First invented in 1769, Dutch ovens are a staple item in anyone’s home kitchen. Made from enameled cast iron, Dutch ovens are a high-quality, durable, long-lasting cookware item that is often passed down from generation to generation. Although they have primarily been associated with slow-cooking delicious meals to feed the entire family, Dutch ovens are versatile in use. This unique, luxury cookware item offers numerous other functional options that you and your family will appreciate for years to come. We have compiled six uses for your Dutch oven that you weren’t aware of that just might quickly become standard practice in your home.
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1) Serve straight from the Dutch oven.
Ease your mind by offering a self-serve, buffet-style system for your plethora of family gatherings, parties, or holidays throughout the year. While these events are fun and a great way to get all of your loved ones under the same roof can quickly become stressful to the host or hostess because of the numerous variables- menu, details, décor, and last-minute tasks. To lighten your load, creating a dish in your Dutch oven that your family members themselves quickly distribute will save you time and effort and create a casual, fun environment for any celebration event.
2) Use your Dutch oven as a functional décor piece.
When your Dutch oven is not being actively used for a meal, it can be displayed as a functional piece of décor within your kitchen out in the open for added color. It can be placed on shelves or cabinetry, adding a subtle pop of color and impressing your guests by adding to the warmth and liveliness of your home. Le Creuset sells their high-quality Dutch ovens in a whopping total of 11 different colors- ranging from the neutral tones of meringue-green, nutmeg-brown, and oyster-white to a cherry-red or fiery-orange. These fun pops of color will catch your guest’s eye as a unique, practical design idea that they might even want to incorporate into their kitchen. If bright colors aren’t your style, buying a neutral-toned option is a great way to tie in concepts or themes from other areas of your home.
3) Use your Dutch oven to keep your food items either hot or cold.
A little-known fact regarding the Dutch oven is its ability to retain hot and cold temperature food items. These pots are safe for use in various settings- ovens (obviously), microwaves, grills, refrigerators, and freezers. With all the different usage, this alleviates the stress of ensuring enough to-go containers are clean to store your leftovers and allows you to cover and keep your uneaten meal conveniently. However, be careful to let your hot or cold food items return to a base, room temperature before exposing them to the opposite element. For example, after cooking a pot roast in your Dutch oven, let it cool completely before moving your oven containing the leftovers to the fridge. The same applies to moving your Dutch oven from a cold refrigerator or freezer to a hot surface too quickly- either instance can cause your prized cookware to crack.
4) Take your Dutch oven camping.
In the same vein as the previous hack, your Dutch oven can also accompany you and your loved ones on camping trips. Dutch ovens are incredibly durable and are built to withstand any amount of heat, proving invaluable for outdoor excursions. You can place it over a campfire or on a camp stove like a regular pot. There are endless resources online that provide step-by-step instructions on various recipes you can create in your oven, including an assortment of meat or vegetable stews, chili, and even apple pie! If needed, you can also purchase a set of legs for your Dutch oven to raise it a few inches off the ground. The stand is beneficial for outdoor campfire settings, as the embers from a fire will make it easy to heat the entire oven for any fully cooked meal you decide to prepare.
5) Make delicious drinks.
As stated, Dutch ovens can be used to prepare and store both hot and cold food items- but what about drinks? Another use for your Dutch oven at gatherings, parties, or other social events that incorporates the adaptable use of both hot and cold temperatures and the love of creating mixed drinks together in one. Depending on the size of your oven, you can prepare enough tasty beverages (alcoholic or not) for serving up to 8 people. Spiced apple cider is a perfect treat for a chilly fall night watching movies or hanging out by a fire with friends and family. If you find yourself with leftover cider, you can even package it and save it in your fridge for up to 2 weeks- pop it in a microwave-safe mug, reheat, and enjoy!
6) Use your Dutch oven as a cooler.
Your Dutch oven can also be used as your own personal cooler for outside events- simply fill with ice and your choice of drink(s), close the lid, and you are done! The tough, thick-walled enameled cast iron material of the oven will keep your ice or drinks frigid throughout the day.
All in all, Dutch ovens are versatile and provide an all-purpose cookware item that you can use anywhere for practically anything.
Featured Photo by Jason Briscoe on Unsplash