Non-Toxic Slow Cooking: Stove, Oven, Crockpot
Tired of your electric slow cooker gadgets taking too much space and looking for a way to slow cook right on the stove top and in the oven? Then you are not alone: modern slow cookers are not only complex to use, but they also pose some serious health risks, which is causing healthy cooks to look for better alternatives. This article explains the criteria for choosing the best slow cooker that can conveniently slow cook healthy food on a stovetop.
How to Determine the Best Cookware for Slow Cooking
There are some common issues that come with most conventional slow cookers. The best one would be devoid of these problems:
Pay Attention to the Raw Material
The raw materials used in the insert and the casing determine if a slow cooker is capable of cooking without leaching toxins or causing off-gassing. While most brands claim to make a “safe” cookware, there are hardly any that back this claim with hard evidence (yes, we mean test results!). Moreover, some widely used synthetic materials in crock pot inserts, casings, and linings (like ceramic, silicone, Teflon, chemical glaze, and enamel) lack sufficient testing. Lead, cadmium, and other heavy metals are frequently found in such materials, which makes them highly toxic to food.
All metals are innately reactive, and studies have linked these synthetic materials and chemicals with serious health problems. Therefore, choosing a healthy raw material is the first step towards choosing the best cookware for any slow cooker recipe.
Examine the Effect on Nutrients
Slow cooking is widely believed to preserve nutrients and thus, cook more flavorful and aromatic dishes. But unfortunately, cooking for so long with a harsh near-infrared heat from metal or ceramic inserts still destroys nutrients. On top of that, the water-soluble nutrients present as steam are released through the vents – and they are lost. This means your body is not really getting all the goodness your food can offer.
Is it Simple and Easy to Use?
There are many modern day slow cooker models that are packed with many features to automate the cooking process. Despite this, they are so complicated to operate that not everybody can use them. Moreover, they come with many parts that take up so much space on your kitchen counter and cleaning them can be a real hassle. Lastly, a crockpot may take up to an entire day to cook a meal, which could be a deal-breaker for some and might make them wonder – does slow cooking really have to be this ‘slow’?
How Flexible is it?
You may spend a fortune on a brand-new crockpot, but what good is it if it can only cook a specific set of recipes? Also, slow cookers come accompanied by their own heating system and casing, meaning there is no way you can use them on your stove or in your oven. With all these issues going around, is there a simpler, healthier, and overall better choice for your slow cooker recipes? Keep reading to learn more about a practical alternative.
The Simplest Choice
Miriam’s Earthen Cookware (MEC) is a US-based clay cookware brand that managed to combine simplicity with health value and is offering an all-natural cookware capable of doing much more than an electric slow cooker. And yes, it works for cooking in the oven and on the stove top! Discover MEC’s slow cooking features below.
Important Slow Cooking Features
A Healthy Crock Pot
MEC pots are made from lab-tested primary clay – the purest form of clay that is naturally inert (it cannot leach). What could be a safer raw material to cook non-toxic food? Further, MEC does not use additives, glazes, or chemicals so the cooking pot is as safe as the raw material. Is it even possible to make cookware without these additions that almost every brand uses today? Not if the manufacturers adopt machine-based manufacturing, so MEC individually handcrafts each piece.
These uniquely hand-finished pots radiate far infrared heat – a gentle heat that penetrates deep into food and cooks it thoroughly without breaking down nutrients. All this happens at low heat and takes less than a quarter of cooking time it takes in a conventional crock pot.
As no glazes are used, the semi-porous walls keep the pot breathable and let oxygen pass through the pot during cooking. Moreover, the ergonomically designed pot and lid allow steam to stay locked inside by naturally condensing on the inner side of the lid, which means recipes slow cooked in MEC is fortified with water soluble nutrients.
A Simple & Convenient Crock Pot
Slow cooking is much faster in MEC. For example, cooking bone broth with beef bones take about 3 hours in MEC, contrary to 12-15 hours in a ceramic crock pot! Additionally, chicken bones only take 1 ½ hours, cooking beans takes about 45 minutes, and grains like rice take 30 minutes or less.
