I am pretty picky about the pots, pans and assorted cookware I bring into my home. I try to avoid things like artificial non-stick coatings or other questionable types of cooking vessels. Natural materials like cast iron, stainless steel, and natural clay cookware are my first choice when cooking. Of course, you sometimes have to play around with recipes when you are trying out new types of cooking vessels in your kitchen. I thought I would share a few tips on how to cook in natural clay cookware in case this is something you want to try in your own kitchen.
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Reasons to Love Clay Pot Cooking
Clay pot cooking is not a new phenomenon. People have been cooking in clay pots for a REALLY long time! It is a trend that is gaining in popularity again. You can even buy a digital clay pot for making yogurt, rice, and many other delicious foods. Clay pot cooking has a ton of benefits to it. Cooking in natural clay cookware creates a moister final product and helps reduce the acidity of foods since it is slightly alkaline by nature.
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If you are trying to choose the best clay pot, you need to decide if you want it glazed or not. The glaze makes it easier to clean and care for, however it will not absorb water. The absorption of water is one of the biggest perks when cooking in natural clay cookware. The circulation of steam improves the final meal. A clay pot is a great addition to your sustainable kitchen!
Tips for Cooking in Natural Clay Cookware
There are definitely a few tricks to cooking in unglazed natural clay cookware that you need to know before trying it. Follow these cooking tips for an amazing meal:
- Make sure you soak your pot before cooking in cool water. Let it sit at least 10 to 15 minutes to fully absorb the water.
- Place the pot in a cold oven. If you put it in a preheated oven, it may crack from the shock of heat.
- Use a high temperature (400 to 450 degrees) for cooking to help the moisture in the clay turn to steam more easily.
- Do not add additional fats to your meal while cooking. They should only be used as a seasoning once the meal is finished.
- Do NOT place the hot pot on a cold surface after it comes out of the oven or it may shatter. Place on a wooden cooling rack.
- Natural clay cookware is specifically labeled as FOR THE STOVE or FOR THE OVEN. Make sure you know which one you have!
- Your meal will continue to cook after the pot is removed from the oven. Take this into account when calculating the cooking time.
Cooking in natural clay cookware has a lot of benefits but it definitely takes a bit of practice, especially if you are using a traditional unglazed clay cooking pot. Play around with some of your favorite recipes because clay pot cooking can really make a huge difference in how it tastes! I also encourage you to think outside the box when it comes to clay cooking. Try new meats like rabbit, buffalo or elk instead of the more common chicken or beef. Check out all the options that you can order online at For The Gourmet
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Diane has a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology with a Minor in Health Management and Policy. She spent many years working in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging as a way to share this knowledge with others. While passionate about health and the environment she can’t quite give up her favorite Cheetos and Diet Coke! Learn more about her HERE.