How to Season A Dutch Oven
Seasoning your Dutch oven is highly recommended to prevent rusting and corrosion after or before use. Also, seasoning creates a non-stick cooking surface to ease the process of cleaning after use. Therefore, without a good seasoned coat, you may end up having rusty cookware, making cleaning up difficult, and eventually, your food may not taste good due to formation of rust or corrosion.
However, even though seasoning is recommended mostly to cookware made from stainless steel or cast iron, those made from aluminum can also benefit from seasoning. Though they do not rust like iron, aluminum oxidizes, forming a layer of oxide on the surface and hence, the need for seasoning. Here is the process of seasoning a Dutch oven.
Prepare area to be seasoned
It is advisable you carry out seasoning outside since the process produces a lot of smoke. However, if you prefer seasoning indoors, take necessary precautionary measures e.g. opening windows or turning the oven fan on to facilitate aeration.
Wash your cookware
Mostly, Dutch ovens arrive from the manufacturer with a coat of wax or shellac to prevent rusting during shipping. Therefore, wash your pot with hot soapy water and a scouring pad to thoroughly remove this coating before you start the seasoning process. However, using a steel wool pad to scrub your cookware is not recommended because it leaves scratches on the surface.
Drying the Dutch oven
After washing and rinsing the cookware thoroughly, dry it with either a cotton or paper towel. On the other hand, you can place the Dutch oven on a grill for a minute or two to completely dry it. If you heat the cookware, remember to use an oven mitt to remove it from the grill.
Protect your oven from dripping oil
Since there is a probability of having oil drips when baking your Dutch oil, wrap a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and place it on the lowest shelf of your oven to prevent dripping oil from getting into your oven.
Select the grease to use
There are many types of oils to choose from when it comes to seasoning. Whatever the choice, avoid using butter because it burns rather than seasoning and is not ideal for use. On the other hand, flavored shortening should not be used because their flavoring stays in your cast iron for a long period of time after seasoning. The top seasoning oils to use include:
- Vegetable shortening
- Olive oil
- Vegetable oil
Grease your cookware
With a cotton rag, a paper towel or your fingers, rub the shortening inside and outside the cookware smoothly and evenly. The lid should also be greased because it’s included when cooking. However, you should not grease the handle.
Bake the greased Dutch oven
The cookware should be placed upside down in the oven and the oven door closed. The lid should also be placed in the oven to bake alongside the Dutch oven. Then, turn the heat to 350° F or 176.67° C for 45 to 60 minutes.
Placing the cookware upside down facilitates the oil to form an even coat on the pot instead of collecting at the bottom. The high temperature will cause the oil to harden and stick onto the pot walls, forming a protective coat that prevents rusting and food from sticking to the walls of the pot just like Teflon.
Although this process is safe, staying close to your kitchen oven is highly recommended to monitor the whole process as well as to rectify any problem which may arise.
Turn off the kitchen oven
After baking continuously for about an hour, turn off your kitchen oven and leave the cookware to cool for about 30 minutes to avoid sustaining injuries when handling it. After it has cooled, remove it from the oven using an oven mitt or protective gloves because it may be hot. Give the pot more time to cool before you assess its condition.
Later, rub off any residual shortening that may be on the cookware with a towel. The final color of your cookware after seasoning should be brown or black with the darker color being more ideal. Normally, its surface should be glossy but not sticky. If it’s sticky, there was a lot of oil left, and heating it more could be the best option.
After using the seasoned cookware for a period of time, while cleaning it properly, you will see that the gloss coat is becoming stronger, easing the cleaning process.