Ceramics, in general, remind us of the earth–as well as the skilled artisans who historically have transformed clay from the earth into useful items. Ceramics is part of our past and hopefully will be part of our future as well.
Here, we’ll discuss seven reasons for using authentic ceramic pots and other cookware in your kitchen. Keep reading if you find this topic as interesting as we do!
The Benefits of Ceramic Pots and Cookware
The origins of ceramics and pottery date back at least to 24,000 BCE and fragments of early human-made ceramic items have been found. Functional clay vessels are thought to date back to around 9,000 BCE.
We feel this long history attests to the benefits of the ceramic vessels we continue to use today–which, if not broken, can endure for generations to come.
What follows are the benefits we’ve identified.
1. Ceramic Pots and Cookware Remind Us That We’re Part of History
As just discussed, ceramics has a long history–which we honor and maintain by continuing to use its materials and designs in daily life.
2. Ceramic Cookware Heats and Circulates Moisture More Evenly than Other Cookware
The Crockpots we use today don’t need fire for cooking, as was true in ancient times. However, the vessels that sit inside external heating units are nothing other than glazed clay pots. A clay pot has been called “the ultimate slow cooker.”
The slow cooking process, for which we can credit clay pots, is one that can’t be replicated by any of the far newer cooking technologies–not even the versatile Instant Pot or the Ninja Foodi, with all their capabilities.
Slow cooking has several benefits, such as:
- It typically allows one-step preparation of a meal.
- A slow cooker can be transported to an event with the food inside.
- The slow cooking process helps tenderize tougher and less expensive cuts of meat.
- Slow cooking brings out the flavor of foods–separately and combined.
There are other benefits too numerous to list here.
3. Ceramic Cookware Is Attractive and Can Go Directly From Kitchen to Table
In fact, a fair amount of ceramic cookware and serving ware is still handmade by artists and frequently appears at craft shows. We love to put food in or on our many ceramic bowls and plates to serve dinner guests.
Even mass-produced clay vessels are quite nice-looking and can readily go from oven or countertop to the dining table for serving.
4. Most Ceramic Pots and Cookware Are Made From Natural Materials
There is nothing artificial or synthetic about clay. It comes from the earth. Note, however, that this doesn’t mean toxic or unhealthy substances can’t enter the clay. There are important cautions, as we’re about to discuss below.
This is the point where we need to make a distinction between unglazed and glazed ceramics since there are some differences in how each is used when preparing food. Each also has somewhat different properties.
Using unglazed cookware is said to be a very healthy way food-preparation technique for several reasons. One is the ability of the clay to be soaked before cooking and then release water, distributing it evenly into the food during the cooking process.
Earthenware clay, often used in unglazed cookware should be used with caution, though, due to the possible presence of lead and other toxins. Thus, the FDA now regulates extractable lead limits in tableware to ensure its safety.
While glazed cookware is non-porous and the clay itself doesn’t leach into food, the glazes themselves can contain lead or cadmium–two of the most toxic metals
Pottery glaze is made from silica sand that has been melted in a kiln at a very high temperature. There is no leaching of toxins from the glass itself–only from any chemicals used to color it.
A Side Note
There are several excellent brands of non-stick cookware that have acquired the name “ceramic cookware.” This refers to the use of silica in the non-stick coating. No other ceramic processes are used in its manufacture.
Greenlife Ceramic Cookware is one of these brands and has a very good reputation. Check out this Greenlife ceramic cookware review to learn more about it.
5. This Is Cookware for the “Non-Smart” Kitchen
Needless to say, ceramic pots and cookware do not require a smartphone, any smart plugs, or Alexa to use. So, cook in them all you want and leave the phone on “silence.” You might say that the ceramics have their own natural sensors.
6. Clay Vessels Adjust the Flavor and Consistency of Food
Earthenware clay is somewhat porous, so heat and moisture circulate through the pot during cooking, which isn’t the case with metal or enamel-lined pots. Some clay-pot cooking fans also claim the cooked food has richer, “earthier” flavors.
Clay, which is alkaline, is said to neutralize acidity–even to the extent of making foods just a little sweeter.
7. Clay Vessels Have Health Benefits
Unglazed earthenware has been said to provide minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, and sulfur that are needed to maintain good health. Food also retains oils and moisture. In general, clay brings out more of foods’ natural flavors.
So, “If you manage to get an unglazed and pure earthen pot, you can start cooking in (it) after soaking (it) in water for some time” to season it.
We’ve seen that although some precautions should be taken when buying and cooking with ceramic pots and ceramic cookware generally, once you’ve checked everything out, you’ll have what’s needed to make some pretty fabulous food.
It’s surprising that ceramic cookware isn’t more widely available–it seems to be available mostly from gourmet cooking stores and ethnic markets. Perhaps if it were more available, more people would try cooking with it.
And, likely, the manufacturing process would become more refined and able to ensure that pots going to consumers are free of toxins. Since many people seem to be advocating for this cooking method, maybe something will come of it in the near future.
In the meantime, keep reading our blog to stay updated on events and innovations in urban America. Hope to see you there!