You may be like some of us who thinks of clay pots for plants or other decorative purposes, not really for cooking purposes right? What exactly are clay pots used for when it comes to cooking? How do I cook with clay pots? Will clay pots add flavour to my food? Are clay pots dangerous to use in a modern oven or on a modern stove top?
This clay pot cooking guide will answer all your questions about clay pots!
Pots and clay pots for cooking are one of the oldest forms of cooking vessels. They have been used in cultures around the world for centuries, dating back to ancient Japan, China, India, Egypt and Europe.
Clay pots are made from clay that has been fired in a kiln, which means clay is transformed from a soft clay or mud-like material into a durable yet malleable clay pot. After the clay is shaped and dried, it can be used to cook food in a stove top environment or in an oven.
The clay pots made today are probably no different than clay pots made thousands of years ago. Clay is a fired clay, meaning it has been heated in an oven or kiln to create a durable and solid clay pot. The way clay absorbs heat and transfers that heat to the food inside the clay pot is what makes clay such an excellent cooking vessel. So yes, clay pots are and have always been a safe method of cooking.
What are clay cooking pots called?
Clay cooking pots are referred to by many names.
Can clay pots be used on gas stove?
Clay pots can be used on gas stovetops (or electric stoves), but clay pot cooking requires a lower heat, which means clay pots work best with flame or induction cook tops. You need to treat clay pots like cast iron cookware – they should never be heated over a direct flame because it could crack the clay and cause a messy break.
The cooking temperature should never exceed 375 degrees Fahrenheit, so a gas stove is perfectly fine. However, if you have an electric stove you might need to purchase a clay pot with a flat base – most clay pots have a rounded bottom that makes it difficult to balance on an electric burner.
Why are clay pots better for cooking?
Unlike metal pots and pans clay pots are excellent heat conductors. Clay pots allow you to cook food evenly on all sides, which means they are perfect for slow cooking!
The clay pot is an excellent way of infusing your food with the flavors of herbs and spices because clay won’t let any liquid or steam escape. The clay pot is naturally non-reactive, meaning clay does not interact with the food inside the clay pot. As a result, are ideal for cooking acidic foods because clay will not react with acidic foods.
Clay pots allow you to cook your food at lower temperatures than metal or ceramic cookware. This means they are wonderful for simmering and slow cooking.
The clay pot is naturally non-stick, which makes clay pots great for cooking rice!
Clay pots are easy to store because they can be used both in an oven or on a stovetop. In addition, these pots are aesthetically pleasing pieces that add a rustic touch to any kitchen.
Why do clay cooking pots crack?
If clay cooking pots are made from clay and clay is a durable material, why do clay cooking pots sometimes crack? There are two different kinds of clay: refined clay and raw clay.
Refined clay has been polished and crushed into a fine powder, while raw clay is unprocessed and still contains contaminants. Refined clay does not need to be fired in a kiln to create clay cooking pots. Raw clay, on the other hand, needs to be processed and will need to withstand heat from a kiln before it can be made into clay cooking pots.
Raw clay is generally more vulnerable because contaminants make the clay less durable. Most clay pot companies use refined clay because raw clay is more vulnerable to cracking and often contains more impurities than refined clay.
If you want to be sure your clay pot will last a lifetime, only purchase clay cooking pots made from raw clay – these pots are not as likely to break or crack.
Do clay pots contain lead?
Before clay pots are fired clay pots are often bound by lead. Lead helps clay pots become impermeable so that food doesn’t seep through clay cooking pots while clay cooking pots are being fired in a kiln.
Lead is never used on clay pot designs intended for food. Clay pots will be labelled “lead free” or “food safe” so this will guide you, should you have concerns.
Are clay pots non-stick?
Clay pots are naturally non-stick because clay does not react with acidic foods. However, clay pots made from raw clay lack refinement and contain more impurities than clay pots made from refined clay.
If your clay pot has an unglazed bottom the clay pot may be less non-stick than a clay pot with a glazed bottom.
How do you clean clay pots?
Clay pots do not need to be washed with soap and water because clay is a porous material. Instead, clay pots should be wiped out with a damp cloth after use.
Make sure your pots are completely dry before placing them in the oven or microwave. Unwashed clay cooking ware can also be stored for a time if clay pots are coated with olive oil to keep the clay saturated.
How do you store clay pots?
Make sure clay pots are completely dry and free of food particles before storing. Your pots should be stored in a cool, dry place for longest durability.
Clay cooking ware can also be stored for a while if the clay pots are coated with olive oil to keep clay moist and prevent clay from cracking.
Clay cooking pots are a durable and versatile material to cook with. However, they require extra care compared to metal or ceramic cookware. If you’re able take the time to properly store clay pots, then your pots can last a lifetime!
Thank you for reading this article on clay pots and check out this article for a detailed buyer’s guide on the best clay pots for cooking Indian cuisine.