Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Is An Easy Cooking Choice

Lodge Dutch Oven

Dutch Ovens are the original slow cookers. Available at www.lehmans.com or Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio.

Did your holiday gifts include a cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven? Even if it’s pre-seasoned, it’s still good for you to know exactly what to do to take care of the finish, and how to renew it…just in case.

Here at Lehman’s we’re proud to sell USA-made Lodge Logic® cast-iron cookware. It’s hugely popular because it’s pre-seasoned. This means a vegetable oil coating is applied at the factory, and baked into the cookware. Cast iron, like any iron, has small pores, and the vegetable oil keeps the iron safe from rust. With a light rinse in the sink in hot water, a towel dry and an thin coat of oil rubbed in, this pre-seasoned cookware is ready to use right out of the box. Read more here.

Black resin tools for cleaning

The best tool for cleaning cast iron! At Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio, or at Lehmans.com

Cleaning Cast Iron Cookware
Always hand wash your cast iron cookware. Never put it in the dishwasher.

Usually, hot water and a clean dishcloth is all you need to clean a cast iron pan.

Use hot water and a tool like our Skrapr® to remove any cooked-on food. The Skrapr® is strong enough to get the gunk off, but is kind to the seasoned finish.

Dry your cast iron thoroughly, inside and out, with a fresh, dry towel if at all possible.

10 to a pack! Flour Sack Towels are available at Lehman's in Kidron or Lehmans.com.

10 to a pack! Flour Sack Towels are available at Lehman’s in Kidron or Lehmans.com.

Then, put a small amount of vegetable oil on a paper towel, and rub into the pan. You want enough oil to bring back the pan’s shine without being sticky.

On the inside of the pan, this will keep the seasoning in good shape, and on the outside of the pan, it’ll keep rust away.

If you need to stack your pans, do it carefully, so the layered pans don’t chip into each other’s seasoning. You can put a paper towel or paper basket-style coffee filter in between for protection. Dishtowels will soak up any oil that’s present, and that may damage the seasoning. The paper items can be reused.

Rings of stainless steel for cast iron pans.

Just rub the Chain Mail Scrubber over the pan, with hot water, and you’re done! At Lehmans.com or at Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio.

What happens if the seasoning breaks?
Sure, it can happen. And it’s easy to fix. First, wash the piece you want to re-season with hot, soapy water, and stiff brush so it’s completely clean. You may hit bare iron, so be prepared. Because you’re going to rework the piece, using soap is OK–even our friends at Lodge agree. Don’t have a stiff brush? Get medieval on that pan: try our new Chain Mail Scrubber and hot water to get the pan spanking clean.

Using a fresh, dry dishtowel, make sure that the pan is completely dry. Then, apply vegetable oil. You want the oil layer to be very thin and even, because you’re going to bake it in.

Line lowest rack of the oven: Lodge recommends using aluminum foil; you can use a non-stick mat like ours too, but you’ll need to clean any oily drips off it when you’re done.

Once the oven’s lined, Lodge recommends baking the cookware bottom side up (in other words, with the cooking surface facing the oven rack) in a 350° to 400° oven. Minimum recommended baking time is an hour, but leaving it in longer won’t hurt anything. Old-timers insist you should “cook” your cast iron up to four hours, or even overnight.

Once your baking time is finished, turn the oven off, and don’t open the oven door! Leave the cookware in the oven to cool naturally.

If the cookware isn’t quite as seasoned as you’d like, you can repeat the oiling and baking until you’re happy with the new finish.

VIDEOS
Here, you can see our country living expert Karen Gieser use a Skrapr® on a cast-iron pan. See how easy it is to use.

From our friends at Lodge, a good way way to clean cast iron:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-WQtTQ_jdE

The Coming Storm

Metal and plastic lantern bird feeder, red

Made from real lanterns (the globe is hard plastic), these charmers light up the yard! At Lehman’s in Kidron and at Lehmans.com.

Even without the relentless warnings I would know a storm was coming. The air is damp and heavy. The sun peeks out from time-to-time but the light is weak and watery as though it isn’t willing to try too hard.

Birds are scuttling about, filling up on the seed from the feeders, while the squirrels haul off the last of the acorns.

