Many use a Dutch oven as one of their primary cookware vessels in their household. And understandably so, this feature-packed pot can conveniently cook a ton of recipes (like slow cooking soups & stews, making sauces, and baking breads)! Dutch ovens made from enameled cast iron, stainless steel, and ceramics can be found in most households. But what is the best Dutch oven, especially if you want to ensure you can cook healthy meals? The raw material and the coatings determine whether a Dutch oven is non-toxic and non-stick. This article examines various Dutch ovens to help you figure out which one is the best.
What Should You Look for While Buying a Dutch Oven?
Finding the best Dutch oven to suit your needs can end up turning into an extensive research process. This process can be made even more difficult if you are looking for the best Dutch oven for your health, what sorts of things do you even look for? We got you covered- here are the factors to look out for when it comes both to convenience and health value. Additionally, read on to see our recommendation for the best Dutch oven.
Non-Toxic Raw Material
The core material, additives, and glazes decide the toxicity of a Dutch oven. If any of these is toxic, the Dutch oven can leach toxins that react to food and contaminate it.
Cast iron and ceramics are two commonly used materials for making Dutch ovens. All metals are innately reactive (including aluminum, cast iron, & stainless steel Dutch ovens) and ceramics are a combination of less than 10% natural clay with metal oxides and numerous chemicals, which make it toxic. Therefore, cast iron Dutch ovens and ceramic pots are not the right choice for a non-toxic Dutch oven.
Furthermore, the glazes (in ceramic Dutch ovens) and enamels (in enameled cast iron Dutch ovens) may contain chemicals and worse: heavy metals like lead and cadmium. Exposure to such toxins is a contributing factor in causing serious health problems.
A non-stick Dutch oven comes handy especially when cooking with less amount of liquids or oils. This makes it possible to cook healthier oil-free dishes and ease the process of cleaning afterwards.
Non-stick pots and pans are typically enameled or coated with synthetic materials like Teflon or ceramics. These materials may appear safe on paper but when it comes to cooking food, they always pose a risk because of their chemical composition and lack of testing.
Ability to Distribute Heat Evenly
Many cooks use Dutch ovens for cooking low and slow, which means the ability to distribute heat evenly is a huge benefit. This ensures food cooks evenly and thoroughly. Furthermore, a pot that retains heat can help food keep warmer for hours without constantly keeping it on the stove – making the Dutch oven energy efficient. To achieve these, Dutch ovens often have a heavy base and thick walls. However, the heavy weight could make it difficult to handle for some.
Now with these considerations in mind, the question arises: Is there is a Dutch oven that offers all these features without compromising on the health of food? Luckily, there is!
The Best Dutch Oven, Explained
Miriam’s Earthen Cookware (MEC) – a US-based company makes cooking pots from a lab tested primary clay without additives, chemicals, glazes, or enamels. The use of an all-natural and pure raw material, the ergonomic design, and the individually handcrafted pieces make sure these pots qualify to be the best Dutch ovens.
100% Non-Toxic and Naturally Non-Stick Dutch Ovens
Pure clay is naturally inert, so there is no risk of leaching from the pot. Unlike conventional non-stick pots, MEC pots become naturally non-stick – a feature unique to these pots that avoid use of synthetic coatings or enamels.
Unique Far-Infrared Heat Cooking
Another great feature of these pots is that they cook with far-infrared heat: a unique heat that spreads out evenly throughout the pot, penetrates deep into food and cooks food evenly and completely. Cooking with this gentle heat ensures there is no nutritional loss, and their ergonomic design enables them to naturally condense steam during cooking so the water-soluble nutrients are locked inside.
Moreover, these pots can retain steam for 4x longer than even a fully seasoned cast iron Dutch oven! On top of that, you don’t need to keep the stove on for the full cooking process – in some instances you can turn the stove off about 3/4 through the process and the food will continue cooking from the heat retained in the pot!
Multifunctional & Flexible
Lastly, MEC pots are multifunctional. Besides cooking your favorite Dutch oven recipes, you can also use it for slow cooking, rice cooking, pressure cooking, making yogurt, baking bread and so on. What’s more, these flexible pots can cook on gas, electric, & glass cooktops, as well as inside the oven or even on a grill.
All these features make it possible to cook food in this non-toxic and non-stick Dutch oven without compromising on the safety and health value of your food. That’s not even all the features this cookware can offer, you can read a comprehensive list of the benefits MEC offers here: Features & Benefits
But don’t just hear it from us; here is what some of MEC customers have to say about cooking in MEC clay pots:
“Never having used clay/earthen cookware before, I cannot believe what a difference this cookware has made in my family’s life. Buying three, I use one for general cooking-roasts, beans, one for yogurt-which changed my yogurt making forever-so creamy-so easy, and one for fresh water. I just can’t say enough positive things about this cookware. The safety testing of the clay, the information provided on the website and the packaging make this an amazing company.”
— Judith | MO, USA
“I enjoy cooking with Miriam’s Earthen Cookware. First, it gently steams the food and does not overcook it. I especially like making bone broth. Even the poultry bones produce a gelatinous broth! In other cookware, the poultry bone broth is liquid and runny. Great is the time it takes, only 3 to 4 hours instead of 12 to 24! I recommend Miriam’s Earthen Cookware!”
— Irene Walther | FL, USA
For more reviews, you can take a look here: MEC Customer Reviews
When it comes to health, choosing Miriam’s Earthen Cookware as the best Dutch oven is a no brainer. Ready to buy a truly non-toxic Dutch oven for healthy cooking your favorite Dutch oven recipes? Head over to MEC’s online store and order a pure clay pot today!
How can you tell a Dutch oven?
A Dutch oven is a heavier than your usual cookware. It typically has a heavy base and thicker walls to ensure even heat distribution. It can be used both on the stovetop and inside the oven.