On top of the far-infrared cooking, the ability for MEC pots to keep food warm for 4x longer also contributes to the reduced cooking time. Your meal keeps cooking with the heat retained in the pot even after you turn the stove off, meaning you usually only need the stove on for about 3/4 of the cooking process.
MEC’s simple two-piece design makes it super convenient to cook, clean, and store your cookware after use. There is no independent heating system, casing, or complex gadgets; so you also no longer have to worry about leaching or off-gassing from these components. You can clean it with just water and baking soda – simple, right?
MEC also features the flexibility of cooking a vast array of other recipes that even the most advanced cooking gadgets do not! You can read about all the different kinds of recipes cooked with MEC here: Clay Pot Recipes
Slow Cooking Guide for the Stove & the Oven
With MEC, you can slow cook your meals on both the stove and in the oven – here’s how:
How to Slow Cook on the Stovetop
Slow cooking on stove top in MEC is a bliss. The pot also does not require “baby-sitting,” so long as there is adequate liquids/water in the pot the steam locking features locks steam inside and cooks without much monitoring. Here is how slow cooker recipes like bone broth or vegetables can be cooked healthier and faster in MEC:
Following any recipe, add all the ingredients, set the pot on your stove, and start on medium-low. Once food has cooked for about 30-40 minutes, reduce heat to low — and let it cook & simmer at that temperature till fully done. You can read how to make bone broth here: How to Make Bone Broth Variations in MEC
How to Slow Cook in the Oven
Use MEC for slow cooking in the oven just the same way you would in a programmable electric slow cooker. You can conveniently ‘set and forget,’ and the dish will cook without much monitoring but much faster. Also, the fact that you can fit more than one pot at a time inside is a clear advantage over using a crock pot machine!
Put all your ingredients together in the pot and set temperature to ‘bake’ at 200–230 degrees F and set timer. This is 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 grains. Once the set hours are complete, the oven will automatically turn to warm (in most cases, 170 degrees F) and in a few hours will shut off. With most ovens, you can also set a delayed start.
In the Crockpot
If you are using MEC in a crock machine, here are the bottom dimensions for the pots with the corresponding machine size:
- Small 1.75 qt — Bottom diameter 7.5”. Works with machines w/ inside base diameter 8.5″ or greater
- Medium 2.75 qt –Bottom diameter 8.25”. Works with machines w/ inside base diameter 9.25″ or greater.
- Large 4 qt — bottom diameter 9.5”. Works with machines w/ inside base diameter 10.5″ or greater
- X-large 6 qt — bottom diameter 10”. Works with machines w/ inside base diameter 11″ or greater
Here is what MEC customers say about slow cooking in MEC:
“Finally something absolutely healthy on the market. I use to love slow cookers but there was too much of lead leaking into my food. As longer there was a finished glazed ,lead (it’s part of the glazed chemicals that EVERY ceramic company use) was leaking when the pot was hot. Most stainless steel pots that are made in China leak nickel and aluminum as well (go figure?!). Miriam cookware is AMAZING!! The food that I cook in the 3 pots I bought from her is delicious and absolutely healthy. On top of it Miriam have great warranty and great customer service.” — Tatiana Iordanova
“My family and I are so grateful we discovered Miriams Earthenware pots. We were looking for a way to cook bone broth and other slow cookery meals without the potentially harmful effects of lead and other chemicals in crock pots. Their cookware goes beyond my wildest expectations. Besides feeling confident about the safety and health benefits of cooking with clay cookware, the dishes are incredibly delicious and richer and the cooking time is greatly reduced…” — Victoria Behar
People Also Ask
What can I use if I don’t have a slow cooker?
If you don’t have a slow cooker, you can slow cook right on stovetop using a cooking pot that has a heavy build (like a Dutch oven) so it can disperse heat evenly to the food cooking inside. You should cover it well with a lid, keep the heat low and keep checking food in between so it does not run out of liquid. You may also want to add more water/liquid than you do in a crockpot.