Clay pots and casseroles, unlike cookware made of materials like steel, iron or aluminum, take a long time to absorb heat. But once they do, they spread that heat evenly throughout the clay pot body and releases it just as slowly to the food cooking within. This allows for the flavors of a dish to build slowly, for spices penetrate more deeply, and for meats, even the tough cuts, to break down into succulent pieces. This also helps the food more retain nutrients. Read more about the surprising health benefits of cooking in clay pots
Health Benefits Of Cooking In Clay Pot
- INEXPENSIVE- Earthenware in India, is inexpensive in comparison to other cooking utensils. You can get them in different shapes and sizes without making a hole in your wallet. You could even order these online and have them delivered to your doorstep without much of a fuss.
- PH BLANCE- Cooking in clay pots is said to give you all the calcium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, sulphur and several other compounds that our body benefits from! Clay pots are also alkaline in nature so they mix well with acidic food to perfectly balance out the PH level of what you cook – making it healthier!
- FLAVOURFUL FOOD- Slow cooking and porous nature of clay pots, the moisture and aroma tends to stay in the pot without losing any nutrient, hence making it flavoursome. It also has an earthy flavour added to it, which we bet you may not get in any other utensil.
- LESS OIL- Due to its heat resistance and slow cooking, the food retains all its oils and moisture; therefore, you wouldn’t require extra oil and fat for providing moisture to your food.
- HEALTHY FOOD- Cooking in clay pot is same as the process of the steaming. You can cook almost anything in it and even its suitable for microwave also.
How To Use Clay Pot
- Always soak the pot in cool water for 10 to 15 minutes before using it.
- Never put a clay pot in a preheated oven because it will crack from the shock of the heat.
- Bake at high temperatures (400º to 475º F) to let the moisture that’s saturated the clay slowly turn into steam.
- Clay pot cooking does not require added fats. As with microwave cooking, use added fats only as a seasoning.
- Do not place a hot clay pot on a cold or cool surface as it will crack. So when taking a hot pot out of the oven, always place on a wood or heat resistant trivet or potholder.
- Clay pots should not be used on top of the stove.
- Add liquids sparingly — as any food you’re cooking will throw off liquids and you don’t want the pot to overflow.
- Because it retains heat, a clay pot will continue to cook after you take it out of the oven. So either factor this into your cooking time or else remove the cover and the food soon after removing it from the oven.
How To Clean Clay Pot
Because clay is porous, you cannot clean it using soap or normal dish washing detergent.
The soap will soak into the clay and end up leaching into the next meal you cook in the pot. Instead, you need to clean a clay pot using hot water and a stiff brush. Baking soda can be used to remove the odors especially if you have cooked with onion and garlic. For stubborn stains, take rock salt in a scrub pad and scrub it nicely. Fill the pot with hot water and wait for half hour. Discard the water and wash it again.
A tip would be if you want to use your pots for both savory and sweet dishes and you have the storage space, you might want to invest in two pots so that any absorbed flavors won’t affect the taste of your recipe.
It is difficult to get products in their purest form, but it isn’t impossible. If you really want to start cooking in clay pots, make sure you do not buy any glazed or polished one, rather try and find unglazed ones. If you get your hands on them, you wouldn’t want to miss the earthy flavors of food and surely never want to go back to other utensils.