Clay and enamel cookware needs extra-special care. Follow these tips to get the job done right:
- Soak new clay cookware in water for about half an hour before using it for the first time. Be sure to soak both the top and the bottom, then scrub them well with a stiff brush to remove any clay dust.
- Line the cooker with parchment paper to prevent the porous surface from absorbing food stains and strong flavors.
- If your clay pot becomes stained or takes on pungent odors, fill the cooker with water, add 1 to 4 tablespoons baking soda, and let it stand.
- Never put hot clay cookware on a cold surface -- it might crack.
- Never wash clay cookware in the dishwasher or scrub it with a steel-wool soap pad.
- Carefully dry the cooker before storing it to prevent mold. Store clay cookware with its lid off.
- If mold spots appear on a clay cooker, brush the surface with a paste made of equal parts baking soda and water. Let stand 30 minutes, preferably in strong sunlight; brush the paste away, rinse well in clear water, and dry.
- If necessary, soak a dirty pot to loosen cooked-on foods.
- Always let enamel cookware cool before washing. Rapid changes in temperature can crack the enamel coating.
- Enamelware can be washed safely in the dishwasher.
- Use a synthetic scouring pad -- never abrasive cleansers or steel wool -- to scrub stubborn soil.
Like aluminum, copper cookware changes color without proper cleaning and polishing. Take a look at the tips on the next page for cleaning copper.