use a scouring pad!
- Wash the pan with water and dish soap then dry it immediately with paper towels.
- Now comes the reseasoning part. Coat the pan in a thin layer of vegetable oil, making sure to use a little amount on the bottom and handle.
- Place the old cast iron pan upside down with a foil-lined pan on the bottom rack to catch drippings. Heat for one hour.
- Turn off the heat, let the cast iron cool, then get to cooking!
The next time you consider using white vinegar, soapy water, or scouring pads, check out this handy cast iron skillet tool that works on models from Lodge to Cuisinart. The Ringer is a patented chainmail scrubber that makes cleaning your cast iron so easy.
I swear by it at home, and I have actually restored a thrift store cast iron skillet using the Ringer and the method in the video from Lodge above. Win-win!
How to Season Cast Iron Skillets
Seasoning a cast iron skillet has nothing to do with herbs and spices instead, it&aposs all about using oil to build up a nonstick surface and prevent rusting. While you should clean the skillet after each use, season it as often as you like by rubbing a small amount of cooking oil on the inside of the pan using a paper towel or dish cloth. Heat the skillet in a 350ଏ oven for one hour, which bonds the oil to the pan to create a natural nonstick surface. "The fat becomes carbon particles, which creates the naturally non-stick, or easy release. The more people cook with cast iron, the more oils are imparted onto the cookware. With the heat from cooking, they become carbon particles," says Mark Kelly of Lodge Cast Iron.