Question & Answers

This page contain answers to some frequently asked questions and also some ‘good-to-know’ information put into a question and answer format. The questions are divided into sub-categories to help navigate through the page easily. If you’re trying to quickly get an answer to a specific question or answer, you can search for it by entering one or two keywords on the FAQ search box on your right.

If there are answers to questions you don’t find here, please feel free to ask by sending an email here and we’ll be happy to get back to you ASAP!

 Shipping & Sales

Is it a flat rate shipping charge for all Orders?

The $19.00 shipping charge is for most orders. Here is how we calculate the shipping charges: If the shipping cost to us on your order is going to be up to $59.00 -- we charge the customer a flat rate of $19.00 From $60 to $89 -- The customer is charged a flat rate of $32.00. From $90 or more -- The customer is charged a flat rate of $59.00. About 60% of our orders fall in the 1st category. That's why we say $19.00 on most orders.

Do you sell your products in stores?

We currently don’t sell our products in stores because retail stores require a very high margin to handle their products. We market our cookware directly online to save you a lot of money.

Do you ship international and how long does it take?

Yes, we ship International!

International orders ship via USPS Priority Mail and take 1-4 days to leave our warehouse and reach their destination country within 6-10 business days thereafter. We have some of the best negotiated shipping charges, but if you can get a better rate because of an account/relationship with the carrier, please let us know and we can use that account or discounts for your shipment.

Making & Firing

Are your products the same as any other terracotta ware but without glaze?

Miriams Earthen Cookware is very different from other unglazed cookware including unglazed terracotta pots (that have the red color). The clay in those cases may have additives like plasticizers, feldspar, extenders, dyes, talc, mica, petalite, deflocculants etc. added during the processing of the clay and/or the making of the ware. Glaze would be an added disadvantage as it contains its own chemicals and toxins including lead and cadmium. No contaminants or toxins are added to the MEC clay, it’s pure and All-Natural clay with nothing added to it. Miriams Earthen Cookware is also the only cookware made from TESTED clay: Not only do we know that our clay is pure, we also test it so we can guarantee this to our customers.

Ceramic clay is fired to over 2000 Degrees and Pure-clay is fired only up to 2000 Degrees, Why?

Ceramic clay is a composition of different chemicals, chemically extracted inorganic minerals and metallic and nonmetallic elements so it needs to be fired to higher temperatures to fuse together all these separate foreign elements. Pure-clay is one single entity just as it is found in nature. All the nutrients in the clay are already bound together into one. The firing in this case is done only to completely eliminate chemically bound water (H2O). Since it’s already one body the clay gets vitrified quickly at a much lower temperature -- another reason why Pure-clay is a far more eco-friendly option!

Why Don’t you Glaze? What are Healthy Benefits of Unglazed Cookware?

Yes, there are several benefits to not using this toxic paint like substance to coat the cookware, Here are a few:  Glazing blocks the micro-pores and prevents the pots ability to breath.  A breathable pot is capable of so much more, for instance, it can make your yogurt thicker, naturally, let rice cook fluffy & soft (not sticky), let you cook without using oil (can’t cook without oil or grease on glazed cookware), extract toxins out of food, etc.

Also, they’re much easier to clean – without the glaze on the walls; a seasoned, breathable pot repels food from sticking.  Glaze is toxic and it doesn't make sense to coat a 100% pure & non-toxic raw material, used for cooking with a toxic & potentially dangerous one that's neither time-tested or proven to be safe.  Glazing also creates toxic waste & generates toxic fumes during firing that clearly would disqualify our product from being 100% non-toxic, and safe!

What is the difference between your pure clay pots and other cookware made from ceramic and flame ware?

The main difference is in the nature of the raw material.  The MEC clay has no additives, plasticizers, dyes etc.  It also has a natural orange to red glow to it when fired thus does not require glazing.  Flame ware and ceramic clay contain chemical additives and so in most cases are glazed.

Pure clay is also an excellent retainer of heat so all foods cook in medium heat, and stay warm for much longer.  And since the clay is inert, we can safely guaranteethat it's 100% healthy and non-toxic.

Terrasigillata, what kind of finishing is that?

We finish our pots using a thin slip made from very fine particles of the same clay and water (no additives), a method known as Terrasigillata. It was very important for the cookware not to come close to any kind of chemical glazes so we choose this time-tested, non-toxic method.  It gives a fine sheen and beautiful finish to our modern design of pots.

