How to Season Miriam’s Clay Pots and Pans
MEC pots and pans must be seasoned before their first use. Seasoning shrinks the pot ever so slightly and prepares it for cooking food. The instructions that come with Miriam's pots are simple and fast, and they work. These instructions have a few extra steps and there is more "resting time", but they produce a slightly better seasoned pot. Miriam chooses to keep her basic instructions simple because most people want to use the pot immediately. Personally, I follow these instructions for all my pots.
- SimmerMat or diffuser
- MEC Clay pot or pan
- water ideally filtered, enough to fill the pot ¼ full
- 1-2 tbsp flour – wheat, rice, arrowroot,etc.; gluten free options: oatmeal, squash nut flour/paste, bean flour like chickpeas, etc. 1 tbsp for small and medium pots; 2 tbsp for large and extra large pots; When seasoning a pot that is solely designed to hold, cool & energize water, use flour with minimal flavor.
- 1-2 tbsp plant derived oil coconut, sesame, olive
- Thoroughly wet & rinse the pot and lid under running water. (Some other pots use secondary and tertiary clay. With these you need to soak them in water over night. Miriam uses primary clay – which produces a much better heat and cooking result. Do not soak her pot before seasoning. Soaking might water log the pot and result in a possible crack)
- Let water drain off and wipe the bottom dry with a cotton cloth.
- Fill the pot ¼-⅓ full with water – filtered is best.
- Place pot on the stove – but sure to use a diffuser,
- Cover pot with its lid.
- Start on low heat for 5 minutes.
- Add flour to the water, stir, cover, and let it cook. I find my flour/water mixture does not get so clumpy, if I first mix the flour with an ounce of water, and then add the mixture to the remaining water. (For mixing you can use a wisk, wooden spoon, or other utinsil that doesn't scratch the pot)Adding a few drops of vegetable oil at this point is optional. It makes clean up slightly easier and benefits the pot a bit. Miriam will usually add oil when seasoning her pots.Initially Miriam added some turmeric to the mixture. Traditionally this was done to help purify the clay, but Miriam's clay is pure and thus turmeric is unnecessary.
- Increase heat to medium after 5 minutes.
- Cook this mixture on medium heat till it thickens to a broth (consistency of milk or orange juice or slightly thicker). If it gets much thicker, that's fine too. Cook time varies according to the type of flour used.
- Turn stove off and wait for it to cool down, preferably wait overnight.
- The next morning, pour broth out, scrub & wash off any residue from the seasoning and wipe pot dry.
- Using your hands, apply a coating of vegetable oil on the entire outside of the pot – walls and bottom. Let the pot sit upside down over night and then the next morning wipe off any extra oil and start cooking.If you are in a hurry, you can just apply oil to the sides of the pot and start cooking immediately. The oil helps the pot develop a uniform patina (finish) as it ages and also helps protect the clay so it doesn't dry out. If seasoning a pot for water storage, do not coat the outside with oil. You want the pot to breath as much as possible – no worries about it drying out. Also, be sure to read Section 11: Non cooking uses for a clay pot to learn more about water storage.
- You can start cooking. Be sure to follow the advice below – "The first 6-12 times you use your clay cookware"
If this is your first time seasoning and using clay – and – you have purchased multiple pots, consider seasoning and learning on one pot, then season the remainder pots. There are many clay pot seasoning techniques on the Internet. If you have pots from MEC, use these instructions. WikiHow has a seasoning example with one of Miriam’s pots. You can use the same broth to season multiple pots. Just add 1 cup of water.