SEASONING OF YOUR ALUMINUM DUTCH OVEN
For your aluminum Dutch Oven, your pretreatment is simply washing with soap and water. Some aluminum ovens are shipped with a protective coating and a simple washing will remove it. Since aluminum doesn’t rust, no further protection is required, however, we have found that if you spray your aluminum Dutch Oven with non-stick vegetable spray food will not stick. (You can also treat your aluminum Dutch Oven like you would any other cast iron oven, the aluminum will take the seasoning just like the cast iron. This pretreatment is at the user’s option.) I recommend just washing your aluminum Dutch Oven in soap and water and using it. In fact I just through my whole oven in the dishwasher.
SEASONING YOUR CAST IRON DUTCH OVEN
First wash your cast iron Dutch Oven with soap and hot water, rinse well, towel dry and let air dry. While it is drying, this would be a good time to pre-heat your kitchen oven to 400 degrees. After it appears dry, place the Dutch Oven on the center rack with it’s lid ajar. Allow the Dutch Oven to warm slowly so it is just barely too hot to handle with bare hands. This pre-heating does two things, it drives any remaining moisture out of the metal and opens the pores of the metal.
Now, using a clean rag or preferably a paper towel, apply a thin layer of salt free cooking oil. Oils such as peanut, olive or plain vegetable oil will be fine. (I recommend a high grade olive oil) Do not use Tallow, lard or animal fats, they tend to break down during the storage periods and can go rancid. Make sure the oil covers every inch of the oven, inside and out and replace the oven onto the center shelf, again with the lid ajar. Bake it for about an hour or so at 400 degrees. This baking hardens the oil into a protective coating over the metal.
After baking, allow the oven to cool slowly. When it is cool enough to be handled, apply another thin coating of oil. Repeat the baking and cooling process three times. With the last time allow the oven to cool completely. Your oven should have three layers of oil, two baked on and one applied when it was warm. The oven is now ready to use or store.
This pre-treatment procedure only needs to be done once. This baked on coating will darken and eventually turn black with age. This darkening is a sign of a well kept oven and of use. The pre-treatment coating’s purpose is two fold, first and most important, it forms a barrier between moisture in the air and the surface of the metal. The second purpose is to provide a non-stick coating on the inside of the oven. When properly maintained, this coating i