Between the ragù article and the chili story, our enameled cast-iron Dutch ovens have seen a lot of use lately, but they still look almost new. Here's how we keep them that way.
Let a hot pot cool before plunging it into water for washing; otherwise, thermal shock may cause cracking in the enamel.
Soak the pot in warm water for 15 to 20 minutes before washing, especially if it has heavy cooked-on food residue.
Don't use steel wool or other abrasive pads, which may scratch the enamel.
Instead, try Bar Keepers Friend (a scouring powder available at most supermarkets) or Le Creuset's enameled cast-iron cookware cleaner. Or try boiling 2 Tbs. white vinegar with 3 quarts of water in the pot for about 15 minutes; then cool, rinse, and wash with soap and water.
Looking for a reason to pull out your pot? Browse a recipe slideshow of cozy One-Pot Meals.