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Usage & Care (2)

Here are some tips to extend the life of your MEC pots and pans:

  1. Cook at low heat settings:
    MEC functions best at a low heat setting, converting the heat into an even far-infrared heat. Because of MEC’s heat retention, your pots & pans can cook at a low heat setting & meals will be ready in the same time or less, compared to high heat conventional cookware! Exposure to high heat settings can risk cracks & other damage to the cookware.
  2. Instead of oil, use water before cooking:
    MEC becomes naturally non-stick with use; as a result, less oil is needed overall in the cooking process. As a comparison, oil is to metals as water is to clay. Always use half the amount of oil required in a conventional recipe, and you can add in the oil towards the end of the cooking process. This will result in healthier meals, because the oil will not be heated and cooking over a long time to break down into trans-fat!
  3. Store MEC pots in well-ventilated areas:
    Miriam’s Earthen Cookware thrives in sunlight. Because of the earthen material, it is believed sunlight (or daylight, even) can enhance your cooking experience. You can read more about this phenomenon here: How MEC Increases Vitamin D Levels
    After using your pot, we recommend fully wiping the pot dry and storing it in a ventilated space. Keeping MEC in an enclosed cabinet may not work well; instead, we recommend storing it on a rack, on a windowsill, or on the stove itself. If the pot is not fully dry and stored in a poorly ventilated area, there is a risk of mold growing on the surface of the pot. In the case that mold does grow, it can be safely cleaned off, here’s how: Mold Cleaning Instructions
  4. Avoid toxic ingredients:
    Clay naturally tries to remove any toxins when heated, as described here: MEC Toxin Removal
    This process occurs naturally, but the pot walls can end up saturated over time, which can affect its durability & longevity. To avoid this, pick ingredients that have the least amount of toxins possible, like non-processed, organic ingredients. Additionally, the purer the water, the better. Highly processed ingredients like chicken stock can be substituted for healthier ingredients (in this case, water can be used instead of stock, and you will still get a naturally created flavorful broth).

Choosing healthy ingredients benefits both the pots longevity and your own health, too!

Although dishwasher safe, hand washing recommended. They’re easy to clean because of the naturally non-stick nature of MEC clay. It’s best to avoid soaps, as they are toxic. To wash: get the pot completely wet, 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 clean — food would come off the bottom easily — rinse and dry. For tough to clean spots, you can use a scrubber, there is no coating so no fear of scraping any harmful enamels or glazes.

In most cases, it is very easy to clean MEC pots and pans, but on rare occasions, some mistakes happen. Here are ways to handle the cleaning process in these instances:

  1. How to clean mold, if you accidentally create the conditions for it to grow:

Mold or mildew occurs only in the presence of organic matter (food) and moisture, in most cases this happens if the pot was not cleaned and dried properly before storing away in an enclosed space (like inside cabinets). Or if room/kitchen is more humid than usual or lack of adequate air circulation in the room. This mold/mildew is not toxic, appears only on the surface, and is easy to clean off.

Wash the pot thoroughly with some vinegar or lemon juice. Scrub this mixture throughout the walls of the pot, rinse, drain water, and wipe with cotton towel to dry it out. Following this, dry it out on stove-top, on low setting with lid off, till the rim is warm to the touch. Turn stove off and let the pot cool down before putting it away in an open space. This should help get rid of the mold and prevent it from growing again.

Ideally, storing the pots where they can receive some daylight or sunlight is best. Detailed storage instructions can be found here: Storage Instructions

2. How to clean the pot if you accidentally cooked meat while the pot is being fully seasoned, and this has left a smell:

When seasoning a new pot, small bits of meat in a soup is fine, but larger chunks of cooked meat can leave a residual smell. To help get this smell out, steam cleaning the pot will help. To do so, first fill the pot 1/4 way up with water. Set the pot on the stove at low heat, cover the lid, and let steam build up for 10 minutes. Add either a a cinnamon stick or a lemon/lime wedge for fragrance. Cover the lid and steam for another 10 minutes on low heat. Turn the stove off, open the lid, and let the water cool down for 10 minutes. Pour the water out while it is still warm.

3. How to clean MEC if you have used too much oil or if yogurt is not setting well:

With MEC, you do not need to use as much oil as a metal pot would require. Using too much oil can be a problem, especially if using on an electric stove while it is still new. Instead, keep in mind that as oil is to metals, water is to clay. Water makes an excellent separator; therefore, not as much oil is required in the beginning of the cooking process. You can absolutely use oil when cooking with MEC, but it is healthier and better tasting when added towards the end. If you have used too much oil and the pot has absorbed this oil (if cooking on an electric stove, you may see some oil seeping through onto the diffuser), here is how you can clean it:

Let the pot air dry for two days, then steam clean using the following method: Add 2-3 cups of water to the pot. Cover it with a lid and heat it on the stove on medium-low for ten minutes, allowing steam to build up inside. Once steam has accumulated, abruptly remove lid — this sudden drop in pressure will extract oil from the pot into the steaming water. Let it continue to cook for 5-10 minutes after this point. Turn stove off, wait ~10 minutes for the water to cool down, then pour it out (do not let it cool down fully, otherwise oil may seep back into the walls). Pour the warm water out.

4. How to clean any burnt/ scorched food:

First, rinse the pot, then fill it with 2-3 cups of warm water from the faucet. Sprinkle baking soda in the pot. Cover and let it sit for 10-15 minutes, then gently (but firmly) scrape the burnt food out with a metal spoon. If this does not get most of the burned food out, then steaming cleaning should help. To do so, add 1-3 cups of water to the pot, then add 1 tsp. of baking soda. Cover the pot with the lid and heat on the stove on medium-low until steam builds up on the inside. Remove lid and scrape the burnt food using a metal spoon. Cook for 5 more minutes with lid off. Turn the stove off and let the water cool down to a warm temperature for 10 minutes, then pour it out. Apply some oil to the affected area of the pot, and let it sit for a day before using it again.

5. How to clean the pot when you see toxins leaching from food to the outside of the pot:

After addressing the cause of the toxins appearing on the outside of the pot (you can read more on the causes here), you can clean the pot using this method:

Wash the pot thoroughly and steam water in it without lid. Typically, the pot pushes out toxins, but when steaming water with the lid open it will pull-in anything in the walls. After steaming for 10 minutes, turn stove off and let pot cool down until water is warm. Pour water out and wipe dry with cotton cloth. Set it aside to air dry for about 10-15 minutes before using again.

6. How to clean leftover yogurt residue:

After making yogurt in your MEC pot, you can let it stay for as long as it’s finished. While cleaning the pot for the next batch, you may see some residue that is not coming off easily. To help get this off, apply some warm water on the spot that is hard to clean. Rub the affected areas with your hands, let it sit for 5 minutes, then scrape the residue off with a metal spoon.

To help minimize this in the future, swish around a small amount of water in the pot and pour it out before adding milk to create your next batch.

7. I accidentally used soap to clean my pot, is this going to be an issue?

As long as you did not let the soap sit in the pot for too long (over 10 minutes), this should not be a problem. Rinse the pot thoroughly, then you can use it for cooking. In the instance you let soap sit too long, rinse the pot thoroughly and steam 1-2 cups of water in the pot for 15 to 20 minutes. After this, you can continue to use the pot for cooking.