You Got Yourself a Dutch Oven- Do You Know how to Take Care of It?
Dutch ovens are great on so many levels so you should never ever sit on the fence about whether you should get one or not.
Getting and using a Dutch oven is one thing, taking care of it is another so scroll down for the tips to remember!
How to clean your Dutch oven ?
Cleaning your Dutch oven isn’t complicated, but you do need to do it properly in order to preserve its properties and performance.
Here are the steps to take:
- Remove all large pieces of food that are left, wiping out all the loose particles
- Pour some hot water into the oven without using any soap.
- Use a plastic scrub/stiff nylon brush for cleaning the stuck-on bits. You should never use scrapers or cleaning tools that are made of metal as they’re going to damage the oven’s finish and even gouge the Dutch oven
- Use a cleaning cloth and wipe out the oven. Rinse it and let it dry.
- In case of some particles don’t come off, use a salt paste for cleaning. Add some hot water over several tablespoons of salt and make a paste.
- Scrub the stuck on bits with a half of a potato or a plastic scrubber. The salt is going to remove the grime without damaging your Dutch oven in any way.
Why is oiling so important?
In order to maintain your oven’s non-stick surface and to reduce the risk for rusting, you need to oil the Dutch oven.
- You should heat the oven for opening the pores of the metal (don’t get it too hot).
- Use vegetable oil (olive oil may work great) for wiping the oven inside. Don’t overdo it as you’re only aiming for some coating.
- Put several pieces of cardboard/ roll up tin foil between the oven and lid, letting the air circulate. This step is going to reduce the risk for rusting.
Place your Dutch oven in its storage container. Do you have one? Do you know how to store your Dutch oven?
How to store a Dutch oven?
Even some are going to find it really intuitive, some rules apply in the case of Dutch oven so scroll down for our storage tips:
- You need to make sure that your Dutch oven is seasoned before you store it. You need to do the seasoning immediately after cleaning. Play it safe and check it before storing, especially if it’s not you that cleaned the oven
- You should never store a wet Dutch oven as it’s going to rust a lot faster
- You don’t want your Dutch oven to be over-oiled. It only needs a thin coating of oil in the bottom. Too much oil is going to turn rancid and give a bad taste to your Dutch oven.
- Never store your Dutch oven if it’s dirty. It’s going to rust and even grow mold. Are you ready to clean all that later on?
- It’s best that you store it in a dry and clean area.
- Store the Dutch oven in a cupboard, box or bag so that it’s well protected
- It’s better that you store it with the lid ajar, helping the air to circulate. Use some pieces of cardboard for propping the lid, rolling up paper towels or some foil. This is also going to reduce the risk for rusting.
- Use a perforated baggie of dry raw rice before putting the Dutch oven away. The rice is going to soak in moisture and…keep rust away.
- Remember to store your Dutch oven on the lower shelf- this oven is anything but lightweight!
- If you have more than just one Dutch oven (kudos to you!), keep in mind to use all of them regularly. There’s nothing more prone to rust but a Dutch oven that hasn’t been used for a while.
What not to do when cleaning your Dutch oven?
Some think that placing the Dutch oven upside down in a fire for burning out the scrapes of food is going to be enough. Even if the fire is going to burn on the stuck-on mess, it’s also going to remove the non-stick surface too and actually replace it with fire byproducts. This is anything but good for the taste of your future meals.
This method is also going to overheat the metal, damaging or warping your Dutch oven. You should only try it when you simply don’t have the time for a proper clean.
On top of everything else, remember not to ever use cold water on your hot Dutch oven. Don’t place a hot oven/lid onto ice or snow either as the high temperature difference is going to crack both the oven and the lid.
How to remove stains from an enameled cast-iron Dutch oven?
Many Dutch ovens out there have black interiors so you’re not going to notice any discolorations or stains any time soon. Others come with light-colored enameled interiors so browning is going to be fairly easy to notice. The big downside to this design is that the light-enameled interiors are going to get stained and discolored a lot easier than the ones with black interiors.
You’re going to find reliable and effective stain-removal solutions for your light-colored enameled Dutch oven. You only need to add 1 teaspoon of bleach per 1 pint of water. You may notice some improvements, but you’re not going to obtain the original color of the interior, though.
You can have a shot at it with stronger solutions (make sure that your Dutch oven is going to handle it), mixing 1-part bleach and 3 parts water. Leave the oven overnight and enjoy the results the next morning. If the stains are really bad, it may take more than one night for getting good results.
Keep in mind that enameled Dutch ovens are actually prone to staining and maintaining them nice and pristine is quite challenging.
One last tip before you go!
If you’ve made the effort to get a Dutch oven you should try your best to take good care of it for expanding its lifespan and performance. After all, don’t you just love the taste of your food?