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Tips to clean Dutch ovens and cast iron pans
To clean Dutch ovens and cast iron pans is easier than you think. Most people shy away from cooking with dutch ovens or cast iron pans for many reasons, but I think the biggest reason is the cleanup. A properly seasoned dutch oven can be very easy to clean.
I cook on cast iron every day. I love it!! Not only does it make great tasting food, but cast iron is easy to clean and can last a lifetime. Here are a few tips to make cleanup easy.
When I first learned how to cook on cast iron I was a little bit intimidated, but I thought it would be a lot of fun. I decided to look for an expert to teach me how to cook with cast iron. This is when I found Colleen. She was the sweetest lady and she knew how to dutch oven cook! She used Lodge and Camp Chef brands just to name a few. She taught classes for me at our feed store and I learned so much. I can’t wait to share what I learned with you!
These are some easy tips she taught me about cleanup.
One of the first things you need is the right tools. Dutch oven scrapers work great. They help scrape off even the stuck on food.
A dutch oven or cast iron of any kind is easiest to clean when it is warm. If you don’t get it cleaned up right away don’t worry it can still be easy. Tip: If you cooked any high acid food I have found it is best to clean it up right away. High acid foods tend to be hard on the finish.
- If it isn’t warm when you are trying to clean it simply run hot water on it and scrape the food off with your metal spatula or a dutch oven scraper. You can always set it back on your heat source and heat it up a little bit then go to cleaning.
- If the food is really stuck on put the pan back onto the heat source. Pour water into the pan and heat it up again. Scrape the pan as needed to clean off what you can. If it boils a little usually the stuck on food will come off.
- For really stuck on food you might have to take drastic measures. They used one of my dutch ovens for a father and sons campout and burned blueberry cobbler in it. The syrup was really burned and stuck on. You would have thought my dutch oven was ruined. I simply tipped my dutch oven upside down over my Cache Cooker gas burner and let the fire burn it out. When that was completed I just washed it up, put the oil on it and reseasoned it. My dutch oven was as good as new.
This brings me to my next thought. Occasionally you may come across a dutch oven that is rusty. Do you need to throw this pan out? All is not lost. Steel wool comes in very handy in this situation.
Find out how to save a rusty Dutch oven and re-season it here.
Everyday cleanup can be simple for your cast iron. Using dish soap in your pan will take the seasoning out of your pan. Some say it can be used occasionally but I don’t use it on mine. I like to use apple cider vinegar to clean and disinfect my cast iron.
Apple Cider Vinegar is a natural cleaner. I have a spray bottle I put 1 part apple cider vinegar and 2 parts water. Make sure it is not just flavored apple cider vinegar.
- I scrape out any of the food stuck in the pan. If I am camping I use a paper towel and wipe all the food out. If I am at home I scrape the food out and rinse my pan with hot water.
- Spray the pan with apple cider vinegar and wipe it out with paper towels.
- If needed I may put a very thin coat of oil in my pan.
- If I am putting it away to store I really don’t like to put the oil in my pan because it can go rancid. I put a paper towel hanging out of the Dutch oven to soak up any moisture. Then I put the lid on and put it away. Make sure it is really dry before putting it away. You can put it on a low heat source to make sure it is dry.
When taking a pan out of storage
- Spray your pan with the apple cider mixture to clean it and wipe it out with paper towels.
- Add a little oil and coat it lightly.
- You are now ready to start cooking.
I hope this post helps, watch for more posts on Dutch oven cooking. Feel free to share it with your friends. I love comments please leave them below.