Cooking & Care – How to Cook in Pure Clay Pots?

Cooking in your MEC clay pots & pans is an easy & natural process. Lara, a nutritionist in New York city, had this to say after using the pots for the 1st time: “I just finished cooking with your pot for the first time. It was fantastic. I am not someone who is good in the kitchen, but your directions are very clear, and the process felt very natural….”

MEC pots are made using the best skill + technology available today. They are sturdy, well built, strong cooking pots & pans made with you -- the cook in mind. With proper use & care they can last a life time!

Easier and Less "Stressful" Cooking

Cooking in pure-clay pots is just the same as cooking in other pot but easier and less stressful.  The only difference is, all cooking is done on medium heat.   You could go a little past if need be, and after a few uses, but avoid high heat. 

It's easier because there are not as many steps involved, for example, to cook rice in a conventional pot (metal/ceramic) you need to first let water come to a boil then add the rice.  This is the same with pasta, quinoa or any other grains.  If not, the damaging heat will let the grains end up mushy.  With MEC, it's a one step process: wash the grains in the pot and drain the water out, add the specific amount of cooking water, set on stove and cook till done (with lid on)! 

It's the same with different recipes and types of cooking.  More information of different types of pure clay pot cooking can be found here.

There is no need to 'check', 'stir', 'mix' too often.  With most recipes you're coming back to turn the stove off.  Once the time to cook certain types of food is established, you can conveniently let the pot do it's job and come back to turn it off.  That's way less "baby-sitting"!

Time-wise it takes 5 to 10 minutes longer with some foods like grains. Vegetables, meats, beans all take just about the same time.  Bone broth can be done is 2-3 hours.

Not only is cooking easy, cleaning is also easier than with conventional pots.  When used the right way, food does not stick to the pot (they're naturally non-stick).   This minimizes waste and cleaning time (cleaning instructions are give below).

When it first arrives, a one-time seasoning process that takes about 20-30 minutes needs to be done, and here are the instructions (instructions and information also included with shipment):

SEASONING YOUR POTS/PANS:

Before first use thoroughly wet & rinse the pot and lid under running water, drain water off & let it sit for 10 minutes.  Wipe the bottom dry, fill the pot half full with water place it on the stove and start on low heat.  Meanwhile make the following mixture in 1 cup of water:

—2 tablespoons flour (wheat, rice or arrowroot flour)*

—½ teaspoon cooking oil (coconut, olive, vegetable etc.)

—Optional: ½ teaspoon turmeric powder.

*If seasoning a large pot, use 4 tbsp flour to 1½ cups water; if seasoning an extra large pot, use 6 tbsp flour to 2 cups water.

Stir this mixture thoroughly so it’s without lumps. Then add to the pot, stir and cook on stove top at medium heat with lid on, till it thickens to a broth. Turn stove off and wait for it to cool down, preferably wait overnight. The next morning, pour broth out, rinse the pot with water and start cooking!

No need to season if using only for yogurt.

 

Seasoning

COOKING WITH MEC

By following these few simple steps you can have a pot that lasts for a long time cooking very nutritious, delicious food for you:

1. On stove top --When cooking for the first few times, start on 'low' then increase to medium in 5-7 minutes.  Once seasoned and used a few times,  you can start cooking on medium heat. Primary clay is an excellent retainer of heat so all foods cook perfectly just on medium heat taking about the same time. Once the pot gets cooking, sometimes you will find that you have to reduce the temperature back to low. because all the heat is held inside. If need be you could increase heat slightly past medium, avoid high heat. 

2. In the Oven -- Recommended Max Temperature is 450 Degrees Fahrenheit. Start in a cold oven or 250 D F and increase to desired temperature after 5-10 minutes.

3. Fully Seasoned: After the first seasoning use it as often as possible (preferably everyday) for a few times cooking 'wet' recipes.  Use it at lease 4-5 times in this way before putting it away, if you have to. 'Wet' recipes include making rice, quinoa, vegetable soups, stews, lentils, pasta, steaming vegetables etc. This helps the pot to shrink slightly and become 'fully seasoned'.  