Features & Benefits

I read somewhere that clay pots need to be pre-soaked, why don’t we have to do it with MEC?

Our goal is to make the customers experience as comfortable as possible so you don’t put it aside because of lengthy pre-cooking steps.  So that you can use the pot as often as you want and need to without worrying about pre-soaking, we finish it by a process of hand burnishing the pot on a high spinning wheel.  Here the microscopic pores are closed as much as possible and the moisture in the food is locked inside much better than other pots that don’t go through this finishing step. With other pot because the pores are wide open the food can get quite dry especially if cooking in the oven, so you need to pre-soak the pot.

I accidentally let the pot get too dry and burnt the food, how can I clean it?

If you have accidentally burnt food, it can be cleaned off completely and used for cooking once again.  Here is how you can do this: Wet the pot thoroughly on the inside and out, sprinkle baking soda and spread it all over the surface of the pot with your hand or sponge.  Scrub and remove any burnt food residue by scraping with a metal spoon or a metal scrubber if need be.  Rinse the pot out and inspect it on the inside to see if any food is still stuck to the bottom.  If there is no food your pot is ready to be used again – wipe it dry with a cotton cloth and set it on the stove to cook or if you need to put it away, store it away in a dry and open place: on the stove top or on the counter top, etc. Upon inspection if you still find some food residue, try to remove it by scrubbing with a metal spoon.  Please note that the black stain will remain but any food residue should come off with the scrubbing.  If you’re having a hard time getting the food out, pour 1-2 cups of hot water in the pot (the water can be from the hot water faucet), let it sit for 5-10 minutes and then try scraping the food off, it should come off this way.   Hope this helps.

Do you sell your products in stores?

We currently don’t sell our products in stores because retail stores require a very high margin to handle their products. We market our cookware directly online to save you a lot of money.

Conventional cookware have steam holes on the lids, I don’t see it on your lids, why?

The harsh form of heat in conventional pots let moisture break into steam right from the start. And this steam that quickly builds up inside needs an escape or the pot could burst because the entire pot and lid get very hot and cannot condense it.

With pure clay moisture only breaks into steam when the food is almost cooked. The inside of the lid stays cool enough to melt steam and with the unique lid design it gets directed right back into your food. Because of the way steam is managed right inside the pot, there is no need for a hole to let it escape.

This feature is exclusive to pure-clay cooking and is one of the reasons why your food is so nutritionally dense -- the steam escaping the pot/pan is essentially water soluble nutrients, vitamins & minerals.

Is there a difference between Lead ‘FREE’ and having ‘NO’ Lead?

Yes, there is a difference between being "Lead FREE" and having "NO Lead". When an item is labeled "Lead free" it means there is still lead in it but it’s below the allowed limit of California Prop 65 (or other similar limits). While this may be an OK standard for things that don’t come in contact with food, with items that do (especially cooking pots/pans), it’s best to use things that have NO Lead at all.  If an item truly has NO Lead the manufacturer will be willing to show consumers the test results from a reliable laboratory, preferably in the USA (see our test results on the link). The other issue with the ‘Lead FREE’ label is that many items are made out of the country where results could be easily manipulated, so one can never know for sure what the actual levels are and whether or not it is indeed below California prop 65. We at MEC have ZERO tolerance to lead, cadmium or any other kind of contaminants. So the complete composition of our clay is tested to ensure it has NO Lead or Cadmium or any other toxins, nothing is added in the making process and they’re not glazed – this is how we are able to guarantee the product is truly 100% Non-Toxic.

Is it correct that MEC can be used for slow cooking taking only half the time?

That is correct, your MEC pots can be used for slow cooking and it can be done in ½ or less than half the time compared to a conventional crock pot/slow cooker. For example, if cooking a bone broth with beef bones it usually calls for 12-15 hours of cooking in a crock machine, this can be done in your MEC in about 3 hours! And your food cooks without ANY compromise on the nutritional value, in fact the food is even more nutritious because,

a. the heat cooking your food does not damage the nutritional cells and

b. There are absolutely no toxins in the pot that can react and leach into your food.

For the above example (bone broth), there is no need to add vinegar to extract the minerals, this unique form of heat is capable of bringing out all the nutrients without added vinegar. Also, in this case you will know when the broth is complete when you see meat on the bones fully cooked and falling off, the bones much softer and chewable, and if a pinch of turmeric was added, the bones will now hold the stain (turn from white to light yellow).

