Cooking with a dutch oven is one of my most favorite past times. There is nothing better than a dutch oven peach cobbler or dutch oven ribs. I know you're mouth must be watering already. However, this article isn't going to be focused on how to cook tasty meals, the main focus of this article is to let you know what to do with your dutch oven after the cooking. In other words, I'm going to give you a few ideas on what needs to be done in order to ensure that your cast iron dutch oven can be used for many more times without becoming rusted and useless.
Depending on your background, you may have a different manner of cleaning up your dutch oven. Some people try to burn them out. Some clean them with salt and others wash them out with only water. I prefer scrubbing them like I would a regular pan, with soap and water.
I know, you are probably saying to yourself, "This can't be right, I've heard that water makes your dutch ovens rust and using soap ruins all of the seasoning!". Let me tell you a little story. About 20 or so years ago, I attended a presentation about Dutch ovens given by an old cowboy. He had used Dutch ovens on the range as he herded cattle. He told about cattleman who took a dutch oven on their trip to make their tasty food. The dutch oven served two purposes for them: to cook their food and to clean their dishes. They would place it on the fire to warm up the water. Then, they would do their dishes right in the dutch oven and they used soap. Now this is the key. After they finished doing that, they would take the dutch oven and grease it all up so that it would be ready to be used for the next time they needed it.
There may come a time in your life when you are stuck on the desert but still want to clean your dutch oven. Only then would I recommend that you try to use salt on it or burn it out. I would probably go for the salt method, since in the desert it's already pretty hot. If you don't have salt, I guess you could always try sand. (That might sound foolish, but really, I think you would get about the same results.
Now, if you ever let someone borrow your dutch oven, make sure you tell them how you want it cleaned! I learned the hard way with this one. In fact, my dutch oven was nearly ruined by the people I let borrow it. They tried to burn it out because they weren't sure if I would be okay with them using soap and water. What a horrible consequence! I nearly had to bury my dutch oven and never see it again. Nevertheless, I worked long and hard to get the yucky black charcoaled mess out of it. After a few hours of endless torment I was able to get it back to a fairly good condition. Well, at least it was good enough to cook in again.
Salt has been used by alot of people. In fact I know of someone who says that salt is the best and only way to clean a dutch oven. it is too bad that he has to spend hours trying to burn out the rust before he can use them another time.
When I am finished cleaning my dutch ovens they are nice to look at and store without rust, ready for our next family reunion or any other type of get together. I like to use the old cowboy method. The dutch oven gets heated while water is in it. After you have completed heating the water into your dutch oven, add a little soap. Scrubbing out the food should be very easy. Rinse it and turn it over to allow for faster drying. When you're dutch oven is dry, take some oil and rub it into the oven and lid. This is vital to the condition of your dutch ovens.
You should lightly oil it by using a paper towel and rubbing it into the cast iron. By doing so, you eliminate any chance it has of becoming rusted and it will be ready for your use anytime you need it.
Sometimes I have also stored a sheet of paper towel inside to absorb any moisture that may happen to come along.
This method has worked amazingly well for me. The cast iron has never become rusted and I continue to enjoy my dutch ovens today. Whether it be over a fire or a gas camping stove, this method will always work..
Now you don't have to worry. Now you know that just using water and dish soap is the best way to clean a dutch oven. It's the most easiest and sanitary way. Always remember the most important step: the oiling. If you don't forget that, your dutch ovens will be safely stored away and ready for their next use every time.
About the Author: M.A. Luke is a freelance writer for ioVentures, Inc. To improve your dutch oven cooking go now to dutchovenpro.com. A properly cleaned dutch oven will last you a lifetime. Find new camping stoves today.
Ok. bobs big boy