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I just started using a cast iron that I got from a friend (I don't believe it has ever been cleaned/seasoned/any special treatment). So far, everything I've cooked in it (steak, fish) has come out really good, even though the typical traits of a good cast iron are definitely not there (rust, uneven surface, no shine, etc.) In what ways would food cooked in a well kept cast iron differ from a poorly kept one?

  • Good cast iron, when well cared for, doesn't have rust or an uneven surface, even when not 'seasoned'. Those traits would be typical of cast iron that has not been well cared for. – Cindy Aug 16 at 19:23
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I would say that rust, an uneven surface, and no shine are the traits of cast iron that has not been cared for. It sounds like you are using a seasoned cast iron pan. You do need to maintain it, or it will not stay that way. (There are lots of questions and answers on the site about cast iron. Just use the search bar.) The benefit of cast iron is heat retention, and the even conduction of heat. A well-maintained pan will also develop a virtually non-stick surface. In addition to having to deal with rust, a poorly maintained pan would lead to more sticking.

  • I might have confused myself with my wording, but yes, the cast iron has not been cared for. What indicators are there that the cast iron is seasoned? And so the main benefit of a well maintained pan is nonstick (which is pretty cool and something I did not know about)? – cfire19045 Aug 16 at 17:44
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    Seasoned and well cared for are not synonymous. I have well worn cast iron that cooks beautifully and it has never been seasoned. It has, however, been well cared for. – Cindy Aug 16 at 17:58

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