A non-toxic Dutch oven is one that is made from a non-reactive material. While there are several brands of Dutch ovens made from metals and ceramic (man-made clay), there is one brand that makes 100% non-toxic Dutch Ovens in the USA from all-natural primary clay. Meet Miriams Earthen Cookware or MEC. There are many unique health and environmental benefits to cooking in them, these are discussed on their website, but here let us look at a few simple rules that make cooking in them an easier task than conventional Dutch ovens:
1. Season before 1st use – makes these non-toxic Dutch ovens non-stick.
Seasoning these Dutch ovens is easy and is needed only before first use. Using them for cooking water-based recipes back-to-back for the first 4-5 times further seasons the pot, and this no-enamel or glaze pot becomes naturally non-stick in this process.
2. Start heat on low and in 5 minutes increase to medium
Thanks to far infrared heat cooking, most recipes can be cooked in about the same time as conventional pots, or less. This unique heat takes about 5 minutes or so to spread throughout the pot. Then you may increase the heat to medium and food cooks quickly and thoroughly. Far infrared heat penetrates deep into food and cooks it evenly, bringing out the wonderful subtle flavors of the food. The overall cooking time of most recipes will be the same or even less in some cases (like broths and meat), compared to metal and conventional cookware.
3. Can cook in oven too – max temp 450
They work great on stove top but are also fully compatible with ovens. The maximum recommended temperature is 450 d F. Start in a cold oven or 250 d F and increase to the desired temperature after 5-10 minutes.
4. Wash only with baking soda
Food rarely sticks to these naturally non-stick pots so they can be cleaned using just water and a firm scrubber. Soaps and detergents have toxic chemicals and hence, it is best to avoid them. If you’ve accidentally overcooked or burned food, pour some warm water in the pot, sprinkle baking soda and let it sit for 10 minutes. Then scrub and the food would come off the bottom easily. Rinse and wipe dry with a cotton rag/cloth before putting away if you need to.
5. Dry thoroughly before putting away to store.
Before putting the pots away, it is important to dry them thoroughly to avoid mildew. Always store them in a well-ventilated place with the lid open. Avoid storing in closed or damp areas (like inside cabinets, especially in humid regions). It is also a good idea to dry your pots on the stove top at the lowest setting for 5-10 minutes or until the rim is warm to touch, when not using for some time at a stretch.
These 5 golden rules for using MEC’s 100% non-toxic pure clay Dutch ovens when followed can ensure a smooth and happy cooking experience. Not to mention how healthy and “clean” (uncontaminated with toxins from regular pots) your food will be!