mole pot: photo by gourmetsleuth.com
Mexican Pottery Cooking Pots Here are some examples of various traditional pots used in Mexican cooking. Mexican pots are made of earthenware or "clay" or in Spanish "barro". The pots maybe glazed inside or out (or both) then fired over low heat. The results are earthy, stunning and a pleasure to use.
Article by: Barbara Bowman
Clay has been traditionally used in Mexican cooking because the clay imparts a specific flavor to the foods that can't be reproduced in a metal pot. Due to the documented health hazards, lead glazed clay pots are not recommended for use. Only pots stamped "safe for food use" should be used for cooking.
Product of "lead free" pottery represents a very small percentage of pottery production in Mexico. Look for products marked "lead free" or "minimal levels of lead, food safe". These products are approved by the U.S.D.A. and must not exceed the allowable limits for lead. Pots marked "lead free" may actually contain small, allowable amounts of lead.
Prepare Clay Pots For Use
You should use a simple seasoning process before you use the pot. Fill the pot with water and place it over a direct flame. If you have an electric stove then you should use a diffuser or buy a small portable gas burner. Allow the water to boil for a few minutes then remove from the heat and discard.
In Mexico these pots are used over a direct flame. As we mentioned above if you have an electric stove then you should use a diffuser or buy a small portable gas burner.
Avoid rapid temperature changes. As with all clay cookery you should not move a cold pot to a hot flame or vice versa. Allow the pot to warm to room temperature before use. The pots are fragile and should be handled carefully
Although Mexican peoples have been using these pots for centuries you should be
aware that the glazes most commonly contain lead. The FDA recommends that you
never cook, OR store
foods in these pots as
foods can absorb the lead when exposed to lead in the
glaze. This is particularly true with acidic foods such as orange, tomato and
other fruit juices, tomato sauces, wines, and vinegar. **Important: The FDA
Requires that any pots that contain lead be marked "for decorative use only".
photo by gourmetsleuth: chirmolera - pottery grinding
bowlcazuela - for stews
Always allow the pot to cool before you wash it or you may crack the glaze and spoil the pot. After use soak the pot in warm soapy water then scrub as needed with a non-abrasive pad. Make sure to rinse the pot well and allow to air dry. If you don't use your pot very often then you may want to use the "seasoning" process each time before use.
Rick Bayless mentions that some cooks suggest rubbing the unglazed pot exterior with a clove of garlic to eliminate some of the "earthy" taste. Many cooks would agree however that the reason to use the pot is for that very reason.
Never, ever put your clay pot in the dishwasher!
Mexican, Healthy Ways With A Favorite Cuisine
Authentic Mexican: Regional Cooking: by Rick and Deann Bayless
Mexican Beverages: Our page dedicated to the
varieties of traditional Mexican Beverages.
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