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What I Learned from an Old Cast Iron Pan

In a recent Free Lance-Star column, I shared what I learned about caring for my soul from an old cast iron pan.

You can read that Saying Grace column here.

I love how God can use seemingly mundane things to teach us profound lessons. All we need to do is approach life with an open heart and mind.

As a lover of all things vintage, I decided to give cast iron cookware a try. As I shared in my column, there was definitely a learning curve. But I will never purchase another non-stick pan, as you just cannot beat a well-seasoned cast iron skillet.

Do you have an old cast iron pan that you’re not sure how to care for? Looking to eliminate your non-stick cookware and the chemicals they spew into your home?

Here are a few tips that I have learned:

  1. If your pan has lost its seasoning or is covered in gunk and rust, it’s time to start over. The best way to do this is to run it through your oven’s self-clean cycle.
  2. Once you are down to the bare surface, it is time to season your pan. You can use any vegetable oil for this process, but flaxseed oil will give you the most durable coating.
  3. Using a paper towel, rub your pan down with a small amount of oil. Use a second paper towel to remove the excess. This will prevent your pan from developing a sticky surface.
  4. Place your pan upside down in a 350-degree oven (500-degrees if using flaxseed oil) for one hour.
  5. Let your pan cool in your oven for 30 minutes before removing. Be very careful as the handle will be hot.
  6. Repeat steps 3-5 five more times. Your pan will develop a beautiful, shiny, satin-like surface.

Once your pan is seasoned, follow these steps to keep it in tip top shape.

  1. Always coat your pan with a small amount of oil and preheat before use.
  2. When finished cooking, allow your pan to cool slightly before rinsing with hot water. Never use soap or harsh abrasives on your pan. It will remove the seasoning.
  3. Water is your pan’s enemy, so it is important to make sure it is dry before storing. Put your pan back on the burner over medium heat to remove any moisture.
  4. Once it is dry, coat the pan with a thin layer of oil and allow it to sit over the heat for a few minutes before turning the burner off and allowing it to cool completely.
  5. Place a paper towel between pans when nesting them for storage.

All of the above may seem like a lot of hard work for a piece of cookware, especially in our have-everything-done-fast-microwave-society. But most good things in life, the things that bring the most rewards, take time to cultivate.

I would love to hear from you? Do you have a favorite cast iron pan passed down from grandma? Any tips and tricks for using cast iron that I missed? Has God ever used something seemingly insignificant to teach you a profound spiritual lesson?

PS – I am currently scheduling engagements for 2019. I would love to chat with you about the possibility of speaking at your church or ministry event. Use the form linked above to start the conversation. I look forward to hearing from you!

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