When slow cooking in MEC – Always use the pot with a diffuser and start on low and let food cook at that heat for 10 minutes, then increase to medium and let it cook till you see steam escaping from the pot. Reduce back to low and cook till done.

How is Steam Managed So Well Inside MEC Pots?

The steam leaving a cooking pot is essentially water soluble vitamins and minerals (9 out of the 13 vitamins and minerals are water soluble), and in most cases with conventional cookware almost all of it is lost during the cooking process. With MEC however, the special design of the pot & lid uniquely allow steam to circulate inside and let food cook with its own steam pressure.  The straight walls of the pot, the pot being made in concentric circles, the inner flute on the lid and a cool underside of knob allow for steam to rise, get condensed and drop right back into the pot. Also, unlike metals that first transfer heat throughout the body of the metal, pure-clay pots transfer heat from the bottom of the pot to the food before the walls or lid can get hot.  The heat emitting from the pot is extremely food-friendly -- it first spreads out evenly to every grain of food and gently cooks the food to more than half done before steam can be released. So with this type of cooking it's not a tight fitting lid that forces steam inside, rather, it is because of the features explained above that first delay the release of steam and then perfectly manage it by the process of condensation. Steam only escapes from the pot if there is an excessive amount built up inside and it's a good indicator to reduce the fire at that point so food can cook with its own steam pressure. Tags: Steam locking, Steam management

Is your cookware lead and cadmium free?

Not only is our cookware lead and cadmium "free", it has NO lead, cadmium or any heavy metals.  We adhere to the highest selection and testing standards to ensure our clay is pure.  . Our raw material--pure & all-natural clay, is a composition of nutrients & micro-nutrients essential to the body.  We only use clay from far less populated and non-industrialized areas. We further discard the top soil and use what is beneath one to two feet of ground. We also don’t glaze our pots with chemicals because glazing is another way for clay ware to get contaminated with lead/cadmium and other harmful chemicals.

Usage | Cooking & Care

How can I use MEC pots for slow cooking in the oven?

You can also use MEC for slow cooking in the oven and the food can cook without much monitoring and much faster. Also, the fact that you can fit more than one pot at a time inside is a clear advantage over using the slow cooker machine. Here is how to do this: Put all your ingredients together in the pot and set temperature to ‘bake’ at 200 – 230 D Fahrenheit and set timer — a little known feature that lets you use the oven for timed cooking much like a programmable slow cooker – choose 3-4 hours for meats or 1-2 hours for vegetarian recipes, beans or when cooking grains. Once the set hours are complete the oven will automatically turn to warm (in most cases, 170 D F) and in a few hours will shut off. With most ovens, you can also set a delayed start. We encourage you to read the oven’s manual to find any other information while setting this up.

Why is cooking the same recipes on the stove-top with MEC healthier than cooking for long hours in a slow cooker?

Traditional crock machine recipes are healthier when cooked in MEC on the stove-top because:
  1.  Long hours of cooking in metal or ceramic pots is one of the best ways to let chemicals like cadmium, lead, petalite (lithium) and metal ions [Al-Aluminium, Ni-Nickel (steel), Ti- Titanium (steel), MO - molybdenum (steel), Cr-Chromium (steel), Fe-Iron (steel)] leach into your food.  While food is breaking down its bio-chemicals are available for reactivity, and that heat is conducive for such reactions.
  2. Heat generated from the traditional crock insert is harmful to the food tissue and destroys the vitamins, mineral and proteins.  One of the reasons why people switched to slow cooking was to prevent this, but the long hours of cooking does the damage anyway.
Cooking in MEC on the stove top does just the opposite.  Since the pot is 100% inert you don't have to worry about anything leaching into your food.  The food remains pure, & unaltered. The fact that they can cook any slow cooker recipe within 2 hours max, is another awesome benefit.  The unique far-infrared heat from MEC pots can cook the same food in less time on medium heat or less (stove top) than the many, many hours of cooking in the slow cooker.  And no, the shorter time or the higher heat does not damage nutrients in this case. Being made from "earth" MEC pots cook with heat that causes no damage to nutritional cells so all the nutrients are preserved intact. Most beans, lentils, soups cook within 40-50 minutes (compare it to 6-8 hours in a slow cooker).  Beef bone broth, a typical slow cooker recipe that takes 12 hours minimum in a slow cooker, can be done in 2 to 2.5 hours at the most (6 qt quantity).  The broth is fully done, the minerals extracted intact, and is more delicious and nutritious than traditional long hours of cooking. Off course one might think that the slow cooker is more "convenient", but what is convenience if its bad for our health and can make you sick?  And besides cooking in less time is what is truly convenient, all it takes is a little bit of planning.  If it means your food is going to be far more nutritious, non-toxic and healthy, it is totally worth making the switch. You can also use MEC for slow cooking in the oven and the food can cook without much monitoring and much faster. Also, the fact that you can fit more than one pot at a time inside is a clear advantage over using the slow cooker machine. Here is how to do this: Put all your ingredients together in the pot and set temperature to ‘bake’ at 200 – 230 D Fahrenheit and set timer — a little known feature that lets you use the oven for timed cooking much like a programmable slow cooker – choose 3-4 hours for meats or 1-2 hours for vegetarian recipes, beans or when cooking grains. Once the set hours are complete the oven will automatically turn to warm (in most cases, 170 D F) and in a few hours will shut off. With most ovens, you can also set a delayed start. We encourage you to read the oven’s manual to find any other information while setting this up.

