Thursday, October 1, 2009

Cast Iron Pan Cleaned

Who knew?

Who knew this pan would increase in size after being cleaned? Nah. I read somewhere that pans are measured across the bottom, so this is what I was using when I said it was a 9" pan. Then I checked some pans that I have which have the size on them. They were measured across the top, so now this is what I did, and thus, my pan increased to 10 1/4 ". Yay--much more useful this way.

I went to many sites looking for the best way to clean the pan. (Check the previous blog to see what it looked like when purchased).

Several places said to just put it in the oven when using the self-cleaning function. Somehow I just couldn't bring myself to do that! Not that pans have feelings, but that is a high heat and I know what it can do to pans. Another reason is that they said that the smoke coming from the oven would be just awful.

I tried all the other suggestions first. I put spray oven cleaner on it and put it in a plastic bag for two days; I used sandpaper; I used the coarsest steel wool; I scrubbed, hard, with a mixture of oil and coarse salt; I even tried a razor blade.

Time to pull out the big guns. There was a suggestion of just throwing it in the fireplace. Now I knew that that would smoke something awful. The only thing left, short of sandblasting it, was the self-cleaning cycle. Suggestions were from 1 1/2 hours to 3 hours. I settled for just under two; if I were to do it again, I would set it for slightly longer. By the way, there was very little smoke.

It took about 5 hours after the cleaning process began before the pan was merely warm. It was white with ash. (sorry, I forgot to photo that). I washed it as suggested, then oiled, heated it to 300 degrees for one hour. I repeated this twice. Thus it was an all-day affair.

There was quite a bit of rust, which I thought I had taken care of initially. Apparently there were layers of rust, crud, rust, crud. I had to take care of the rust again, which is the easy part.

I am quite happy with the results. It looks like a new pan. In doing a search for Griswold Cast Iron Pans, going by the marks and name on the bottom, it was made somewhere between 1937-1957.

The company shut down in 1959. The war effort hurt them during the early 40s. Then there was a demand for "pretty, bright colored pots and pans" and the sales went down. This is too bad. Wagner, a competitor did buy them out. They are supposed to be resuming production.

Next step: cook something in this pan, which I hope to do this week.