More about caring for your Dutch oven

A few days ago I wrote a post on how to clean your Dutch oven.  In this post you will find some further tips on how to properly care for your enamel cast iron Dutch oven.

In the past cast iron was a very popular material for making cookware. Today stainless steel is more popular, while cast iron is mostly used for making Dutch ovens (or if you prefer-French ovens).

Cast iron is a great material for cookware. It’s solid, durable and has excellent heat retention and diffusion properties. Cast iron doesn’t heat up as quickly as some other types of cookware but, on the other hand, it does retain heat very well (in my experience even for 1 hour). This is why cast iron is especially good for Dutch ovens where slow cooking is required.

Here are some tips that will ensure the best performance of your Dutch ovens:

- When cooking use a low to medium heat setting. This will ensure you the best cooking results, even if you are searing and frying.  As we already have mentioned,  Dutch ovens are ideal for preparing recipes that require slow cooking and therefore you will use lower cooking temperatures.  You can use high heat settings for boiling water and for reducing sauces.

- If you are cooking on a stove top, match the size of your Dutch oven’s base to the heat  zone. In this way you will maximize energy efficiency as well as ensure proper heat dispersion (and perhaps save on your energy bill).

Avoid using metal utensils for cooking with your Dutch oven because you could damage the surface of the cooking vessel. It’s better to use utensils that are made from wood, silicon and heat-resistant plastic.

- Although Dutch ovens are made of durable enamel cast iron, they can still be damaged when dropped on a hard surface. Remember once the enamel is cracked you have to replace your Dutch oven.

Remember, the enamel Dutch ovens (like Staub and Le Creuset) don’t have to be seasoned. Although, they are not non-stick, over time the cooking oil will seep into the pores of the pot, making it a self-seasoned and non stick cooking surface.


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