Category Archives: Country Wisdom

Caring for Cast Iron Cookware

How to Season Cast Iron Skillets and Cookware

You should always “season” your cast iron cookware before using for the first time.

  1. Wash your cast iron in warm sudsy water and rinse well.
  2. Make sure to dry the cast iron very well.
  3. Take a paper towel and coat the entire skillet or pan with lard. (inside and out) It is best not to use vegetable oil as that will make your cast iron sticky.
  4. Place in a preheated oven at 300° oven for one hour.
  5. Remove and wipe off any excess grease with a new paper towel.
  6. Put the pan back in the oven and bake for another hour.

Cleaning  & Using Cast Iron Cookware:

Never wash your cast iron in the dishwasher!

  • After cooking in your cast iron, rinse in warm water. You may use a small amount of soap but harsh scrubbing and detergents will remove the seasoning. If for any reason your food is sticking to the pan and you have to scrub or you have rust in your cookware, re-season your pan.
  • After you have rinsed the skillet or pan well, set on a hot burner for a minute to make sure all water is gone. Let cool on burner and store as usual.
  • After many uses, you cast iron skillet or pans will turn black. This is a good thing! This means you will now have a non-stick surface to cook in.

Tips About Cider Vinegar

Ten things I know about cider vinegar (you’ll be glad to know them, too):

1.Cider vinegar is made from the fermented juice of apples, diluted with water to a uniform strength of 5% acidity.

2.American farmers in the 18th and 19th centuries drank apple cider vinegar as a kind of Gatorade, for an energy boost. They would dilute it with fruit juice, and the “cocktail” was known as a switchel.

3.Although cider vinegar is quite inexpensive now, because of its versatility it was highly valued as a unit of currency in the 19th century, when it sold for three times the price of apple cider.

4. Artisanal vinegar is darker in color, but not always better in flavor, than supermarket cider vinegar. It is, however, always more expensive than the vinegar I buy in my local market.

5.The vinegar is fermented in a long process that generates a “mother”, a bacterial ooze that forms on the top of vinegar as it ferments. Commerial processing filters out the mother.

6.Some people love the ooze and believe the bacteria found in it aid in the treatment of a variety of ailments from A to Z. Can it cure acid reflux or athlete’s foot or zits? Maybe. Buy vinegar with its mother in health food stores.

7. Or, you can make cider vinegar at home, but don’t use it for canning; the acidity of homemade vinegars varies, and you need a reliably high acidity for safe food preservation. Use your homemade cider vinegar in salad dressings and to brighten up fruit-based sauces.

8.Cider vinegar adds a mildly tangy fruitiness to chili and apple cider vinegar pork, cider roasted vegetables, bacon jam, vegan blueberry muffins, easy pickled carrots, and Moroccan-style chicken and lentils.

9.Substitute rice vinegar (regular or seasoned) or brown rice vinegar for cider vinegar.

10.Unopened, cider vinegar will last on your pantry shelf forever. Opened bottles of vinegar will keep for six months or more.

Play Dough


  • 1 1/2 cups of water
  • 2 Tbs. of baby oil
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1/2 cup of salt
  • 4 Tbs. cream of tartar


1. In a double boiler over medium heat, mix together water and baby oil. (if you want color, now is the time to add your food coloring)

2. Slowly add the flour, salt and cream of tartar, stirring constantly for a smooth mixture.

3. Cook mixture for 5 minutes until it form a ball of dough.

4. Let the dough cool until slightly warm. Knead the play dough on waxed paper until it is smooth.

5. Store play-dough in the refrigerator in air tight containers or ziplock baggie when the kids are not playing with it.

This home made playdough will last for several months if kept refrigerated.