I’m preparing too. Wood will be carried in from the outside pile and one final load of laundry washed. I will check the fuel levels in the hurricane lamps and make sure to have a box of matches at the ready. We run off grid as well as on grid, so a storm poses no hardship. I will confess however that, as a Nor’easter barrels up the coast, I am mighty glad not to live in Buffalo. Continue reading

Quick, Classic Treats for New Year’s Parties

You’ve been invited to an impromptu New Year’s party/potluck. What do you take? Check out these three fast, easy and fun ideas.

Savory and sweet popcorn seasonings from Lehmans.com

Five different popcorn seasonings are available at Lehman’s in Kidron and Lehmans.com.

Savory Popcorn
Consider spicing up your popcorn with some savory flavors! All you need are our true-tasting popcorn seasonings. Choose from Zesty Cheddar, Buttery Jalapeno, or White Cheddar (we have Caramel and Movie Theatre Butter too). Pop your corn, toss with the seasonings while hot, and serve. Be ready with our Stainless Steel Popcorn Popper to make more. You won’t believe how fast the popcorn will disappear! Freshly popped corn makes a great change from typical party snack of salty, greasy chips. Continue reading

Let’s Hear Those Sleigh Bells Jingling!

Authentic Solid Brass Sleigh Bells

Handmade, with a full, rich tone, these brass bells on a leather harness strap are available from Lehman’s in Kidron and at Lehmans.com.

I always wanted to have a horse and cart. The idea quietly thrilled me. Whenever I would catch a driver and his trusty mare in a movie or documentary part of me felt a tiny ache. It seemed like the perfect pace to take part in the world. Slower than a car, faster and gentler than a country stroll, and unlike seeing the world on horseback you could bring along a few friends and pack a picnic lunch as well. What could be a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon in pleasant (or even snowy) weather? Only two problems with this dream. First, I didn’t own a horse or cart. And secondly, I had no idea how to drive a horse and cart. This does not a teamster make… 

So I let this dream sit on the shelf in a tiny box I knew I couldn’t open. Horses and carts were for movie extras and county parades, not for everyday people. I had a station wagon that smelled like wet dogs and the idea of someday parking a horse cart next to it in the driveway seemed as realistic as a space shuttle. 

Continue reading

White Christmas Pie

We're so excited to share this family recipe that many of our co-workers know.

We’re so excited to share this family recipe that many of our co-workers know.

This recipe comes to us from Elaine, part of our merchandising team. It’s a family recipe requested by one of our FB readers, Charlotte, who remembers it being served in a local cafe that one of Elaine’s relatives used to own. The recipe below is for a 9-inch pie shell, and at the end of this entry, you’ll see the conversions for an 8-inch pie shell. Like many of our Amish Country pies, it’s full of creamy goodness! Continue reading

Youthview: Giving Back At the Holidays

Allison Ervin, Youthview blogger, and granddaughter of Lehman's founder, Jay Lehman.

Allison Ervin, Youthview blogger, and granddaughter of Lehman’s founder, Jay Lehman.

The holidays are a time for giving back, and there are tons of fun and creative ways to be generous during the Christmas season.

It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to make someone’s Christmas a lot better. My family and I like to fill a shoe box with things that we think kids would like, and then wrap it up in cute wrapping paper and donate it.

With all the sweets we enjoy over the season, it’s easy to forget that some folks may be going hungry. Volunteering at a local soup kitchen is very rewarding. Bringing homemade cookies or any baked good to a local nursing home will make everyone: you and the residents and staff, smile.

Continue reading

There’s Still Time! May We Suggest…

Yes, it's our catalog cover. And it's true: there's still time!

Yes, it’s our catalog cover. And it’s true: there’s still time!

Haven’t quite gotten all the Christmas shopping done yet? Don’t worry: there’s still time to beat Santa to the punch!

Lehman’s last day to order for standard (less expensive!) ground shipping is December 18 at noon. And if you still aren’t quite ready, you can order as late as noon on December 23, add the fee for expedited shipping and rest assured that your gift will arrive on time.

Visit Lehmans.com for your last-minute shopping!

Torte-Style Cakes Made Easy With Layer Cake Slicer

Non-stick steel and aluminum cake slicing set.

The Layer Cake Slicer makes it easy to do fancy torte-style cakes. At Lehman’s in Kidron, or at Lehmans.com.

