My girlfriend’s sister’s girlfriend has had these two cast iron Dutch ovens — magnificent Dutch ovens, to boot — for well over 10 years (as well as two sauce pans). Since my girlfriend and I have only been together less than 3.5 years, however, I don’t know much more about these Dutch ovens other than the fact that they have been neglected and stored outside for, at the very least, a year — and in the ten years she has owned these cast iron Dutch ovens, she has not been noted to have used them once. Over the past 6 years my inquiry about them fell by the wayside several times until finally, just yesterday (4-27-2014) I was allowed to bring them home!
How lucky I was to have been eyeballing them yesterday when she was in a good mood, too! It appeared that a black widow had made a home in one of the sauce pans, but since those two sauce pans don’t even have handles I decided to leave those alone. At some point I may come back for them, but my primary purpose now is to restore these two magnificent Dutch ovens to their original luster. But, how rusted they have become — woeful. The entirety of the 3 years of their known existence by me have been spent outside in the open elements. I took to applying some salt and vinegar to some steel wool, but that didn’t really work. I think it’s time to call in the big guns here.
My intention, sometimes considered a last resort by some, is to allow the pans to soak overnight in some ammonia. There are very many multiple methods of cleaning cast iron, but the advanced stages of rust are forcing me to take some heavy-handed action. Sure, salt and vinegar work just fine on new, lightly rusted spots. The rust on these pans (pots?) is all around the entire surface. I attempted to clean a lid last night to no avail.
My reason for posting this, though, is that I’m EXTREMELY happy that I was able to obtain these two Dutch ovens for myself. Normally, one might have to search for yard sales, flea markets, and eBay for excellent deals on cast iron. The Lodge cast iron Dutch oven alone, brand new, is more than $50 (http://www.crateandbarrel.com/lodge-cast-iron-dutch-oven/s171867?a=1552&device=c&network=g&matchtype=&gclid=CIacz5uQg74CFU5afgodInoADw)I’m not sure what brand the other one is, but it’s larger so I assume I obtained well over $100 worth of cast iron for absolutely no cost to me — I just have to take the time to remove the rust and restore their luster. No big deal to me!
Anyhow, I must keep this post short. My point is this — some cast iron is left by the wayside. With a little persuasion they can be yours for a VERY little amount of money, or putting the work in to restore and season something that you may use for the rest of your life, your kids’ lives, and perhaps a couple more generations beyond that!