11 Commandments of Dutch Oven Care

For the most part, this is a good chart from the October 2014 issue of Southern Living. But, as with most articles about cast iron care there are differences of opinions, myths, and many time recommendations that require some clarity or elaboration. Here are my observations:

1. Once you have developed your system of cast iron care that works for you, stick with it. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

2. Commandment 5 in the chart is a myth. It’s OK to use a mild dish soap such as the green original Palmolive. Why is there such a difference of opinion about this? It has to do with history. My Grandmother told her kids to never use soap and my dad told me the same because that’s what Grandma told him. And how did she learn this advice? Her mom told her the same. Why wasn’t soap used by my Grandmother and Great Grandmother? Well, they made their own soap. What was a key ingredient? Lye! The enemy of cast iron. So, this has been handed down and the use of soap is believed to be a cast iron original sin by many to this day. Go ahead, it’s OK. Just remember to rinse the cast iron out thoroughly with hot water and follow commandments 7 and 8.

3. Commandment 6 is good but begs for more information. Another tool that works extremely well is a pot scrubber. I use mine regularly and it works. Check out this link on Amazon: Blisstime Stainless Chainmail Scrubber. There are other manufacturers with competitive prices.

4. Commandment 11 is basic and generally correct. But, for a more in-depth discussion of the seasoning process, have a look at this YouTube video by Jas Townsend & Son. It’s the technique I use: How to Season Cast Iron Cookware. Another web resource that promotes the use of Flaxseed oil and provides an excellent description of the seasoning process can be found on Sheryl Canter’s Blog. Again, once you find a seasoning process that works for you, stick with it.

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