You’ve probably heard of, or use, a slow cooker or pressure cooker to cook meals. But have you ever tried cooking in clay? You would be surprised at how easy, healthy and delicious this method is.
I have used a clay cooker since I first got married – waaay back when. In fact, I still have my original one which I still use but have also bought another one – just for vegetables.
But clay cooking is not new. In fact, it’s been around for thousands of years dating back to the Romans. And many cultures claim that this is the only way to prepare certain traditional recipes.
Basically, you soak an unglazed clay pot in water for 15 to 30 minutes to absorb the water before cooking. Arrange your food in the pot and put it in the oven. You put the heat on after the pot is placed in the oven. No preheating. How easy is that?
You even have time to relax and enjoy a glass of your favorite beverage while your meal is cooking!
Once the pot is in the oven, nothing can go wrong. It won’t overcook or burn. I don’t know about you, but that’s a definite plus for me!
So how does the food cook in a clay pot?
Because the pot becomes porous when it has been soaked in water, it absorbs moisture from the food being cooked and circulates it back so the food cooks in its’ own juices. It’s like steaming your food but even more healthy.
And unlike metal or enamel-lined pots (which are not a very healthy to use for cooking anyway), the heat and moisture can circulate through the pot.
Since little or no liquid is needed to cook in the pot (sometimes I add a little wine), this ensures that the vitamins and minerals remain intact while cooking in a closed environment. Unlike boiling where nutrients are left in the water.
Clay takes a long time to absorb the heat so it requires higher oven temps and longer cooking time. This slower cooking allows for the spices to penetrate more deeply and for the food to absorb all the flavors.
And preparation is so easy!
Just place your food in the clay pot and add your seasonings. That’s it.
No need to even saute veggies before, like when using a slow cooker or pressure cooker. So it makes the meal even lower in fat. Check out the recipe below for my favorite vegetable bake.
And because this method allows the natural flavors of the food to develop, less salt is needed.
Another plus is that clay is alkaline. This means that the clay will interact with the acidity in the food, neutralizing the pH balance. So a food that is naturally acidic, like tomatoes or vinegar, becomes more mellow and taste a little sweeter.
You can use a clay pot for one-pot meals or for foods individually.
But another way is for baking bread.
Now, I am not a bread baker but did experiment a few times. And one of the best parts of baking bread in a clay cooker is that the crust comes out so delicious. Just the right texture.
And clean up is so easy: toss a little salt inside the pot and use a soft scrubber. Soaps and detergents should not be used as the clay could absorb them.
So here’s another easy way to start living a healthy lifestyle!
I’d love to hear from you if you have used a clay pot or plan to start using one to cook in.
In Peace and Good Health,
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This recipe is easy, healthy and delicious!
Add a salad, put the veggies over rice or pasta or add some quinoa and you have a meal.
As always, organic ingredients are the healthiest.
Feel free to add or leave out any vegetables you prefer.