What are the benefits of cooking in clay pots?

Is there room in your kitchen for one more kitchen utensil? Whether there is or not, I'm going to suggest that you make space for a clay pot.

As you’ve probably guessed from the name, clay pots are made from earthenware clay. They have a number of unique properties that distinguish them from metal pots. The first is that clay is porous. This means that moisture and heat circulate through the pot during cooking.

The most unique thing about clay pot cooking is that you soak the pot in water before using it. Then, while cooking, the pot gradually releases steam.

This cooks your food in a particularly moist way, and it means you can use less liquids and oils when cooking. Clay pots are also slightly alkaline, which will reduce the acidity of foods (such as tomato sauce) that you make in it. 

Cooking with a clay pot does a couple of things for the flavor and texture of the food you’re cooking. Because of the steam, meats stay moist and tender. A clay pot can cook delicious whole chickens, pork chops, corned beef, pot roasts, and other slow-cooked meals. Meats will come out juicy and flavorful, and because most clay pots are large, you can cook any vegetables alongside them. 

Clay pots are also very popular for baking artisan bread. The porous clay will absorb some of the moisture from the surface of the loaf of bread without allowing all the steam to escape the dough. This results in bread with a really crispy crust.

If you’re a bread baker, you know this can be difficult to accomplish in the oven. A clay pot makes it easier to produce the perfect crust and comes out with consistently great results.

Health Benefits of Clay Pot Cooking

  1. Foremost health benefits of clay pot cooking come from its ability to circulate steam throughout cooking. This provides plenty of moisture and means that you can cook with less oil and fat.

  2. Since clay is alkaline in nature, when food is cooked it neutralizes the PH balance of the food and hence acts as a natural detox. You will be surprised to know that mud contains all the possible vitamins; even Vitamin B12.

  3. Reheating the food always leads to loss of nutrition but if you cook in a clay pot, it retains the temperature for a longer time and there’s no need to worry about reheating. Hence, there is no need to transfer it to a casserole before serving.

  4. Preserves nutrients: Unlike other metal or aluminum pots, heat and moisture circulate through the pot during cooking. It leads to a majority of the nutrients getting preserved instead of evaporating.

  5. Slow and even cooking: For dishes that need slow cooking, clay is the best option available in natural cookware.

  6. Less oil is used since the food gets cooked in its own oils and liquids.

  7. Cookware from clay is inert in nature and doesn’t react much with food.

  8. Food prepared in clay generally stays warm for a longer time - up to 3-4 hours.

  9. Natural sweetener: Clay acts as a natural sweetener and any acidic foods like potatoes, meat, and rice will take some natural sweetness from the earthenware pot. This is the reason why liquids like water, tea and coffee taste better in clay than any other vessel.