Do you know that 25,000 years ago our ancestors used to cook their food in clay pots i.e. clayware/earthenware itself? Throughout the time we all have shifted to other cookware’s like Brass, Bronze, steel, aluminum to name a few.
Have you ever bothered to think about why our forebears used clay pots to cook their food? We should look out for the difference in the food prepared in clayware’s and other cookware.
Clay pots are not only cheap and easily available utensils, they also provide numerous health benefits to your body. So without any further delay, let’s dive deep into the seven benefits of clay pots for cooking and try to switch to them to reap their advantages :
1. Retains nutritional value
This is one of the major benefits of clay pots for cooking. It is scientifically proven that due to the pores present in Clay pots which regulate the heat and moisture throughout the cooking process, the nutritional value of the food remains at 100%. Whereas, in other utensils like Alumminuimware, the nutritional value remains by 7- 13% only.
2. Adds up minerals to food
Clayware owns more than 16 natural minerals which are beneficial for health and have been found deficient in a major part of the current population. These nutrients include calcium, phosphorus, Magnesium, Iron, Copper, and Manganese presented in the right quantities.
Therefore, Preparing food in clay pots will weigh up its mineral content, making your food healthiest. It also helps in the prevention of various diseases like Bronchitis, Asthma, and Cancer.
3. Neutralizes the acidic value
One of the health benefits of clay pots for cooking is they are of alkaline nature which leads to neutralizing the acidic value of food, Hence preventing stomach irritation or digestion-related problems.
4. Keeps Bacteria away
During an experiment conducted in a government laboratory, it is revealed that food (lentil) cooked in a clay pot survived a 36-hour non-air-conditioned train journey on a hot day without spoiling its nutritional value. Clay is hostile to the growth of certain kinds of bacterias making its utensils a barrier to bacterias preventing them from spoiling your food.
5. Uses less oil
Clay holds the property of natural absorbent as it absorbs the oil. After 2 – 3 uses of your clayware, Clay pots will naturally retain all its oils and moisture of food, therefore you wouldn’t require extra oil and fat to maintain the moisture in your food, promising your food to be more healthy.
6. Makes food more delicious
You must have heard this saying by old people that lower the flame, tastier the food. The natural aroma of clay and the slow cooking process claywares take to prepare food adds up 10 times better taste in the food as compared to other cookware which is one of the great benefits of clay pots for cooking.
7. Keeps water cool
You can store RO water in clay water bottles and due to the presence of numerous minerals in clay, they will naturally get added up in your water. The open pores of clay bottles will allow the process of evaporation, hence making the water cool genuinely and also helps you to prevent diseases like colds, cough, and sinusitis.
Now you have seen the benefits of clay pots for cooking, you can easily determine why clayware’s were popular in ancient times. If you want your food to be healthiest and tastiest then without a second thought, switch to clay pots which are inexpensive and easily available as well!
Benefits of Cooking In a Clay Pot
Clay Pots Lend a Nice Flavour to Food
Clay pots are made of clay, which is alkaline in nature. This property enables it to interact with the acids in the food while cooking, thus balancing its pH. Not only do they make the food healthier but also lend a nice aroma to it. The food cooked in clay pots becomes rich in various minerals such as iron, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium etc.
Clay Pots Retain the Nutritive Value of Food
Clay pots are porous and allow the heat and moisture to circulate evenly during the cooking process. This lets the food retain more nutritive value than food prepared in other kinds of utensils. Also, meat prepared in clay pots remains juicy and tender.
Clay Pots Are Healthy for Your Heart
Excess use of oil for cooking is one of the leading causes of weight gain. If you wish to make your meals less oily, then clay pots are one of the best options because they require very less oil for cooking food. These pots take longer to heat and use a slower cooking process, helping to retain the natural moisture and natural oils present in the food.
Clay Pots Make Your Dish Aromatic
The actual aroma of the food is retained when cooked in an earthen or clay pot. This happens because of the porous nature of the clay pots and also because it uses a slow cooking process.
Clay Pots are Pocket-Friendly
Clay pots are readily available in almost all parts of the country. They come in different shapes and sizes, so you can pick the one best suited to your requirements. Earthen pots are also reasonably priced, enabling you to cook rich food without burning a hole in your pocket.
How To Use Clay Cookware?
Clay or earthen pots are available in glazed and unglazed forms. Where the glazed ones are ready to use, however, you will be required to prepare the unglazed ones before you use them for cooking. If you are wondering how to use earthen pots for cooking, here are some steps you should follow:
1. Preparing Clay Pots Prior to First Use:
- Take the earthen pot and immerse it in water for a couple of hours.
- You can also leave it immersed in a sink filled with water overnight.
- Remove from water and let the pot dry completely.
2. Seasoning Clay Pots:
- Take any vegetable oil and rub it nicely all over the pot.
- Fill the pot up to ¾ level with water and cover with the lid before placing it on your stove at low temperature for 2-3 hours. You can also keep it in your oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit instead.
- Bake the pot for 2 to 3 hours before removing from the heat. Let it cool down before washing. This process hardens the pot, makes it crack resistant and also helps in getting rid of the clay smell.
3. Before Cooking:
- Submerge the clay pot in water for approximately 15 to 20 minutes before cooking food so that the pot absorbs water. The steam released as the pot gets heated slowly helps in preventing the food from drying out while maintaining its natural flavours.
- Ensure proper temperature settings because a sudden increase or decrease in temperature may lead to cracks or breakage. Place the pot in the centre of the oven and let it slowly heat. Always cook food on low or medium heat.
4. While Cooking:
- The ideal cooking temperature should be between 190 degree Celsius and 250 degrees Celsius. Unlike metal cookware, clay pots take longer to heat, therefore, on an average, cook the food for 15 to 20 minutes longer in comparison to your regular pots.
- While cooking food in a clay pot, the temperatures need to be set approximately 40 degrees Celsius higher than your regular cookware. In case, the recipe has a longer duration, it is suggested that you cook on low heat.
- Never add cold water or cold spices while the pot is hot as it may lead to breakage or cracks. If required, add only warm water.
5. Post Cooking:
- Always use oven mittens or any kind of bakers pad to lift the hot pot.
- Place the pot on a mat, wooden surface or kitchen towel. Placing a hot pot on a cold surface may lead to cracks.
- Be careful of hot steam while removing the lid of the pot.
How To Clean Clay Cookware?
Taking care of your clay pot is important too, therefore, follow these simple steps while cleaning your earthen cookware:
- As far as possible, make sure you hand-wash the clay pots and avoid putting them in a dishwasher.
- Immerse the pot in warm water to loosen the bits of food.
- Do not use harsh chemical detergents and avoid excessive scrubbing.
- A mixture of baking soda and water can be applied to the pot for removing the strong smell of certain ingredients.
- If any kind of mould gets formed, put salt or baking soda on a scrub pad and gently remove the mould.
- Boil the pot in water for 20 to 30 minutes to unclog the pores.
- Never use detergent or soap to clean the clay pots. The pores may absorb the soap and lend a soapy flavour and taste to your dishes.