SEASONING THE DUTCH OVEN
The next step in using your new Dutch oven is “seasoning.” Cast-iron is very porous. By filling the pores with grease a patina is built on the surface of the iron to protect it against rust a damage. A properly seasoned and cared for Dutch oven will last for generations. By constantly and properly caring for and cleaning a Dutch oven starting with the day it is purchased will serve you for years to come.
After the oven is thoroughly washed and rinsed, wipe dry with a clean towel and air dry. While it is drying preheat your oven to 350o / 177C. When the Dutch oven appears dry, place it on the center rack of the oven with the lid ajar. Heat the Dutch oven until it is just a little to hot to handle with bare hands. By preheating the Dutch oven you accomplish two things: you drive the remaining moisture out of the metal and you open the pores of the metal. Using a clean paper towel or preferably a cloth, apply a thin coating of salt free cooking oil. Corn, Olive or any vegetable oil will be fine. Cover every surface of the Dutch oven and lid, both inside and out. Return it back to the 350o oven with the lid ajar and bake, for one hour. Remove from the oven and allow to cool enough to be handled. Apply another coat of oil and repeat the baking process. Remove from the oven in one hour and allow to cool. Apply a final coat of oil when the pot becomes cool enough to handle. Your Dutch oven will now have three coats of oil, two baked on and one applied warm. Your oven is now ready to use or store.If the oven is properly maintained the coating is as effective as any commercial non-stick surface.