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  • Cooking with Latin American Clayware
  • Post author
    Melissa Guerra

Cooking with Latin American Clayware

Cooking with Latin American Clayware

Cooking with Latin American Clayware is Easy!

Many of our customers are nostalgic about beans cooking in a clay pot, the way their grandmother cooked. Clay pots, known in Spanish as an olla de barro, have been around since the dawn of time. But in modern kitchens, few people are familiar with the simple joy of cooking with clay pot cookware.

Clay cooking pots are made by  potter who live near moist deposits of natural clay, perhaps near a lake or river. The potters dig up blocks of clay, then transports it to their studio, where the clay is shaped and molded into pots, drinking vessels or perhaps a dinner plate or griddle. The raw clay items are then "fired" or baked so that they are sturdy and moisture free, making them useful for cooking . Historically, pots would be fired in a wood fire, but now days gas powered kilns provide a steady high heat, giving a better result.

Clayware is an insulator, not a conductor 

Clay is magical as a cooking vessel. Unlike metal, clay is an insulator of heat, not a conductor. Clay is also living and porous, and retains a small amount of moisture within its cells. While cooking, clay absorbs and exudes the tiniest amounts of steam through its surface. Once clay is warmed, it transfers the heat very gently to the food it is cooking. Flavors develop more slowly, but with more depth. Cooking with an olla de barro creates a dreamy, Old World atmosphere in your kitchen, and on your table.

Select the Best Latin American Clay Cookware for your Kitchen Project

Selecting an olla for use in your kitchen can be a bit of a challenge, so here are some tips:

  • What Type of Stove Do You Have? - Glass top stoves are not recommended for clay cookware, as uneven surfaces or rounded bottoms on the clay pots may cause movement or spills while cooking. Clay cookware is better suited for electric coil style stoves, and works best with gas burners.
  • Not for the Dishwasher  - Clayware does better when simply washed by hand. As clayware is porous, extended wash times in a dishwasher can cause lime scale and detergent buildup in the pores of the clay.  High temperatures and quick rinses with cool water experienced in a dishwasher also cause clay cookware to crack. 
  • Cure Before Using - Follow the instructions included with your clay pot to cure it before first use. Curing helps seal the natural pores in the clay, enabling the pot to retain liquid and cook properly.
  • Post author
    Melissa Guerra