Old Dutch Ovens

“The older the violin the sweeter the music.” Some things get better with age. Cast iron cookware is one of these. Some old horse trainers also fit this concept. I’ve heard many conflicting theories about how to maintain Dutch ovens. It’s like the old saying, “if you have three Rabbis you’ll have four different opinions.” The way we used to clean Dutch ovens when I was a boy, was to rub them out with sand or salt then dry them out with a towel. Then I ran across a chuckwagon cook who swore you never put soap in a Dutch oven, but after scraping them out, he’d rinse them with water, then set them over heat to dry, and finally oil them lightly, like you oil a gun barrel with a thin layer of flax seed oil. One prominent winner of Clovis, New Mexico’s “Dukes of the Dutch oven”, washes hers with detergent, dries them out, then sprays them with Pam. Actually all these methods end with a coating of oil, which after hundreds of “cookings” produces a smooth surface called “seasoning “which keeps food from sticking (Somewhat) and prevents too much iron from flavoring the food. (However beans cooked in even a well seasoned iron pot will still turn dark. Better to cook beans in enamel or clay-ware) also when you store a Dutch oven between uses, don’t put the lid on. There’s nothing less appetizing than opening a stored Dutch oven and smelling rancid oil! yuck!

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