Clay pots are used for cooking a variety of foods. They are also known as terracotta pots or earthenware pots, and they have been in use since ancient times. Clay pots can be placed on top of any heat source, including wood-burning stoves, gas burners, and in some cases, depending on the materials used, they can even be used in Convection microwaves.
Clay pots have been used for centuries for cooking food. While stainless steel and cast iron pots are often considered better options, there is a lot to be said about cooking with clay. This article will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of cooking in a clay pot.
What is a Clay Pot?
A clay pot is a clay-based cooking pot. These pots can be used on the cooktop, but they’re more typically used in the oven to make delicious meals and in fires and underground pits for unique regional foods.
Clay pots are available at many cooking stores, sometimes in a variety of designs. A standard pot is unglazed, which is important for the cooking process, and it normally comes with a fitted matching lid to cover the food while it cooks.
Different Types of Clay Pots
There are three types of clay pots.
Earthenware pots are made from clay that has gone through a special moulding and heating process. Although not as durable as stoneware, earthenware is one of the oldest varieties of pottery and is still popular because of its low cost and ease of use.
The burning pots and pans coated with a smooth, pristine, and strong glass coating are known as porcelain cookware. This style of cookware comes in a variety of attractive colours.
Stoneware is porous pottery that has been fired at high temperatures to make it resistant to liquids. It is made of clay and is long-lasting.
Benefits of Cooking in Clay Pots
1. Retain the Nutritional Value of Food
The porous nature of the clay pot lets both steam and heat travel through the meal, resulting in thoroughly cooked but flavorful food. Meals prepared in this manner retain greater nutritional value than food prepared in other ways.
2. Clay Pots Help your Heart
One of the primary reasons for weight gain is the excessive use of oil in cooking. As a result of the slow cooking process, the natural moisture and natural oils present in the food are preserved, and you use a lot less oil in the cooking process. It is natural for your heart to be healthier when you use less oil. It maintains your cholesterol level and prevents it from rising.
Also, during the summer, clay pot water helps keep the body’s glucose levels in check and protects the body from sunstroke and heatstroke. It is recommended that freshwater be added to the pot on a daily basis for best results.
3. Earthen Pots Help Regulate the PH Balance of Your Food
Because clay pots are alkaline, they interact with the acidity in the food, bringing the pH balance back to normal and making it healthier. You can cut down on extra oil by using vegetables because they are heat-resistant, and the meal cooks slowly. The earthen pots keep the food healthier and give it a pleasant aroma.
Earthen pots are environmentally friendly since the substance decomposes without harming the environment. They are produced from clay and other soil types, and because they are essentially built from the soil, they degrade easily.
Clay pots can be found in practically every section of the country. They come in a variety of forms and sizes, so you may choose the one that best suits your needs. Earthen pots are very inexpensive, allowing you to prepare hearty meals without spending a lot of money.
5. Provide Minerals
Iron, phosphorus, magnesium, and a variety of other minerals can be found in clay pots. Iron, calcium, magnesium, and sulphur are added to food cooked in earthen pots, all of which are essential for human health.
Disadvantages of Using Clay Pots for Cooking
1. Clay Pots Are Delicate
Clay pots are delicate and can crack when exposed to heat. You must regularly monitor the heat when slow cooking in your clay cooking pot. The sides of the pot will shatter if the heat distribution is uneven. Therefore, maintaining an even temperature is crucial! Because of its fragile nature, cooking in a clay pot can be exhausting.
If you don’t keep an eye on the temperature, your clay pot may fracture during cooking because of the fast temperature fluctuation. While cooking meals in the clay pots, keep the microwave oven or low flame on the stove at a consistent temperature. Note that if you are buying a new microwave oven, to check if it has power changing features and how low can their power be adjusted to. However, in most cases this should not be an issue as even budget microwave ovens have some sort of power settings.
2. Clay Pots Are Porous
Clay pots, unlike ceramic cookware, cannot be cleaned in the same way. Furthermore, you cannot clean the food residue with soap. If you do, the food residue will become contaminated; soap will absorb into the pores and stay there. In fact, your slow-cooked food may have a soapy flavour.
3. Clay Pots may Cause Change in Flavor
Clay pots have long been a symbol of cuisine with a traditional flavour. On the other hand, clay pot cooking might be a problem when making flavorful curries.
The more seasonings you put in the meal, the more flavour your clay pot absorbs. The spices will absorb into the pores, leaving a scent in the pot. In addition, the porousness of the pot will contribute to the appearance of stains from curries.
After the flavour has settled in your pot, it may interfere with the flavour of other dishes.
4. Clay Pots Can Get Hot Quickly
Cooking food in clay pots requires caution because they heat up quickly and might burn the hands. It does, however, cool down rapidly. As a result, keep your kids out of the kitchen when you’re cooking with clay pots.
Because clay cookware is sensitive to thermal shock (with the exception of some brands of flameware and Chinese clay pots insulated with metal wire), exercise extreme caution when heating it.
5. Clay Pots (Glazed) Can Give Rise to Health Concerns
Clay is a porous substance by nature. It may cause the cooking process to slow down and become less functional. Cleaning a pure clay pot might be challenging in particular situations. As a result, the industry devised a lead-based glazing process.
The natural texture of unglazed clay will give you a traditional feel. On the other hand, glazed clay pots ensure a proper cooking process and improved usefulness.
It will also make cleaning the texture much easier! However, these glazes will have a negative impact on your health.
Cooking in clay pots is healthier, easier, and cheaper. It also gives you a sense of connection with your ancestors, as it is one of the oldest cooking methods in history.
Cooking in clay pots is a healthy alternative to using aluminum or non-stick pots and pans. The health benefits are clear, but the disadvantages should not be overlooked either.