5. Using a heat diffuser is recommended for all cook-tops, and is a must use if cooking on electric stoves, both glass/ceramic or coil cook-tops.

GOOD TO KNOW:

Cook-time: The more it’s used the faster it’ll cook your food, all on medium heat or less!

For Best Results:  Use separate pot for making yogurt, one for teas/coffee & other herbal decoctions, all other types of cooking can be done in the same pot. Using separate pots for vegetarian and Non-vegetarian cooking is optional.

Wooden spoons go well with our cookware.

Naturally Non-stick. Can cook using little to no Oil. Most of the steam/moisture & oils in the food remain in the pot so a lot of times little to no additional oil/liquids are required.  Also, by the time your pot is fully seasoned it is also naturally non-stick.

Getting black on the Bottom. with use the bottom of your pot will become black or gray.  This is WILL NOT affect the functioning. It happens as a result of a normal oxidation process as would happen with any 100% organic matter like wood, stone etc. (when heat is applied).  

Avoid dry sauteing till 'Fully Seasoned': don’t dry sauté spices or onions. If the recipe calls for it, add onions, sauté just a few minutes then add other ingredients. Unlike in metals, in MEC pots/pans onions don’t need to pre-saute, they get cooked well even without (with other pots they turn slimy if not fully cooked thoroughly in the beginning, not so with pure-clay).

Avoid sudden, extreme temperature changes: Example: If taking out of the fridge, let it come to room temperature before putting it on the stove for reheating and vice-versa.

Cooking a few non-meat/vegetarian recipes in the beginning, while the pot is getting 'fully seasoned' is recommended.   Once fully seasoned you can cook both vegetarian and non-vegetarian recipes in your pots and pans.

Stove top & Oven safe

For use on gas and electric cook tops, in the Oven, Solar Ovens, outdoor grills, wood-fire stoves etc,. Can also be used on slow cookers/crock machines if they fit inside with 1/4 space on all sides and if manufacturer permits the use of other inserts.

Refrigerator Safe

Let pot cool down to room temperature before putting it in the refrigerator.

When Slow Cooking

Use your pot for slow cooking or  several hours of cooking once it's used at least a few times (4-5 times) cooking recipes that take less than an hour of cooking.  All slow cooked recipes can be done in a maximum of 3 to 4 hours (example: one recipe that takes the longest time - beef bone broth cooks in 2.5 hours in the X-large pot, 6 qt). No need to cook the food for 12 to 15 hours anymore!  

Always use a diffuser when slow cooking with your pot. Click here for more detailed instruction for using MEC pots as a slow cooker.

Cleaning

Although dishwasher safe, hand washing recommended. They’re easy to clean because of their naturally non-stick. It’s best to avoid harmful, toxic soaps.  To wash: get the pot wet on all sides, sprinkle baking soda, scrub and rinse off. Wipe it with a cotton towel/rag and put it away to dry.
Food very rarely sticks to the bottom.  If you've accidentally overcooked or burned food, pour some warm water in the pot, sprinkle baking soda and let it sit for 10 minutes, scrub -- food would come off the bottom easily -- rinse and dry.  For tough to clean spots, you can use a harder scrubber, there is no coating so no fear of scraping any harmful enamels or glazes.

Sit hot pots on pads, trivet or wooden board.

Storage

Store with lid open and in a well ventilated place.  Avoid storing in closed or damp areas.  Occasionally (once every 2 months), it's also a good idea to dry your pots on the stove top at the lowest setting for 5-10 minutes or until the rim is warm to touch.

And finally, we know that although it’s the most time-tested, healthiest  & safest way of cooking, 100% natural clay cookware might be a new concept to some, and we want to assure you that we are here to help with any questions you might have while getting to know and cooking in this amazingly healthy way! Email Us with any questions you might have and we’ll get back to you right away.

For more information on using  MEC cookware as a  Rice cooker, Slow cooker, Dutch Oven, Yogurt maker, Bread baker,  for roasting, Please click on the  respective links.

Happy Clay Cooking. Wishing You Great Health & Taste !

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