Quick Recipes and Easy

The Dutch Oven – A Campers Best Friend

Besides a excellent bug repellent, a cast iron Dutch oven should accompany any camp-out. Come on, what CAN’T you cook in a Dutch oven? You have your breakfast muffins, Bar-B-Que, game hens, cookies, cabbage, creoles, cobblers, cornbread, cakes and about 5000 kinds of stews. Cast iron in general is the cooking gear of choice for right campers. Though it does not work well with backpacking, for car camping or even boat camping, the Dutch oven wins hands down. I’d bet that everyone reading this knows a grandmother that used cast iron for cooking. It is all most a lost art, but for those that know how to care for there cast iron cookware, it is used in every day cooking at home too.

And that’s what this article is about… taking care of your Dutch oven (or cast iron as a whole)

The first and foremost thing you must know about your Dutch oven is how to get and keep a excellent ‘seasoning’ (or curing). When done properly your food will never stick and your pot will never rust. When you season cast iron, you are filling the pores in the metal with grease of some sort, which in turn will get cooked in. This provides a nonstick surface on both the inside and outside of the pot. If you find your cast iron starting to rust, or food starts to stick, it is time to properly clean and re-season it. And just like with modern non-stick cookware, Dutch ovens need special attention as well. So here are a few thing to keep in mind

1. Never place cold water in a hot pot – You’ll bust it.

2. Never let any cast iron soak, or place in a dish washer. Get it in the soapy water, washing it, and dry it straight away with a paper towel.

3. Place your pot on a hot burner to make sure it is dry and wipe down with a light coat of vegetable oil, Crisco, lard, … etc.

4. Continue to heat the Dutch oven to ‘absorb’ the oils. Then wipe excess oils off with paper towel.

5. Store it with the lid off to eliminate humidity making moisture. Also place a few paper towels inside.

If your cast iron starts getting small rust spots, scour the spots with steel wool until all traces are gone, wash, dry and season again. If to much oil is used during the seasoning process you will get gummed up pools in the pan. It should be scraped out, heated and wiped down again. . Heating the pan upside-down can prevent this gumming up – but protect your oven by using a baking sheet or aluminum foil to catch the grease. Then again, we’re camping here aren’t we? Just toss it over the fire and go find some marshmallows.

So there you have it. When a cast iron Dutch oven is taken care of properly, it can be handed down to your grand children for there camping pressures. Besides, you would go through a dozen modern pots and pans before this tank-of-the-kitchen even flinches.

As an active Scout Leader, I want to invite you to a site I place together about adventures and lessons on camping… “Camping and More”

My son has been in Boy Scouts for 4 years now and he is working on his Star Ranking. I have been adopted as an assistant and have loved just about every camp out they have gone on. I’ve learned a lot from those small guys, and must say that I look forward to these monthly outings each and every time. Rain or shine, winter or summer.

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