Pottery has been associated with the ancient civilizations in India. Since then, clay pots have played an integral role in shaping the culinary culture of the country.
Have you ever ventured into your grandmother’s kitchen? If so, then you may have seen her making delicious recipes in earthen cookware. Tasting those delectable dishes, you might have felt a magical sensation.
However, people have started to speculate about the safety of clay pots. So, what are the disadvantages of cooking in clay pots?
This article will tell you about the disadvantages and advantages of clay pot cooking. Moreover, you will get to know how to choose clay cookware!
The advantages of cooking in a clay pot will outweigh the disadvantages. However, you should know the major drawbacks of such pots. Here are the Six Disadvantages of Cooking in Clay Pots:
1. Contamination to Purity
Due to modern manufacturing techniques, the purity of clay pots has been compromised.
The clay cooking pot you will find in the market will have a mixture of elements. Manufacturers make these pots using clay from different areas of deposits. Hence, the transportation will infuse foreign materials in the clay.
These may include impurities, iron oxide, and traces of metal. Some of these materials can be harmful to your health.
So, impure clay pots can have substances that are dangerous for the body. You might find cheap clay pots claiming to be pure. However, when buying such pots, ensure to get them from a reputable brand.
2. Porousness of Clay Pots
Unlike ceramic cookware, you cannot clean clay pots in the same manner. Moreover, you cannot use soap to clean the food residue. If you do so, then the soap will seep into the pores and stay there. And, your slow-cooked food might taste like soap!
The porous nature of these pots will also slow down their functionality. Yet, that did not seem to be an issue for over a millennium.
3. Glazed Clay Pots Can Give Rise to Health Concerns
As mentioned earlier, clay is a naturally porous element. It may slow down the cooking process and make it less functional. In some cases, you might find cleaning a pure clay pot to be difficult. So, the industry came up with a lead-based glazing technique.
Unglazed clay will retain its natural texture and provide a traditional vibe. However, glazed clay pots ensure a proper cooking process and better functionality.
Cooking in a glossy and attractive lead-glazed pot will expose you to toxic lead.
4. Earthen Pots are Fragile
Clay pots are delicate and can crack during heat absorption. While slow cooking in your clay cooking pot, you need to regularly keep an eye on the heat.
Exposure to uneven heat distribution will make the sides of the pot crack. Therefore, maintaining an even temperature is crucial! So, cooking in a clay pot can be tiresome due to its fragile nature.
You would need to have the patience to increase or decrease the heat while cooking gradually.
5. Flavor Problems in the Clayware
Clay pots have been an icon in imparting traditional essence in food. However, clay pot cooking can be an issue if you cook flavourful curries.
The more flavors you add to the dish, the more your clay pot will absorb. The spices will seep into the pores, and the pot will retain that essence. Furthermore, the porousness of the pot will play a role in creating stains from curries.
Once the flavor has settled in your pot, it can hamper the taste of other recipes.
6. Heat Absorption is Very High
Do you want to burn your hands while cooking? Well, of course not!
With clay pots, you may have the risk of burning your hands. So, being careful while cooking food will be a wise decision. Moreover, such pots can cool down easily. But to be safe, you should keep them away from children.
Advantages of Cooking in Clay Pots
With all its disadvantages, clay pots still have a lot of advantageous features as well. So, why is it safe to use clay pots for cooking?
- Versatile and inexpensive cookware
- Environment-friendly utensil
- It can retain moisture and makes the food aromatic
- Wide variety of shapes, sizes, and designs
- Helps promote a healthy diet
- Great resistance to heat
- Infuses food with nutrients and balances the pH level
In Asian subcontinent countries, people harness these advantages to create an earthy flavored dish. They use sweetened milk and rice powder to make an ancient recipe.
Insight into Clay Pots – An Exciting Trip through History
Since 400 BC, the art of pottery has been around in the handicraft industry. Prehistoric humans discovered the sturdiness of hardened clay by mistake. Therefore, giving rise to sturdy containers that later evolved into pots.
