Tis the Season: Tips on How to Care for Your Dutch Oven (or any piece of cast iron)

Dutch Oven Turkey Roaster

Dutch Oven Turkey Roaster

Check out my new baby! Thanks to a lead from my friend Barb, I recently purchased this amazing 9.5-quart turkey/poultry roaster through eBay. From what I understand, these Dutch ovens are discontinued and hard to find, so I am very grateful that my friend was looking out for me. Thank you Barb!!!

Today, most cast iron cookware is sold pre-seasoned, which makes cooking life a lot easier (and a little less labor intensive). When I purchase a new piece of cookware, I still go through a seasoning process before I use it. This is also the same process I use every time I clean my cast iron after cooking.

Follow my tips to keep your cookware in top, seasoned condition so it will stand the test of time. If properly cared for, cast iron is built to last! It just requires a little TLC.

First, some don’ts:

Don’t ever put your cast iron in a dishwasher.

Don’t ever leave it to soak overnight in a sink of water. It will rust, leading to bigger problems.

Don’t clean it with dish soap (I know, the horrors!). Dish soap will remove the seasoning.

Cleaning Tips:

Clean your cast iron with hot water, even letting it sit over a stove top or grill on low heat, to cook off any food residue. Plastic scrapers, a soft bristle scrub brush and sponge with brillo pad help – just requires a little elbow grease. Finally, I use vinegar as a disinfectant and odor remover. Towel dry immediately after washing or let dry on the stove top, grill or in the oven on low heat.

vegetable shortening, paper towels

Seasoning Tips:

Many people have their preferred oil/shortening to apply to their cast iron. Vegetable shortening (Crisco) or any type of cooking oil (except peanut) is fine to use. I prefer vegetable shortening. I would not use a cooking spray, like Pam, as it tends to get tacky or sticky when cookware is stored.

paper towel with vegetable shortening

Take a paper towel and generously coat it with shortening.

Seasoning a Dutch Oven

Apply it to the surface of your cast iron and work it into the metal until the shortening is not visible and a nice gloss appears.

Seasoning a Dutch Oven

I apply it to all surfaces of my cookware – interior, exterior, lids.

That’s pretty much the process for seasoning. Repeat this process every time you clean your cast iron and it well maintain a beautiful glossy, non-stick surface for years.

Storage Tips:

Storing your cast iron correctly is crucial so it won’t go rancid. Cast iron requires a little air circulation.

Paper towels, Dutch Oven storage

Simply place some paper towels on the bottom of your cookware.

Dutch Oven with paper towels

Fold two paper towels in half and fold them over the sides of your cast iron pot.

Dutch Oven with paper towels

Place your lid on top. The folded towels create a tiny gap to allow air flow into and through your pot.

Cast iron skillets

Skillets can be stored with paper towels on the bottom and stacked.

DO NOT store your cast iron in a garage or outdoor shed where they may be susceptible to extreme temperature changes. Cast iron will crack in such situations.

I store my cast iron in my house – in cupboards and closets – in a fairly consistent temperature-controlled environment.

So that’s the scoop on how to care for your cast iron. Pretty simple, right?

Now I just have to figure out where to put this monster pot I just bought…


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