I’ve made a lot of cakes in my time. When I was 9, my homemade, iced chocolate cake took top honors in my cousin’s Girl Scout baking contest. (My cousin says she’s not a baker.) From the time I was young, I helped Mom make and ice wedding cakes, birthday cakes, cakes for every occasion. And the hardest thing to do was to make torte cakes. They were frustrating, and never were as pretty as I wanted them to be.

But now, I can do it easily with the new Layer Cake Slicer!

Continue reading

Real Mince Pies Recipe – Straight from England

My younger sister spent a year of her college career as an exchange student to Leeds, England. There she learned many life lessons, including how to make these mini pies, which are now a Christmas tradition in her household (and which I am lucky enough to devour when we visit her). You can find lots of mince pies recipes online; however, most cheat and use either store-bought pastry or filling, or both. This recipe is the real deal, complete with British terminology, which we’ve translated for you in italics. This is at least a one-day process. Like all things authentic, it can’t be rushed. Enjoy making homemade mince pies … and then enjoy eating them even more!

Traditional Homemade British Mince Piesshoulder bowl set

Mince (Consider making ½ this recipe–they are SO rich!)

225g/8oz vegetarian suet (or smaller amount of Crisco)

225g/8oz apples, peeled, cored and chopped

125g/4oz candied peel, chopped or orange peel

225g/8oz white raisins

225g/8oz regular raisins

225g/8oz currants

175g/6oz natural sugar

1 tsp mixed/allspice

1 orange, zest and juice

60ml/2-4fl oz brandy

Mix all ingredients in large mixing bowl until well-combined. When you have the mince mixture finished, chill at least 24 hours before assembling the pies. You can also can the mice filling, following instructions for canning low-acid fruits or pie fillings.

Pastry (My sister doubles this, typically, for the mince recipe above.)

The classic flour sifter: available in stainless steel too, at Lehmans.com and Lehman's in Kidron, OH.

The classic flour sifter: in stainless steel, at Lehmans.com and Lehman’s in Kidron, OH.

200g/7oz plain flour, sifted

40g/1½oz natural sugar

75g/2¾oz ground almonds

125g/4½oz unsalted butter, diced

1 large free-range egg, beaten

Rub the butter into the dry ingredients by hand, 1-2 dices at a time. When the butter is worked in, gently stir in the egg.

Bring the mixture together with your hands, wrap in clingfilm (plastic wrap) and chill for an hour or so. It’s more like a shortbread type crust than a typical American pie crust. You can also swap in your favorite pie crust recipe.

Glaze
1/4 cup milk

Assemble the pies
Before building the pies, take the mince out of the refrigerator, and stir to even distribute any liquid in the mixture. If using canned mince, open can, put into a bowl and stir.

My sister uses a mini-cupcake pan for her mince pies, because made in standard muffin pans, the pies do get large! It’s important that you know the pan heats evenly, like the recycled steel Muffin Pan at Lehman’s, should you use a larger pan.

Preheat the oven to 400° (UK Gas 6).

Donut and Biscuit Cutter at Lehmans.com

When cutting dough circles, a Donut and Biscuit Cutter can be helpful. At Lehman’s in Kidron, and Lehmans.com.

1. Remove chilled pastry from refrigerator.Roll out the pastry to a uniform thinness (approximately 1/4″) on a well-floured surface. As dough warms, it will become difficult to handle. Chill again if needed.

2. Cut large and small rounds of pastry. Large rounds must be big enough to line the pan wells, level with the tops of the wells, as they will become the bottom crust for the mince pies. Smaller rounds will top the pies.

3. Place mince onto the bottom crust, leaving margins for sealing.

4. Top with the smaller piece. Press the edges of the pastry pieces together to seal.

5. Make a small slit in the top of each pie, then brush lightly with milk.

Nonstick Oven Liner at Lehmans.com

A Nonstick Oven Liner from makes holiday baking so much easier. At Lehman’s in KIdron or at Lehmans.com.

Because the crust has so much butter in it, it can bubble over the pan. You may want to line your oven with something like Lehman’s Nonstick Oven Liner. My sister says it can get a bit messy during baking, so she always lines the oven.

Bake the pies for 20-ish minutes or until golden brown. Cool 5 minutes in pan, then remove to wire rack. Serve warm.

Want to compare? My sister suggests this link for a reference. She’s used it when needed and liked it.