I see pencil markings running from the edge of the lid to the rim of the pot/pan, what are they?

When making pure-clay ware without elasticizes, plasticizers or petalite (an ore of lithium).  Some lids may naturally warp slightly during firing.  For this reason we check and mark those pieces with a pencil, with the mark running from the edge of the lid to the rim of the pot.

Here are some answers to additional questions you might have:

1.Are products that have the pencil marks from the regular line?

Yes, we mark both the Regular and Alternate line.

 2.Won't the pencil marks eventually wash off? Then, you would not know how the lid should fit on that pot....

Yes, the pencil marks would eventually wash off but before then a.  with repeated use -- heating and cooling -- the pot/lid pair would 'settle' into a certain best fit position.  B.  When you see the mark fading you could easily re-mark the same place with the pencil.

3.If the pencil marks indicate the exact position that the lid should be sitting on the pot then other lids from other pots would not fit, correct? Hence, only a specific lid will fit with a specific pot.

There could be other lids that fit the pan/pot but in that given batch of firing this pair have the best fit.

I read somewhere that clay pots need to be pre-soaked, why don’t we have to do it with MEC?

Our goal is to make the customers experience as comfortable as possible so you don’t put it aside because of lengthy pre-cooking steps.  So that you can use the pot as often as you want and need to without worrying about pre-soaking, we finish it by a process of hand burnishing the pot on a high spinning wheel.  Here the microscopic pores are closed as much as possible and the moisture in the food is locked inside much better than other pots that don’t go through this finishing step. With other pot because the pores are wide open the food can get quite dry especially if cooking in the oven, so you need to pre-soak the pot.

I accidentally let the pot get too dry and burnt the food, how can I clean it?

If you have accidentally burnt food, it can be cleaned off completely and used for cooking once again.  Here is how you can do this: Wet the pot thoroughly on the inside and out, sprinkle baking soda and spread it all over the surface of the pot with your hand or sponge.  Scrub and remove any burnt food residue by scraping with a metal spoon or a metal scrubber if need be.  Rinse the pot out and inspect it on the inside to see if any food is still stuck to the bottom.  If there is no food your pot is ready to be used again – wipe it dry with a cotton cloth and set it on the stove to cook or if you need to put it away, store it away in a dry and open place: on the stove top or on the counter top, etc. Upon inspection if you still find some food residue, try to remove it by scrubbing with a metal spoon.  Please note that the black stain will remain but any food residue should come off with the scrubbing.  If you’re having a hard time getting the food out, pour 1-2 cups of hot water in the pot (the water can be from the hot water faucet), let it sit for 5-10 minutes and then try scraping the food off, it should come off this way.   Hope this helps.

What does it mean when you say the pot/pan is “fully seasoned”?

