When you’re cooking, the last thing you want to worry about is unwanted chemicals or metals sneaking into your food. You also want to preserve the nutrients and enjoy the great taste as well. So, what is the best and healthy cookware to ensure all that? Terracotta is the answer which ticks all boxes here.
Cooking with a terracotta handi has a variety of health benefits and is also much tastier. Using terracotta is a much healthy cookware option as it is much better than cooking in a normal utensil as it improves the quality of the food and adds many important nutrients like calcium, phosphorous, iron, magnesium, and Sulphur to food, which is extremely beneficial to our body. The porosity and natural insulation properties of clay allow the heat and moisture to circulate throughout the cookware. This makes the process much slower which causes the moisture and nutrient loss while cooking in clay pots to be much lower compared to cooking in metal or enamel-lined cookware.
But here’s the catch. Terracotta cooking vessels or serving vessels need maintenance to keep them usable. Take the example of the curd setter. You take the new product and immerse it overnight in water for the first time only. The material is porous so soaking overnight cleans out the pores so when you set dahi your vessel is absolutely clean. Then it can be cleaned with baking soda only. The SAME can be done for liquid-bearing vessels like bottles or cups.
Before you start cooking with the clay pot, submerge both the lid and base in cold water. A clay pot can’t be cleaned with dish soap or other random household cleanser, no matter how mild you may think it is. The soap will penetrate into the pores of the clay and leach into the food. Instead, you can simply use scalding hot water and a clean, damp sponge to remove any food from the surface of the clay pot. Drying the clay pot in the sun can help sanitize it naturally.
To maintain healthy cookware soak overnight, wipe with a cloth, and apply castor oil on the inside. Then slightly heat it and switch off the flame. Apply and heat another 2 or 3 times. When slightly heated, castor oil gets absorbed. Cook only rice two or three times. Because like castor oil, rice starch makes the walls strong. Thereafter the vessel can be used to cook vegetables, meat, or other items.
Terracotta or other clay pot cooking requires certain measures and precautions to be taken all the time. Clay being alkaline neutralizes acid in the pH balance of food. This activates a natural detox procedure which makes the food prepared in the clay pot easier to digest.
Maybe one may still find it a little cumbersome, but if you want a strong, healthy life with the added luxury of superb taste, it is a small price to pay. And we have not even spoken so far about the environmental preservation aspect. Terracotta use will curb harmful toxins and environment decline at the micro level. In this respect, it would not be too far wrong to say that we are at a time when switching from plastics and conventional cooking media, has become mandatory for every household if we want our children and grandchildren to enjoy a healthy and happy life after us.
Coming specifically to terracotta, the acidic content of food is neutralized with the use of terracotta clay cookware. Terracotta vessels are resistant to heat as they are glazed and fired during the crafting process. They are not only ideal for storing food items, but you can also use them for cooking meals on daily basis. Our ancestors used terracotta vessels for storing water, cooked vegetables, and other food items? The minerals in terracotta seep into the stored food/liquid while keeping its natural nutrients intact. Therefore, one can cook up a tastier and healthier dish by using terracotta clay pots for cooking.
It is a trend for people to use plastic containers for heating cooked food in the microwave. This is harmful in the long run and another strong reason to switch to terracotta cooking. Plastic is toxic to consume in all forms. When heated, plastic releases highly toxic gases and chemicals which seep into the food. These toxins are harmful and poisonous for our bodies. Meanwhile, terracotta clay products like terracotta water jugs, cups, handis etc. are organic. They are not only safe but also actually provide essential nutrients and minerals to the body.
Well, these are all the advantages of using healthy cookware but one of the best parts is that it is good for the environment as well. Terracotta cookware comes from clay/soil, which means whenever you need to dispose of them simply decompose it right back into the soil. Completely bio-degradable, which means you aren’t only thinking about the health benefits it brings for you and your family but also mother earth.