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Clay Cookware

Clay Cookware: How to Care for It

Initial seasoning

The initial seasoning takes only about 15 minutes of hands-on time. The pot will continue to season itself with each use. For the first couple of times you use the pot, it’s more delicate. Cook soup dishes (rice, oatmeal) until you feel your pot is well seasoned. You’ll notice food sticks a bit. Don’t worry, it will get better with time. Try using a lower heat to help with initial sticking.

Miriam’s instructions

Miriam’s cookware comes with excellent instructions — follow them carefully. Be sure to use a diffuser when seasoning, even if you have a gas stove. To get the flour and water to completely dissolve and form a beautiful thick paste, first mix the flour with a few ounces of water, then add the mixture to the remaining water.

The final step is to apply a coat of cooking oil to the outside walls. I use expeller expressed coconut oil because it doesn’t go rancid. Miriam says to put it on the outside of the pot — but not the bottom.

Is it necessary to leave a thin coating of seasoning/flour mix on the bottom and sides of the pot?

“No, you don’t have to let any of the seasoning stay in the pot. After seasoning, the pots can be cleaned off thoroughly and any residue scrubbed off. The seasoning process itself is what helps the pot to shrink ever so slightly and prepares it for cooking your food.” (from Miriam’s website)

Everyday cleaning

Use a quality pot

This is true of almost any time of cookware. Quality pots are easier to clean.

Hand wash

Hand washing clay is recommended. Do not use soap. Soap would get into the porous clay.

Cold water

Dairy cleans up best with cold water. After it is clean, you can rinse with warm water if you like.

Pot scrubbers

First I used something that wasn’t abrasive enough, then I used some too abrasive (my water was turning clay colored), finally I found a few scrubbers that seemed just right. Miriam likes to use natural scrubbers with natural clay pots – such as gourd loofahs.

Stubborn spots

If you have a stubborn spot, let a baking soda and water paste sit on the spot for about 5 minutes. Then scrub and rinse off. Sometimes a metal spoon is helpful to scrape a stubborn spot off.

Air drying

Simply air drying is fine in most cases, but if room is very humid and/or someone has cooked in the pot 2-3 hours, then wiping down with towel expedites the drying process, especially when new, and reduces or eliminate mold growth. Even when pot has been holding yogurt for a week it made be saturated with moisture, in that case wiping down expedites drying and helps with mold issues.

MEC

Storing — avoid mold

Store only when completely dry.

“Store with lid open and in a well ventilated place. Avoid storing in closed or damp areas. Occasionally (once every 2 months), it’s also a good idea to dry your pots on the stove top at the lowest setting for 5-10 minutes or until warm to touch on the outside, before putting away. The pots can be stacked one inside the other.” (From Miriam’s website)

Miriam says it’s best to have air on all sides of the clay pot if the pot is in a damp location. Even though mold can easily be removed, you don’t want it in the first place.

We’ve seen that storing a washed pot on any slightly elevated spot like a dish rack, the grate on a gas stove etc. works better. Also this happens (mold) more in places or kitchens with a higher humidity level — for some reason that’s the case in kitchens with electric burners. Kitchens with gas stoves seem to be doing fine.

Miriam’s Earthen Cookware

Avoid sudden & extreme temperature changes — avoid cracks

Let the pot and food cool down to room temperature before putting the pot into the refrigerator

When taking the pot out of the refrigerator, let it come close to room temperature before putting it on the stove.

Steam cleaning — once every few months

Why steam the pot?

My yogurt clay pot after steam cleaning. Lots of toxins (brown bubbles) were brought to the outside of the pot.
I use this pot solely for yogurt making. I purchase the best grass fed milk I can find and heat it in this pot. I was surprised to see how many toxins came out of the clay when I steam cleaned the pot. I’ve heard many times, toxins are concentrated in animal fat – and milk contains lots of animal fat. My pot was definitely in need of steam cleaning. I decided to clean my pot a second time since the first cleaning removed so much. However, the second time didn’t remove any toxins (e.g. no brown bubbles on the outside of the pot).
Thank you pot for removing these toxins, else that would have been extra work for my body.
  • The pours of the pot are get clogged over time making it harder for the clay to remove toxins from the food. Miriam steams her pot every 4-5 months to reopen the pours. You’ll know its time to steam your pot when you get fewer and fewer black/brown bubbles on the outside of the pot.
  • To speed the adjustment of your pot from one type of cooking to another (e.g. to convert a yogurt pot to a grain pot).
  • To removed flavors absorbed by the clay. (For the most part, flavors being transferred via the clay is a very good thing).

How to steam clean the pot

Put about 1″ of water in the pot. You can put the lid on to bring it up to a boil faster. However, once at a boil, remove the lid and let it steam and gently boil for 10-15 minutes. Then pour out the boiled water and let the pot cool down naturally. Wipe dry and it’s ready for use. MEC writes “just one boil should be enough”. MEC also says that if you’re using homogenized or ultra pasteurized milk, the clay may not be able to remove the toxins.

Do I need to do anything special if my clay cookware hasn’t been used in awhile?

Yes. “Let it soak in water for about 20 minutes and apply some cooking oil to the outside and inside of the pot while it’s in the water. Let it dry and then you can start cooking with it.” (from Miriam’s website).

Is it necessary to get new clay cookware after some time?

Yes and no. Miriam does not personally replace her pots, but some people do. See her detailed response here.

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