After the first seasoning it is recommended that you use them back-to-back a few times i.e use it often at least 3 to 4 times cooking wet recipes. This helps the pot to shrink slightly and will prevent it from holding moisture. 'Wet recipes' include making rice, quinoa, vegetable soups, stews, cooking lentils/beans, pasta, steaming vegetables etc.  Avoid cooking meat or non-vegetarian dishes while they are in this process.  Once fully seasoned you can use the pots to cook both vegetarian and non-vegetarian recipes. Also avoid dry or semi-dry cooking like roasting, or dry sauteing of spices etc. while still in this process. The pots are considered to be "fully seasoned" after it has been used this way a few times.  

When and Why do I need to use a Heat Diffuser?

A heat diffuser is used to spread heat evenly to the bottom of you MEC pot and/or pan.  Almost all automatic cooking ranges have a certain amount of unevenness to the way they distribute heat.  This is more so with electric stoves which is why a diffuser is a must use when cooking on electric stove-tops, like coil, glass or ceramic cook tops. A diffuser is recommended for gas stoves too (ones that burn with a flame), but these stoves disperse heat more evenly than electric.  So as long as you know that your gas stove disperses heat fairly evenly, you may not need a diffuser.  But if you’re unsure, we recommend using one. If using the pot for long hours of slow cooking either on gas or electric, please use a diffuser. Off course you don’t need to use a diffuser when cooking in the oven. You can see & get your diffuser towards the bottom of our MEC products page.

Why can’t I use a copper heat diffuser with my MEC pots?

Copper diffusers throw out a lot of heat and do so quite unevenly.  Usually the center could have a lot more heat than the outsides and this type of uneven and high heat could cause your pot to crack.  So avoid using a cooper diffuser with your MEC pure-clay pots and pans.  Diffusers made of cast iron, carbon steel or aluminum should work fine.  If using on glass/ceramic cook tops, we recommend this ventilated diffuser as opposed to a non-ventilated one.

Is there anything I can do with my damaged pot?

Please note 90% of cracks can be fixed, and the pots used again for cooking, here's how. But in case your's did not heal, here's what you can do with it: If your pot is still intact but has a crack that makes it unusable for cooking it can be used for various other things in your kitchen as a 100% non-toxic alternative. For storing Fruits & Veggies:  It can be used to store fresh fruits and vegetables in the fridge. Produce lasts longer and remain fresh because the inert pot prevents depletion of nutrients caused by EMF radiation (Electro-magnetic field radiation). Sprouting beans & lentils in a clay pot!It can also be used as an organic sprouter: Your beans/lentils will thrive in the breathable, nutrient rich pot and sprout more fully than in other vessels.  To use as a sprouter: soak your beans/lentils in a glass bowl for 12 hours, drain the water and put the beans in your MEC pure-clay pot.  Close the lid and put the pot in the oven.  Your beans will sprout in these pots with just the heat from cooking on the stove top.  In the winter, if need be, leave the oven light on to give some additional heat.  Your beans/lentils will sprout in 24 hours.  Most other sprouters are made out of plastic, take 5-7 days to sprout and need repeated water changing or adding water constantly. A natural refrigerator: Going camping? Or living off the grid & need a place to store fresh food for a few days?  Your damaged pot can make a great natural refrigerator.  Just wet the whole pot under running water for 2 minutes, drip dry and place the foods you need refrigerated: milk, fruits, vegetables, bread, etc. can be all stored in the pot and then dip the lid also in water and close the pot.  The pot & lid will let the water evaporate very slowly keeping the food inside cool and safe.  How long food can stay without going bad depends on the weather and your location, so date it 1st by storing small quantities. As a herb/vegetable planter: These 100% non-toxic pots make great planters in your kitchen or outside for all your herbs or small vegetable plants.  Plant and see your vegetation thrive in them. If fully damaged, they can be composted-they are 100% bio-degradable and compostable.  The nutrient rich all-natural clay enriches the soil where it's disposed.

Should I use different pots for different types of cooking?

Although it is not a must, we do recommend using different pots for different types of cooking.  Setting aside one pot for rice, other grains, soups, stews, etc. One for yogurt and milk/dairy deserts, jellies, jams preserves etc and if you like making your chai/tea, brewing your coffee or making other herbal decoctions in pure clay pot, it works best to set one aside for that.

Doing it this way lets the pot cook that specific type of food much faster and better each time.

What ‘Can’t’ I cook with MEC ware?

