Eradicating Rust on Cast Iron: Advice from a Reader

Glover Gardens readers are great sources! Earlier this week, you may have seen the story from one of them, Epic Seafood Boil Memories from Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, and now I have for you the definitive way to get pesky rust off of that kitchen stalwart, the cast iron skillet.

rusty-cast-iron-pan
image from Bon Appetit

I posted about this before in From Bon Appétit: How to Remove Rust From a Cast-Iron Pan. But a better way came in on the comments in that post:

An old Southern way that musical miss’ mom taught us… Wash the pan. Scrub with half of a potato and some kind of rock salt. Rust usually comes off the first go around. Then season. Twice. Since we use ours a lot we store it on one burner of the stove. The more that you use it the more the season cures and builds.

Thanks for the tip! I didn’t think I’d have the occasion to use it, thought, because I was committed to taking better care of our cast iron collection. But somehow, some way, some water got into this skillet and sat for a spell, and don’t you know that rust came back like it was invited to a family picnic.

Rusty Cast Iron Skillet

I gave the potato-salt method a try. I missed the fine details about using rock salt and plunged into the project with Morton’s fine-grained stuff and the halved potato.

Salt and a Potato Clean Cast Iron

Scrubbing with a potato was a new experience. The rust and salt made an abrasive paste, just as my reader had said in a follow-on comment:

Apparently, the starch in the potato mixes with the salt and becomes a good cleaning agent.

Salty Rusty Paste

The finished product. Clean, rust-free, re-seasoned and all ready for our next batch of blackened tilapia.

Reseasoned Cast Iron!

What will I learn and love from Glover Gardens readers next?

© 2018, Glover Gardens

 

One thought on “Eradicating Rust on Cast Iron: Advice from a Reader

  1. You didn’t manage to get water in the pan. Often times, cast iron skillets sort of collect moisture in the air where it was stored, especially if air conditioning couldn’t dry out normally humid air… as in a closed cabinet.

    Signed — Your Reader.

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