The hardened form of this molded pottery was sturdy enough for storing food and water. The earthen texture of this utensil was deemed to be basic.
So, then came the age of decorative elements carved into these pots!
The Egyptians were the first-ever users of clay pots. Furthermore, the ancient Greeks considered clay decorations to be desirable and holy.
In the medieval era, people mixed clay and sand to make earthen pots for cooking purposes. Since then, people worldwide have been using clay pots to infuse a delectable aroma in their food.
Indians refer to these pots as “Handis or Matkas.” You will find such pots at every home in rural India.
People used these clay pots as they could neutralize the acidity level in food. Therefore, making slow-cooked dishes healthy.
It has unique properties that help with the cooking process. However, there are a few disadvantages that were not noticeable 12,000 years ago.
Choosing the Right Clay Pot
Are you interested in buying a clay pot for your culinary endeavors? Keep these tips in mind to choose the finest quality of clay pots.
- Choose a clay pot from reputable companies
- Make sure it is pure clay (100% clay tag)
- Pre-production purity testing is crucial
- Choose an unglazed clay pot for cooking
- Analyze and understand the different types of clay pots
Understanding the Different Types of Clay Pots
While researching, you will find a wide range of clay pots available in the market. So, understanding the types is important.
- Stoneware – Durable material resistant to cracking and chipping. (Can withstand high temperatures)
- Earthenware – It contains impurities due to its soft, porous, and earthy texture. (Can withstand low temperature)
- Porcelain – Made from the purest clay called Kaolin. These are flameproof or thermal clay and are microwave-proof. (Can withstand very high temperatures)
Pure Clay Pots vs. Ceramic Pots
|Pure Clay Pot||Ceramic Pot|
|Has a rust-colored and earthy texture||Painted, shiny, and glazy texture|
|Comprises of all-natural and non-industrialized clay||Manufactured from porcelain, terracotta, and stoneware|
|Naturally made using pottery techniques||Mechanized processing|
|Contains natural ingredients||Infused with chemicals in the form of paint|
|Keeps food healthy and infuses it with nutrition||It might react with food and make it toxic|
|Excellent heat resistance||Moderate heat retention|
FAQs About Clay Pots
Do you have more questions about clay pots? If so, this section is curated just for you!
Is cooking in clay pots safe?
Yes! Cooking food in pure clay pots is safe. However, the taste may differ, and it requires proper supervision while cooking. Clay pots tend to overheat, which can be a hazard if you are not careful.
Is it good to cook in clay pots?
Yes! Clay vessels are environment-friendly and make the food aromatic. Furthermore, it infuses the food with various healthy nutrients. These pots will retain the oil content in your food, making it tastier and healthier.
You can use clay pots for steaming, roasting, braising, and baking!
Glazed or unglazed clay pots – which should you choose?
Choosing an unglazed clay pot will be a safer option for cooking. Glazed pots have lead-infused in them. So, when you heat these pots, the lead seeps into your food and makes it toxic.
What are the different types of clay pots?
There are three different types of clay pots that you can choose from:
Can you check to see if the clay pot is toxic?
You can add some water and baking soda to the pot and let it boil. After a few minutes, turn off the heat source. Consequently, let the water cool down before tasting it.
If you have a rubbery or chemical taste to the water, then the pot is impure. Furthermore, you can even see metals swimming around in the water.
Clay pots have been in existence for centuries. Ancient civilizations have used it for cooking, storing, and other purposes. Moreover, it has unique features and benefits that infuse into a cooked meal.
But the disadvantages of cooking in clay pots are serious enough and need to be addressed. Cooking in clay pots can maintain the food’s pH level and keep it healthy. At the same time, using an impure pot can cause harmful effects to your health.
So, choosing the purest form of clay, irrespective of its porousness, is crucial.
This way, you can get a clay pot that suits your needs, and you can start your cooking adventure. Earthen pots will infuse your food with a delectable aroma and a traditional essence.