You can perhaps not use it for deep frying, but other than that your imagination is the limit to what you can do with your pots both on the stove top and in the oven. Our unique design and the other special features  let you use it for cooking rice, making soups, stews curries, steaming vegetables making casseroles, cooking beans, lentils even making the best yogurt and chai and other herbal teas.  We have heard from customers who have used their MEC clay pots on wood burning or coal stoves, on firewood stoves, in their slow cookers and solar ovens and love it!

I’ve read in a lot of places that clay pots need to be soaked for a long time, how come its different with your pots?

Our cookware is meant to be used on the stovetop and the oven.  With the type of finishing it lets you use the pot without having to soak each time, but if you choose to, you can go ahead and soak using in the oven but don’t soak it before cooking on stove top.  Click here to read more on how-to cook in your MEC clay pots...

I’ve never cooked in clay before, what should I expect to be different?

One significant difference you will see is how little monitoring is needed when cooking in you clay pot.  There is no cooking and boiling over that you’ll need to worry about, you will not hear any “sounds” or sudden “noises” that require your immediate attention.  The clay pot cooks food very silently.

Also, expect the pot to take about 15 -20 minutes longer when new and not "fully seasoned".  Once your pot is fully seasoned, it should take just about the same time to cook any given recipe.  Rice might take a few minutes longer.  Meats and lentils however generally cook faster than in metals.

Expect the food to be much juicier, meats to taste richer even without pre-seasoning, Lentils and beans to be much softer, whole and well cooked, Rice turns out fluffier, each grain separate from the other.

For more unique differences read our blog section under how-to tutorials for different types of clay cooking.

What is the ’green’ way to dispose the pot?

Since our pots are 100% bio-degradable & compostable, after their useful period which could be for decads long, you can safely dispose them by breaking it up into smaller pieces and use it as an all-natural fertilizer for your garden. Or if you are disposing it because of a small crack, you can instead reuse it for a storage pot, to store vegetables in your fridge. Vegetables and fruits retain their nutrients and remain fresh for a longer when stored in clay pots (covered with the lid) in the fridge or outside.

Can your cookware be used in the microwave?

Although they can be used in the microwave, we don’t recommend it as the pot can develop “hot spots” because of the uneven heat in the microwave.

Can I put the pot in the refrigerator?

Yes, they can go in the refrigerator.  Let the pot & food cool down a little bit, if possible to room temperature, before putting it into the refrigerator. And if you want to take it out to heat the food in the same pot, take it out a little ahead of time to sit outside and come close to room temperature before putting it on the stove.

What is the best way to wash my clay cookware?

Clay pots are very easy to clean! Most times you can wash it with plain water and a sprinkle of baking soda. Rarely does food stick to the bottom; and if that does happen, soak the pot in hot water and sprinkle baking soda let it sit for 10 minutes, clean and rinse it off. Avoid dishwashing.  And avoid using any toxic dish wasing soap.

What are the most important things I need to keep in mind when using my clay pot?

Please read Cooking & Care instructions for your clay pots before using your pot for the first time and have that as your reference till you fully get used to cooking with it. A few important things you need to keep in mind when cooking with your clay pot:
  1.  Increase heat gradually and only go up to medium heat settings.
  2. Always use with heat diffuser on electric stoves.
  3. Do not expose the pot to extreme temperature changes (very important!).
  4. Avoid washing the pot with toxic soap; instead use baking soda to wash.
Our clay cookware is fired up to 1800 to 2000 degrees Fahrenheit. After firing it loses all the moisture and gets transformed into hard and durable earthenware. it can go up to 450 degrees in the oven, just make sure you start with a cold oven and gradually increase the heat as you go along. They work beautifully in wood-fired ovens as well!

Troubleshooting

I’ve been using the pots for a long time and I see some oil seeping through to the bottom, what can i do to prevent this?

If you start the recipe with ghee and/or other animal fats, you may see this happen sometimes.  Because any animal fat (including ghee) has small amounts of toxins, they get pushed out during the cooking process, because of the non-toxic nature (negatively charged ions) of the pot.  To prevent this we recommend you add the oil/fats towards the end of the cooking process rather than the beginning.  This is also healthier because the fat does not get a chance to break down into trans-fat, and when added in the end you get its full taste.   Metals need oil as grease to prevent food from sticking, clay doesn't, instead you can use a sprinkle of water.  If any recipe calls for adding oil 1st, and if its a lot of oil (2-3 tbsp), you can cut down the amount by half and if you want to, you can add the remainder in the end.

