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kookie

Cast Iron Skillet

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My grandmother gave me one of the skillets that she's cooked on for fifty years. It's the small one that she taught me to cook on and has a lot of sentimental value. So has anyone had any luck cleaning a skillet? I was thinking that I would remove the seasoning, then burn the interior over a camp fire to get anything in grooves. What do you guys think?

Thanks for your input.

Kookie

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I wouldn't, and didn't. My old cast iron pan didn't have the sentimental value that yours did, but I would still not risk getting contaminated.

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Do you have a self cleaning oven? If so, you can put the skillet in the oven during the clean cycle. When you take it out, clean off the ash and reseason it and the pan should be fine for you to use. It is so nice to have such a treasure from your grandmother :)

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Remove the seasoning as best you can, a wirebrush on a drill works wonders.

Then you need to use oven cleaner (Caustic soda, NaOH or KOH) both of which are quite bad to breath in... (or get on your skin)

They are bad for you because they will break down anything organic ... even some of the most stubborn molecules like gluten. In low concentrations they actually separate gluten from starch but leave them long enough and at a decent temp in the oven and ... well they will get rid of it.

A similar treatment (lime, Ca(OH)2) is traditionally used on corn meal.

When early Europeans started eating corn they suffered a variety of nutritional diseases. This is because the lime (a weaker alkalai than sodium hydroxide (caustic soda) breaks down the protein increasing availability of lysene and niacin amongst others.

Wear gloves and avoid breathing the vapor but this should effectively remove all trace of gluten of done long enough.

Reseason the skillet

General warning: DO NOT TRY THIS ON A ALUMINUM PAN!

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I recommend the self cean cycle in the oven. It blasts everything to dust. Does a very good job and you skillet will look brand new. No need for nasty chemical cleaners that weren't meant for food prep surfaces. You'll need to do alot of rinsing afterwards and re-season and dedicate to gluten-free.

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Wow, thanks for the great tips. I didn't even think about the self cleaning feature on the oven. Last night I was thinking of taking it to the local art commune and asking them to run it through their kiln. Carbonize all those nasty glutens. I'll let you know how it turns out, (probably after Christmas though).

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I also would go for the self-cleaning oven method. I love cooking with cast iron, and several years ago purchased a cast iron dutch oven. I made beef stew with it, and got sick. Had no idea what caused the problem. Stupid me, it was a pre-seasoned pot....seasoned with vegetable oil. I'm very allergic to soy, and I figure the company that manufactured the pot used a soy based oil. I have a self cleaning oven, but have not scrubbed the pot and put it in the oven yet. Cooler weather has now wheted my appetite for minestrone soup or beef stew, so I will give it a try. I like the idea of being able to use a firing kiln....

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Gluten breaks down at a temperature somewhat over 600F. (Denatures the protein - it's a strong little bugger.) I forget the exact temperature. I presume that self-cleaning cycles get hotter than that (I've never used one), but you might double check. (And if it's over, feel fairly confident about the process.)

Good luck!

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