vintage cast iron cookware, how to tell if it's been painted
Joined: Aug 04, 2009
I just received a Griswold Dutch Oven that I purchased on E-Bay. It has a funny looking chocolate brown coating on the bottom and up the majority of the inside, but not quite to the top. When I was bidding on it I noticed the color in the pictures and asked if it had been painted at some point and the seller said it hadn’t.
It was also very sticky so it when ahead and washed it a little. I’m nervous about cooking with it if it has been painted. When I wipe it brown comes off on the paper towel. Can you give me some tips on how to tell for sure…or could this be something else that’s something other than paint?
Joined: Nov 09, 2008
Location: Missoula, MT
Hi and welcome to the forums!
It's probably rust and/or other build up. I recently bought two vintage Griswolds and stripped them by using my self-cleaning oven cycle, re-seasoned them, and they are the best pans ever! (Not exaggerating!)
If you go to Paul Wheaton's cast iron article, and scroll down to the section called "Removing the Seasoning Layer," that will walk you through the oven cleaning steps. (Steps like, take out your racks and use a fireplace brick, etc.)
See Leah's before and after photos of the Dutch oven she put through her oven cleaning cycle on the fourth page of the main cast iron pan thread. After my pans went through the cycle, I didn't have to use steel wool at all - everything had turned to dust and was easy to brush / wash off. You just have to oil it immediately after it is cooled and cleaned, because just the moisture in the air will begin the rusting all over again.
There are lots of really good tips in that other cast iron thread--about oils, eggs, spatulas and more.
Thanks for the feedback. I also e-mailed the Panman and he felt it wasn't paint and suggested some cleaning methods. Some collectors of vintage cookware say not to use the self cleaning cycle as the intense heat can crack/damage the pan. I have another small Griswold skillet and I just love it! I never got that excited about cooking in cast iron until my new romance with Griswold. It's like glass.
Go the cookbook...cast iron Cooking for Dummies and am eager to try out some receipes.
pdineh wrote: Some collectors of vintage cookware say not to use the self cleaning cycle as the intense heat can crack/damage the pan.
It thought it worked great! but my dutch oven wasn't really really used. I have seen some pans that look worn thin and I would hesitate to but them through the cleaning cycle in teh oven. I think that is just a judgment call when looking at what you have in front of you.