When it comes to non toxic cookware, one of the best ideas is a very, very old one: clay pot cooking.
Clay pots and casseroles, unlike cookware made of materials like steel, iron or aluminum, take a long time to absorb heat. But once they do, they spread that heat evenly throughout the clay pot body and releases it just as slowly to the food cooking within. This allows for the flavors of a dish to build slowly, for spices penetrate more deeply, and for meats, even the tough cuts, to break down into succulent pieces. This also helps the food more retain nutrients. (Read more about the surprising health benefits of cooking in clay pots.)
There are many types of pots, each with differences that come from the kind of clay that is used, the way it’s made, or how it’s fired. One isn’t better than the other, they all just perform a little differently. What is key, though, is that pots are unglazed and come with a well-fitting lid.
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Because of their porousness, clay pots will take on the flavor of whatever you cook in it. The functional learning from this is that each pot is best used for similar flavored dishes—if you use a pot to cook fish, don’t use it to make hot chocolate. So you may want to invest in multiple pots as you get more comfortable with this type of cooking vessel.
Here are 4 great clay pots to start cooking with.