To help resolve the issue we recommend that you heat the pot in the oven (with a plate in the bottom), without any food.  You can heat them for 10-15 minutes at 250 D F.  Do this a few times, if need be, till you don’t see any drops of oil in the bottom.

Once you’re satisfied with the results (i.e. you don’t see any drops of oil), you can steam clean the pot, and this is done in this way:  Add 4-5 cups of water to the pot, start on low and increase to medium in a few minutes.  Let the water start steaming inside the pot. 10-15 minutes from the time you see the steam, turn stove off and pour the water out while it is still warm.  Wipe it dry and let it sit to dry for a day or so before using it again.

Seems like my pot is taking longer to dry, is there a way to dry it faster?

Most times it's enough to wipe the pot with a cotton cloth after washing. But sometimes, if the pot didn't get used back to back a few times after the 1st seasoning it may not have had a chance to shrink and so it may hold moisture for a little longer. Or if you're living in cold or very humid areas it sometimes might take a little longer to dry. In these cases you can help the pot dry faster by wiping with a cotton cloth after washing and dry it on the stove-top on lowest setting for 10 minutes or in the oven at 250 D F for 10 -15 minutes. This just needs to be done a few times and you will see the pot drying faster after a few times of doing it this way.

Mildew – Why it appears, How to clean it and prevent it from happening again?

Mold or mildew can grows only if there if it was not dried properly before storing away. Please note two important things: 1. This mold/mildew is not toxic and is easy to clean off; mold is toxic when it feeds off of toxins like in drywall, cement etc. 2. It only grows on the outside and not between the walls. We've tested to see if there's anything that grows in between and have found none (it needs air to grow and there's no air specifically oxygen, in between the walls) Sometimes if the pot didn't get used back-to-back a few times, the seasoning process may not be complete and this could let the pot hold some moisture which could on rare occasions cause the growth of mildew. Using it about 4 to 5 times after seasoning before putting it away -- if you have to -- will ensure it gets fully seasoned and the pot will not hold moisture. If for some reason you are unable to use the pot this way just wipe with a cotton towel after washing and dry it in the oven for 10 mins at 250 before putting it away or on the stove top on low for 10 minutes. Here are some steps you can take to clean the pot to get rid of the mold and prevent it in the future: Wash the pot thoroughly with some vinegar and lemon juice, scrub this mixture throughout the walls of the pot, rinse, drain water and wipe with cotton towel to dry it out fully. Following this, heat the pot in the oven at 250 Degrees Fahrenheit for 20-30 minutes. Let the pot cool down before putting it away. This should help get rid of the mold and prevent it from growing again. Storing it on a dry cotton cloth or putting one inside the pot and storing with its lid open can also help dry the pot thoroughly.  

I see a crack, is there a way I can ‘fix’ it?

Minor surface or hairline cracks may show up on the bottom, and it's normal for this to happen and shouldn't affect the functioning in any way. Other deeper cracks could happen rarely and only if the pot has been exposed to prolonged periods of high and/or uneven heat, or if there were no liquids in the pot and the food inside got very dry. This does not necessarily mean you had put it on high but some stoves regardless of the setting just burn high or generate a lot more heat, so it helps to know your stove a little and avoid those burners that may heat too fast or burn too high. These cracks can be 'healed' by doing the following: Thoroughly clean the pot with water and baking soda and wipe it dry with a cotton cloth, set it aside to dry for about 5-10 minutes (if pot is already clean and dry skip this step). Then apply some oil or butter (any cooking oil, like olive, coconut, vegetable, and sesame seed), apply thoroughly with your hands onto the full surface of the pot, both inside and outside and heat it in the oven at 250 D F for 25-30 minutes. Turn the oven off and let the pot cool down slightly before taking it out. Take it out and let it sit for 2-3 days for the crack to fully heal. This process can heal cracks about 97% of the time and can also be done to strengthen the pot, if you ever experience the pot chip. When using your pot after this process, cook on low heat only for 3-4 times and cook recipes that are semi-dry or those that turn thicker in the end like stews, soups etc., for those first few times. A crack can also be healed using this method (method 2):  Make a paste with 2 tsp water + 1 tsp flour.  It can be any whole grain or other flour.  Now wash the pot thoroughly and apply the paste on the outside and inside of the pot along the line of the crack and spread it slightly to the surrounding area.  Let the paste dry slightly, then use the pot for cooking.  When the pot is heated the clay platelets come together and the paste will seal the crack.  Wait for the pot to completely cool down before washing it.  You can repeat this process one more time if you still see liquids leaking from the crack, but in most cases, doing this one time should seal and heal the crack quite well. Having tried this if the pot continues to leak, here are ideas on other uses for this pot. TAGS: Healing cracks on clay pots, healing a crack, crack on my clay pot

Is there anything I can do with my damaged pot?

