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Seasoning a Dutch Oven

Seasoning a Dutch oven is no different than seasoning any other cast iron pot, although your Dutch oven may be a little larger and heavier. Seasoning is important because it prevents the cast iron from rust and corrosion. It also creates a durable non-stick cooking surface that is a breeze to clean.

Seasoning is pretty easy to do, but it does take some time. Once you've seasoned your Dutch oven, each time you use it you'll be strengthening the coating and adding another layer to the black seasoning. Your Dutch oven will soon begin to look its best.

Steps for Dutch Oven Seasoning

When you take your Dutch oven out of the box, you'll need to wash it thoroughly with hot soapy water to remove the protective coating. Scour it until you see the bare metal so you don't get spotty seasoning. If you purchase one of the new pre-seasoned Dutch ovens, you won't need to season it unless the seasoning layer becomes damaged by acidic food.

If you are reseasoning an older Dutch oven, you'll still want to wash it thoroughly and remove any signs of rust. Be sure and do the lid as well. This will be the only time you use soap on your Dutch oven. Allow the Dutch oven to dry completely. You can use a soft towel or place it in a warm oven to evaporate the moisture.

You may notice that the towels you use are covered with black smears when you've finished drying your Dutch oven. This is normal, so make sure you don't use your best towels when cleaning cast iron cookware.

When seasoning a Dutch oven, carefully apply a thin coat of vegetable oil to the entire pot. Oil both the inside and the outside of the Dutch oven as well as both sides of the lid. Rub the oil in very well and wipe off any excess. Heat your oven or your barbecue to between 450 and 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Carefully place your Dutch oven upside down inside and place the lid on top of it. Heat for one hour, then allow it to cool off gradually. You can leave it where it is overnight and remove it in the morning.

If you are seasoning your Dutch oven in the oven in your kitchen, be sure you turn on the exhaust fan and provide plenty of ventilation, as the oil will smoke a bit while the pan seasons. You may want to turn off your smoke alarms during this procedure as well.

Take a look at your Dutch oven. If it is sticky, you left too much oil on it and you'll need to heat it again after wiping out any excess. If it is blackened and glossy, you can go ahead and cook in it. If it is brown, you need to season it again. Check your temperature if it only turned brown. Your temperature may have been set too low. Reseason the Dutch oven as needed. You can repeat this process two or three times to build up the seasoning layer.

Dutch Oven Care and First Time Cooking Tips

Before you put the Dutch oven away, apply another thin layer of oil all over and wipe away the excess. Do not store your Dutch oven with the lid in place. Put in a paper towel to soak up any possible moisture that may condense due to moisture in the air. There, seasoning a Dutch oven wasn't very hard, was it?

The first few times you cook in your Dutch oven, be sure to cook greasy foods to add more layers to the seasoning. Try bacon, sausage or chicken. Another good way to add a layer while cooking is to deep fry fish. Avoid making foods with tomatoes, a large amount of sugar like a cobbler or soup until your Dutch oven has had some use. These foods tend to eat into the seasoning layer and if your layer is still thin, your food may end up tasting metallic and you'll need to reseason your oven.

If your Dutch oven goes for awhile without being used, it can help to reseason the pot before its first use. If you notice food sticking, do another seasoning session to remedy the problem. The only thing you do differently is you don't wash the Dutch oven with soapy water before seasoning this time.

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