New Ways to Clean Your Clay Pots
Clay pots are making a comeback in the kitchen, attracting those who love to spend time cooking, since it offers a new way to prepare meals that have traditionally been oven baked in different pots, sautéed, or smoked. And while clay pots are becoming much easier to find at reasonable prices, cooks are constantly looking for new ways to keep their clay pots clean. These pots last much longer than other cookware, but tend to absorb the flavors of the foods that are cooked in them, which may alter recipes after a while. So, here are some ways to keep clay pots clean that will keep all your entrees fresh, and keep you from having to keep separate pots for each kind of food you prepare.
First of all, many people shy away from putting clay pots in the dishwasher, since these very traditional cooking tools were used as far back as ancient Rome and parts of Africa-in a time when there were no dishwashers. However, most clay pots are dishwasher safe. It is not recommended that you consistently use the dishwasher to clean your pots, but it is safe and it is a good way to ensure that your pot won't chip against the sink or break while you're washing it.
Continuing to scrub clay pots after every meal will change the surface and absorption qualities of the pot, which could alter the way your food tastes. However, hand washing a clay pot a few times shouldn't cause too much damage, since clay pots won't soak up the liquid in food-this keeps your dishes moist and tender throughout the cooking process. While the taste of food may change slightly by scrubbing the pot, dishes can most likely be rescued by adding a little seasoning after the meal is cooked to balance flavors.
You don't want to wash the pot more often than you have to, so if you're going to be cooking the same meal in the pot successively (i.e. if you're planning on having lots of people over for dinner), simply wipe the pot out with a kliner sponge (not a Brillo pad) or paper towel to remove excess food. After all, you'll be using the same ingredients, so it's perfectly all right if the flavors in your dish mesh with one another. Also, if you own more than one clay pot, designate a pot for each part of the meal-use one clay pot just for desserts, one for meat or casserole dishes, and one to prepare side dishes, such as rice, potatoes, or fresh vegetables. You may even enhance the flavors of your dishes each time you cook in the pots, and you won't have to worry about your desserts tasting like the main course, and vice versa. Your clay pot should last you for a long time, and by using the right cleaning methods, you can preserve the quality of your clay pot, and prepare meals that your family will love for years to come.
Click here to learn more about what not to do when cooking with a clay pot.