How to Season Miriam’s Earthen Cookware
- 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 water pot, do not coat the outside with oil. You want the pot to breath as much as possible – no worries about it drying out.
- You can start cooking. Follow special advise below for the first 4-6 uses.
The first 6-12 uses
- Use only on stove top (not oven).
- Even if you have a gas stove, continue to use your diffuser.
- Always start on low heat (#2) for 5 minutes. Don’t go above medium-low (#4).
- If possible, use your pot at least every day or two for the first couple of times. If this is not possible, just wash & wipe down the pot with a cotton cloth and heat it [the empty pot] on the stove-top at the lowest setting with the lid off, till you feel the rim is hot [warm]. Then you can store the pot away.
- Cook wet vegetarian recipes on the stove – rice, any grain, soups, stews, lentils, steaming vegetables, etc. Do not simply boil water. (My friend Jenn tried simply boiling water and heard slight cracking sounds. When you cook with a vegetarian recipe, you don’t hear any sounds.)
- When done cooking, empty the pot immediately – else food will seep into the pores of the pot because the pot is not fully seasoned. Do not add water to the pot to absorb heat. (This completely contradicts the rules for a fully seasoned pot where you try to leave some food in the pot, or if you empty the pot completely, add a cup of water to absorb heat).
- Food will stick some. After a few uses the pan becomes naturally non-stick.
- You’ll notice a wonderful earthy smell when gently heating the pots. This smell decreases as the pot gets more seasoned and eventually goes away.
- It is especially important not to water log your pot at this time. For example if you soak beans in your pot for a few hours and then cook the beans in the same pot, the pot will be too water logged.
- Cooking times will be 5-10 minutes longer.
- Don’t cook longer than 1 hour.
Read next few sections (through Avoiding cracks)
Your pot is more delicate until it is more fully seasoned – reading these sections can avoid problems.