How to...'Season' a Dutch Pot
By JamaicanEats magazine, Aug.-Nov. 2010
“The way to do authentic Jamaican food is in the Dutch pot. Its heat and temperature are consistent and it hardly ever burns food.”
- Executive Chef, Martin Maginley, Roundhill Resort, Jamaica
‘Season’ it to keep the love going
As the old-time people knew, the Dutch post must be ‘seasoned’ (or cured) to keep it in tip top shape for years to come.
Old and rusting Dutchies
- If your old Dutch pot is starting to show signs of age and rust, scrub it well and use a fine-grade sandpaper to clean up and expose the entire surface, inside and out.
- Then wash the entire pot with hot soapy water to remove the fine metal dust remaining in an old dutchie.
For new Dutchies
- To cure a new pot, wash well with hot soapy water. This will remove the waxy coating from it.
- Next, heat your Dutchie with the lid on, to about 200° in the oven or on a coal fire stove or briquettes.)
- While the pot is still hot, pour or drop a small amount of oil, shortening, or lard. Wearing oven mitts or heavy leather gloves, use a clean cotton cloth to wipe the entire surface well, inside and out, to coat it with the shortening, oil, or lard.
- When it’s coated, heat it to 350° for an hour.
Note: It will get smoky in your house if you do this indoors
- After an hour of heating, let it cool slowly. Force-cooling a cast iron oven by putting it in a freezer, snow, or outside during a cold rain, can crack or warp it.
Keep the love going
- Clean your dutch pot after each use by wiping a very light coat of oil, shortening, or lard over the dry, warm surface. By doing this you maintain and strengthen the cure.
- Over time the surfaces of the Dutch pot will blacken and become very smooth and shiny, and as non-stick as the best Teflon or other non-stick cookware available.
- Where possible, store the Dutch pot in a clean, dry place with the lid off to promote air circulation and avoid the smell and taste of rancid oil.
Three things to look for when buying a dutchie or cast-iron pot
- Check the fit of the lid. It should lie flush with the lip of the oven all the way around, with no significant gaps.
- Check the casting, or thickness, of the metal, especially around the rim. There will be some inconsistencies. However, areas that are 15% (or more) thicker or thinner than the remaining areas will produce hot or cold spots during cooking and cooling. The variance in thickness will make it more likely to crack or warp.
- Ensure that the lid has a loop handle, cleanly attached to its centre.