Dutch Ovens: A Must-Have Kitchen Tool

By Megan Sapelak

The holidays have arrived and it is officially time to whip out all of your best kitchen cookware. One must-have item is the classic and versatile pot known as the Dutch oven. This centuries-old cookware can cook just about anything and is sure to make this holiday season a success!

WHAT IS IT AND WHERE DID IT COME FROM?

A Dutch oven is a large, heavy, covered pot that is generally used to braise or brown meats and vegetables. It can also be used to slow-cook soups and stews, bake bread or even boil pasta. Dutch ovens are generally designed with a wide base, thick walls and short side handles. This simple design makes this cookware perfect for steady transitions in and out of the oven and retaining heat for long periods of time.

The term “Dutch oven” originated in the early 1700s when a man named Andrew Darby arrived back to Britain from a visit to the Netherlands. He noticed the unique way that the Dutch used a mold made out of sand to make cast-iron cookware and decided to patent a similar process in England.

TYPES OF DUTCH OVENS

There are many different kinds of Dutch ovens. When searching for one that is right for you and your cooking needs, things to consider are cost, material and size.

MATERIAL: Dutch ovens can be made using ceramic, aluminum, stainless steel or cast-iron.

COST: The cost of Dutch ovens varies anywhere between $50 – $350 depending on where you buy it from and what brand you choose.

SIZE: They can range anywhere between 1/4 qt. to 16 qt., with the most common sizes being 5-6 qt. A general rule of thumb for picking a Dutch oven is to allow for 1 qt. per person or serving.

HOW ARE THEY USED?

Dutch ovens can be used on an open fire, stovetop or in the oven. Some of its many functions include:

Slow-cooking Soups, stews or one-pot meals

Braising or searing Meats and vegetables

Baking Bread, skillet cookies

Frying

Roasting

Campfire cooking

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