I have a cast iron mortar and pestle, but only the interior is raw cast iron - the outside and part of the handle are enameled, and the majority of the handle is covered in some kind of hard rubber. Is there a way to season something like this, maybe at a lower temperature for a long period of time?

If not, what's the best way to care for this and keep it from rusting? If I just wipe it with oil after using it, it gets gunky pretty quickly.

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Bonus question: any idea who made this? It has no brand identifier on it, and I bought it years ago.

  • 1
    Curious, why would you season a mortar and pestle ?
    – Max
    Jan 26, 2020 at 21:57
  • It's been in storage for a while and developed some rust spots. I want to keep that from happening again.
    – fields
    Jan 27, 2020 at 1:18
  • Follow-up question: why on earth would anyone make a mortar & pestle out of cast iron? It seems like the worst possible material. Suggest that you deal with this by replacing the M&P with one made from more standard stone or ceramic.
    – FuzzyChef
    Jan 28, 2020 at 1:07
  • 1
    A better solution would be to clear the rust off and then ensure it doesn't rust again, by cleaning by hand and drying immediately after use, and keeping in a dry place. I've certainly never heard of seasoning a mortar and pestle, and would worry that a coating of oil would affect its operation.
    – Stuart F
    Jan 28, 2020 at 13:56

2 Answers 2


Le Creuset say 450°F/230°C is the maximum temperature their enamelled cast-ironware will take. Other manufacturers seem to be sometimes lower, though that could be a handle/lid requirement rather than the enamel itself - see Why are most enameled cast iron dutch oven's only rated up to 400-450 F?

Your problem, assuming you season the mortar with a low-smoke-point oil is that your pestle is going to have to be carefully done over a flame. That handle is not going to survive in the oven. If it's silicone, then about 180°C is about all it can take… that's if you're certain it's silicone.

I'm gonna have to edit that apostrophe out of the linked question, it's burning a hole in my OCD ;)


My grandmother and I had a similar cast iron mortar and pestle. She used to use paraffin wax to preserve it if she wasn't going to use it for long times.

I'd suggest using food grade paraffin oil or wax.

I am not sure if this is the best method, but it seemed alright when she did it.

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