Clay pot cooking is slowly gaining momentum now that we are realizing the damage conventional cookware is doing to our health. For one, the innately reactive metals leach and contaminate food. And the shiny looking ceramic cookware is not far behind – the inferior quality clay with extensive use of chemicals renders it toxic. This leaves us with clay cookware, which further begs an important question – are all clay pots the same? Keep reading to find out.
The various kinds of clay cookware available in the market
Let us start with the popular ceramic (a.k.a. porcelain) cookware. It is called clay cookware but has merely 5-7% of natural clay. And the rest is chemicals, oxides and other inorganic substances that are toxic to both the environment and our health. A typical ceramic cooking pot can have at least 75 different chemicals (read more about these here). This makes ceramic prone to leach while cooking food – the same reason we do not want to use metals. There are many brands that sell these under different names, and they come in attractive designs. But they may be unfit for healthy cooking.
Flame ware, Stoneware and Terracotta (Earthenware):
Flame ware is another name for ceramic cookware with some additional chemicals to withstand heat. It is as unhealthy as ceramic, if not more. Stoneware, on the other hand, has a greater percentage of natural clay. It typically contains 40% of natural clay which is a good thing over ceramic. But the rest of the raw material is a mixture of chemicals, oxides, and toxic additives. Like ceramics, this is glazed and thus, the final pot can contaminate food with its toxins.
Terracotta or earthenware pots use a combination of low fire natural clay and additives for raw material. The additives increase elasticity, give uniformity in firing, add color to the fired items, and speed up manufacturing. Also, the clay is untested and may contain contaminants like lead, arsenic, or mica – all of which could leach into food during cooking.
Some clay cookware manufacturers do not use glazes which is a good thing compared to the varieties above. But they use additives and chemicals to reduce the manufacturing cost. Iron oxide, petalite, lime, mica, deflocculants and black paint are some of the additives that most cookware brands use. This may make it possible to sell the final cooking pot cheaper but at the cost of your health.
Moreover, the clay that all these cookware types are made from is secondary or tertiary, which contains impurities. All these factors make these pots lack purity, integrity, and health value. Before you lose hope of finding a clay cookware that is safe to use, read on.
MEC’s Pure Clay Cookware:
Miriams Earthen Cookware (MEC) is a US-based cookware brand known to make America’s first tested Primary Clay cookware. This purest quality of clay is the healthiest because it contains no toxins whatsoever. And the makers get the clay sample tested in a reputable state lab before making pots. But the manufacturing process has its challenges.
MEC does not want the raw material to come into contact with any chemicals which means they cannot use machines. And without additives or chemicals, one cannot make the pots shiny and colorful. But when the pot is for cooking, does it need to look like a showpiece?
Following this philosophy, the makers handcraft each piece and refrain from using any colors or similar additives so MEC pots and pans take up the deep red hue of fired clay.
And the best bargain is – they are 100% non-toxic and healthy. Let us see what the benefits of cooking in MEC pots are.
The benefits of clay pot cooking in MEC
MEC’s clay pots are free from toxins so there is no leaching. Your food stays uncontaminated. Furthermore, the integrity of nutrients remains intact because there are no toxins to react with them and form compounds – what is most likely to happen with metals and low-quality clay cookware.
MEC pots radiate unique far infrared heat – this gentle heat cooks food thoroughly in less time by penetrating deep into food. And unlike harsh heat from other materials, it does not destroy nutrients. They preserve the nutrients in your food including the delicate ones like complex carbs, flavonoids etc.
The ergonomic design by MEC makes these pots versatile so they can cook different recipes (more information here) on different heat sources (gas/electric/glass cooktop and oven). Moreover, they manage steam well by condensing on the inner side of the lid that stays cooler than the rest of the pot while cooking. Thus, they preserve the water-soluble nutrients (steam) as well.
Besides, there are many healthy features of MEC that makes cooking healthier, easier, and more convenient than any other cookware. Ready to try America’s only non-toxic clay pot? Head over to MEC’s online store and order a clay pot today. They ship worldwide!