In this cold season I’ve been using my Dutch oven more than ever. So, I’m very inspired to write about Dutch oven topics. Today, we are taking a break from recipes and we are going to talk about caring for you cast iron Dutch ovens.
While having a lot of great qualities, cast iron cookware is not easy to maintain, especially if we are talking about bare cast iron cookware that has to be seasoned regularly. Furthermore, bare cast iron can rust if you don’t take care of it properly and you must be very careful when washing it.
That’s why they have invented enameled cast iron. Enameled cast iron is cast iron with a vitreous enamel glaze coating that prevents rusting, allows thorough washing and eliminates seasoning.
I use Dutch ovens that are made with enameled cast iron so I’m going to write a few thing about caring for an enamel cast iron pot.
Here are some basic tips:
• Hand wash your Dutch oven. Although most enameled Dutch ovens are dishwasher safe it’s still recommended to wash it by hand with minimal soap and warm water. Why is that? Well, the repeated use of the dishwasher may damage your Dutch oven causing the dulling of the enamel finish. So, once in a while you can use your dishwasher, don’t do it very often. After all, it takes just a minute to wash it by hand!
• Make sure that before you begin washing it, your Dutch oven has cooled down because the contact between the hot pan and the cold water will cause thermal shock and crack the enamel. Once your enamel has cracked, you will have to replace your Dutch oven.
• When washing it don’t use metallic pads and abrasive cleaners. Even though enamel cast iron can withstand more thorough washing than bare cast iron, do not exaggerate. Abrasive cleaners and metal pads will damage the enamel, so use sponges and brushes. If, after you have finished cooking, there are some food residues left, fill the vessel with warm water and then leave it to soak for 15 to 20 minutes. After that, wash it in the usual way.
• After you’re done with the washing, dry thoroughly your Dutch oven. You can use a cotton or paper towel to wipe the excessive water or moisture. Don’t drain dry or store away while damp. Store your Dutch oven in a dry and clean location with the lid off or ajar to ensure air circulation.
Follow the above and your Dutch oven will last for years and years. High quality enamel Dutch ovens are not quite cheap, so taking care of one in a proper will ensure its durability.