Thursday, December 10, 2009

Collect Cast Iron Cookware

A cast iron skillet might be collectible, or it might just be handy in the kitchen.

If you like to cook with or collect cast iron cookware, you'll find plenty to choose from. Two names to collect are Griswold (those made before 1940) and Le Creuset (known for its bright enamel finish). But households have always needed basic kitchenware, and cast iron is sturdy and long-lasting. So whether you're seeking a skillet, a griddle or a corncob-shaped muffin pan, it won't elude you for too long.


1. Check price guides before you shop. This will help you spot the bargains.

Then start looking. Try garage sales out in the country. Sometimes grandchildren inherit cookware, but don't collect or care to keep it.

2. Next, try estate sales and auctions. If an auction doesn't list its items, call and ask whether it has any cast iron.

3. Check and recheck thrift and resale shops. Once they get to know you, they may call and let you know what they have. Woks, dutch ovens, corn muffin pans, flat grills, bean pots, frying pans, lids, deep fryers, sauce pots, spoon holders -- you never know what may pop up.

4. When you see something you like, flip it over and look on the bottom. If it has a name, that will give you a clue to its origins. If it's heavy and thick, that's also promising. Stay away from the thin stuff.

5. Don't let dust or rust change your mind. You may find these at a bargin and be able to clean them up. Use an air tool with a wire brush attachment and get after it. Then cure it to prevent oxidation.

Look out for deep pitting and big flakes. These may be getting too thin. If you want them for decorations, though, you can paint them.

6. Let your family and friends know that you collect vintage cast iron. They will keep an eye out for you, then let you know or purchase it for you. You might get them as gifts.

Tags: cast iron, cast iron, know what