It’s time to get cooking! You’ve got a delicious dish in mind, but you’re not sure what type of pot to use. Should you cook it in stainless steel? Aluminum? Ceramic? Cast iron? What about clay pots… are they safe and healthy for food preparation?
Here is a brief history of how cooking with clay pots started.
Clay pot cooking is an ancient art and was discovered by early humans back in the Stone Age. This is where the history of cooking begins… Stone Age (35,000 BC to 2,000 BC). Early humans discovered that clay absorbs heat better than rocks and that food cooks faster when it’s contained within a clay pot.
Clay pots are commonly made of terra cotta clay or porcelain clay. Pottery was first invented in China around 16,000 BC. Pottery allowed for cooking, storage and transportation of food. This brought about the age of ceramic cooking with clay pots.
What are clay cooking pots called?
Terra cotta cooking pots are often referred to as “clay pots” because of the type of clay used. The word “terra cotta” is Italian for “baked earth”, describing a class of orange-red earthenware that was commonly used in ancient Roman times.
Is it safe to cook with clay pots?
Clay cooking pots are usually safe to use, materials used in making clay pots is non-toxic. The glaze on pottery can sometimes contain lead and other toxins which may find their way into food when a clay pot is heated. Other types of glazes may be present in some cookware such as porcelain or earthenware.
However, if the glaze is food grade then cooking in clay pots are safe for food preparation. Not all clay pot glazes are safe for warmer temperatures so always check to make sure the pot you have is oven-safe before putting it in an oven.
Is cooking with clay healthy?
Cooking in clay pots tend to create a healthier way to cook from home mainly because clay pots use less heat and food tends to retain more of its flavor.
Clay pots are also very eco-friendly to use in the kitchen as they don’t need heating elements. So, they save on energy costs and reduce weight on our planet by reducing the amount of coal we burn. They are also more durable than some other types of cooking vessels which can sometimes crack when exposed to extreme temperatures. However, the clay pot will eventually crack.
What are clay pots good for?
Cooking in clay can help reduce hot spots and “scalds” on your food because the thick walls of a clay pot absorb and distribute the heat evenly around the food. This helps reduce burning or overcooking of delicate foods such as fish or slow-cooked meats.
However, you should take note that clay pots are not suitable for use on gas stoves because it conducts heat poorly which can cause the pot to crack. Cast iron pans are a good alternative for cooking with clay pots on gas stove tops.
Can you cook any food in clay pots?
You can cook almost any type of food in clay pots. They are great for cooking curries, stews, chili and soups! One tip though is to avoid oil high in polyunsaturated fat because the high heat used when cooking with a clay pot can cause this type of oil to oxidize and become trans-fatty.
You can also use clay pots for baking and roasting! Try cooking roast potatoes in a clay pot and you’ll be surprised how delicious they taste when well cooked in the clay oven.
How do you clean clay pots after cooking?
Cleaning your clay pot depends on what you are cooking in it. If your dish is not too sticky, the easiest way to clean your clay pot after cooking is to soak it with water overnight and let the pot soak up the moisture. Then scrub away any remaining food residue with a plastic brush or an old toothbrush.
If you have cooked something that is quite sticky such as caramelized sugars or jams, then boiling water and soap is another way to clean your clay pot. Make sure you let your pot soak overnight first before washing it with a plastic brush or an old toothbrush again.
If you do this, and if there is still any stubborn food stuck on the surface of the pot, you can apply a baking soda paste to help you get rid of it.
Is there lead in clay pots?
No, just avoid glazes that are not food grade because they can contain lead, this is why it’s important to buy your cooking pot from a reputable brand or check the label before using.
Clay pots are a healthy way to cook your food, they contain no toxins that leach into the food from the materials used in making them. You can also use clay pots for baking and roasting which makes them a good addition to everyone’s kitchen!
Just make sure you keep an eye on your pot when cooking to make sure it’s not cracking or overheating.