Please note 90% of cracks can be fixed, and the pots used again for cooking, here's how. But in case your's did not heal, here's what you can do with it: If your pot is still intact but has a crack that makes it unusable for cooking it can be used for various other things in your kitchen as a 100% non-toxic alternative. For storing Fruits & Veggies:  It can be used to store fresh fruits and vegetables in the fridge. Produce lasts longer and remain fresh because the inert pot prevents depletion of nutrients caused by EMF radiation (Electro-magnetic field radiation). Sprouting beans & lentils in a clay pot!It can also be used as an organic sprouter: Your beans/lentils will thrive in the breathable, nutrient rich pot and sprout more fully than in other vessels.  To use as a sprouter: soak your beans/lentils in a glass bowl for 12 hours, drain the water and put the beans in your MEC pure-clay pot.  Close the lid and put the pot in the oven.  Your beans will sprout in these pots with just the heat from cooking on the stove top.  In the winter, if need be, leave the oven light on to give some additional heat.  Your beans/lentils will sprout in 24 hours.  Most other sprouters are made out of plastic, take 5-7 days to sprout and need repeated water changing or adding water constantly. A natural refrigerator: Going camping? Or living off the grid & need a place to store fresh food for a few days?  Your damaged pot can make a great natural refrigerator.  Just wet the whole pot under running water for 2 minutes, drip dry and place the foods you need refrigerated: milk, fruits, vegetables, bread, etc. can be all stored in the pot and then dip the lid also in water and close the pot.  The pot & lid will let the water evaporate very slowly keeping the food inside cool and safe.  How long food can stay without going bad depends on the weather and your location, so date it 1st by storing small quantities. As a herb/vegetable planter: These 100% non-toxic pots make great planters in your kitchen or outside for all your herbs or small vegetable plants.  Plant and see your vegetation thrive in them. If fully damaged, they can be composted-they are 100% bio-degradable and compostable.  The nutrient rich all-natural clay enriches the soil where it's disposed.

I sometime see some brown or cream colored deposits on the outside of the pot, what is that?

All-Natural clay because of its purity and negatively charged ions it has been used to extract toxins from our bodies for many centuries. When food is cooked over a long period of time, the toxins –whether it be from the animal fat (most animals store toxins in the fat), pesticides, fertilizers or from heavy metals or salts in the water, all of which are positive ions get squeezed out through the negatively charged clay platelets.  Since the pot is unglazed these toxins get pushed out all the way to the outside walls of the pot.  Nothing sits within the walls and none of it goes back inside as pressure moves from high to low. The deposits have a sour, metallic taste.  They come off easily when wiped with a piece of cloth or the pot is washed once the food is cooked. For Further Reading: Dioxins in animal's fatty tissue: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs225/en/ According to the FDA, most human exposure to dioxins comes from food, with 95 percent of that coming from animal fats (FDA 2004a). - See more at: http://www.ewg.org/meateatersguide/a-meat-eaters-guide-to-climate-change-health-what-you-eat-matters/other-meat-concerns-antibiotics-hormones-and-toxins/#sthash.SaqYnCEo.dpuf

What is the slight “busss” or “cracking” noise I hear?

This is something you may hear, especially with newly fired earthenware. It will disappear with time and it is simply a natural settling of the clay that occurs after temperature changes.

I see some cracks on the bottom of my cookware. Should I be concerned?

You may see some minor cracks on the bottom of the pot and this happens because of too much heat on one spot. They should not affect the performance of the pot in anyway and over time they get sealed by the foods oils. One other way to seal the crack is if you can heat half a cup of milk in the pot on low heat for about 20-30 minutes, then turn off the heat (dont have to wait for the milk to boil) and wait till the milk cools down to room temperature. This can seal the crack and prevent it from growing. The chances for these cracks to happen can be greatly reduced if you use the diffuser and always ensure you increase the heat gradually and only go upto medium heat.

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