Cast iron is a delight to use at home, but what about when you go out camping?
Isn’t it kind of heavy for that? Will you be able to care for it properly at the campground?
Cast iron has a lot of advantages over other kinds of camp cookware. For one thing, it’s highly durable.
Care for it properly, and you will be able to hand it down to your children or grandchildren. Buy cheap cookware for your camping adventures, and you’ll probably be replacing it regularly.
A great choice is a cast iron dutch oven with a curved handle that you can use to hang it over your campfire. These can cook all kinds of food when you’re camping.
You can make a stew, scramble eggs, make pancakes (a bit harder to flip them, but you can do it), stir fry, whatever you want to make. The dutch oven is quite flexible.
You’ll want to pick a size that works well for the size of the group you’re camping with. You don’t need a big dutch oven if you go camping alone, but if you go in a group of friends or take the family along you’re going to need more room to prepare your food.
The beauty of cast iron is that it’s quite affordable. You can get a good dutch oven for under $40. That’s not at all bad for something you may well never need to replace. Cast iron skillets are quite affordable too. It’s also fairly nonstick so cleanup can be simpler.
Before you go camping, be sure you have seasoned your cast iron as needed. Some brands come preseasoned, but others you will have to do at home.
Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Heat your cast iron first on the stovetop, and turn off the stove. Coat lightly with oil or shortening while still hot, then place in the preheated oven. Leave the heat on a couple of hours, then turn off and allow the oven and cast iron to cool together.
Many people are concerned about caring for their cast iron when they’re camping. After all, cast iron rusts! Isn’t that going to be a problem?
If you care for it properly, no. Just as with any other cooking tool, you clean it thoroughly after use. Dry it over the fire, just as it was when you cooked with it.
Bring some cooking oil along, and immediately after removing it from the heat, wipe a thin layer of oil all over it. Allow to cool and store someplace that will keep it dry.
If it does rust, a bit of rubbing with steel wool can work wonders. You will have to season it again after that, but it will still be useable. Just remember that any spot you rubbed with the steel wool will not be nonstick until the iron is once again well seasoned.
To Sum Up
While cast iron may not be your ideal choice for hiking trips if only due to weight, it is extremely useful on many other camping vacations.