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Clay Cookware

Clay Cookware: Problem Solving

Mold

Make sure pot is thoroughly dried before storing

  • Dry pot and then air dry on the kitchen counter.
  • Gently heat the pot on the stove top until the rim at the top rim gets warm.
  • If it’s a sunny day, leave the pot outside for a few hours.

Store pot with the lid off. If necessary, you can also raise the pot on a wire trivet to get better circulation under the pot.

Storing the pot in a damp basement can be problematic.

As my pot gets more and more seasoned, mold is less of an issue.

Food sticking

Pot not completely seasoned, or heat too high.

With sometime delicate like eggs, cook them until they are almost done and let them finish cooking on no heat.

Brown droplets or bubbles

Miriam explains this phenomena in a blog post — I Sometimes See Some brown Droplets or Bubbles being squeezed onto the Outside Of The Pot, What Is That?

The clay is drawing out the toxins which get stored in the milk fat.

Basically all is well and the clay is doing what clay is suppose to do, push toxins which are in the food and water to the outside of the pot. These bubbles easily clean off.

Most clay pots can not push these toxins out the way Miriam’s can. Miriam explains “The micro-pores are somehow clogged with vita clay.  It’s not primary clay and has additives mixed to the clay and is treated in some way with iron oxide.  So it cannot eliminate the toxins like MEC can.”

Bottom of pot is turning very black

The bottom of the pot will naturally turn black from stove top cooking. However, if it is looking very black and burnt, that means your stove heat is too high. Never use anytime above medium heat with a clay pot. On my gas stove, which is quite powerful, I find I don’t need to go above 3.

A hairline crack

Clay pot with hairline crack on the inside
A hairline crack – it’s just on the inside of the pot.

I think my crack was caused by heating my pot on a gas stove for too long on too high of heat without using a diffuser before the pot was fully seasoned.

The crack is only on the surface and should not affect the functioning of the pot in any way. It will heal over time.

Miriam’s Earthen Cookware

I know clay is amazing, but it impressed me that hairline cracks can “heal”.

A substantial crack

You notice your pot dripping liquid when this happens. The larger the pot, the more sensitive it is if you don’t follow Miriam’s instructions.

Miriam has two methods for fixing larger cracks.

  • See her website post “I see a crack, is there a way I can fix it?
  • Make a rice paste and push into the crack on both sides of the pot. A rice paste is just cooked rice (e.g. basmati) smooched between your fingers.

MEC: “The large pot will heal with repeated use, try not using it at higher temperatures for some time (and avoid watery broths in it for some time).”

Crack in my large broth pot

Large clay pot after wrapping a copper wire under the rim.

I think my crack was due to two things:

  • Making multiple batches of broth back to back. The clay gets very water logged. When you heat a water logged pot full of bones and water, the heat forces the water in the clay out. This can cause cracking as well. Miriam suggests between broth batches that you dry out your pot on the stove. Just put the empty pot on the stove and use low heat for 5-10 minutes.
  • I usually get three batches of quality gelled broth when I include pig’s feet. Sometimes I don’t get all three batches done in the same day, and I put my pot and bones outside overnight (instead of the refrigerator). I was in a hurry and thought I could very gently heat the pot. Miriam says to always bring the pot to room temperature before heating it.

My worst crack so far

Clay pot with a very bad crack
My worst crack so far — using the pot on a faulty glass-top stove burner

I loaned my small clay pot to a friend. She had just moved and wasn’t familiar with her glasstop stove. The burner she placed it on was erratic, and even though she used the SimmerMat, a giant crack appeared.

This time when I put the copper wire just under the rim, it was a two person job. One person squeezed the crack together, and the other person worked the wire.

Even with the wire, the pot leaked water. I used the rice paste method.

Chipped rim

I don’t know what happened, but one day when washing my pot I noticed some chips under the rim.

MEC: It looks like it may have happened because of impact? It should not cause any issues, please apply some cooking oil and smooth out with a 210 gauge sanding paper if possible. You might have to rub it a few times to smooth out. But if it doesn’t bother you, just applying some oil and rubbing it in with a cloth will do.

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