When I first heard about VitaClay, I was ecstatic. This was an amazing cooking medium—just what I had been looking for! I’d long since realized the dangers of cooking in aluminum pots with chemical non-stick coatings, and I’d become suspicious that maybe my slow cooker pot had something in the paint or glazing that could leach into my food.
I use glass containers, cast iron cooking pans, and try to avoid plastic whenever possible. But I loved my rice cooker and my slow cooker. I started looking for stainless steel rice cookers because that’s the only “safe” thing I could think of. When I saw there was one made with clay, I was so excited. It doubles as a slow cooker? Sign me up!
Once I started using VitaClay I realized what a treasure I had discovered. Not only was it a safe cooking material, it literally made everything, from rice to stew, taste better! No more mushy texture like in my other slow cooker! I couldn’t believe there was such a great product on the market!
The one reservation I had was with the clay pot. Sure, it’s great. It’s the most traditional cooking material there is, used for thousands of years in every culture. It’s literally made of dirt.
VitaClay Replacement Clay Pot Set
But what if it breaks? Well, I’ve had my VitaClay for about 8 years now, and I’ve had a total of 2 broken pots during that time. One of them was because it knocked up against something else and a piece of the lip chipped off.
The clay pots are actually quite strong, but they are clay, so I’d like to put up a few tips for keeping your clay pot shiny and new for as long as possible. (Although I do recommend buying a 2nd pot, if only so you can make more than one dish at a time!)
Tips for keeping your clay pot shiny and new:
- Wet cooking only. The first thing to remember is that this is not a Crock Pot. Other slow cookers are made of glazed ceramic, while this is unglazed clay. As such, it is a little bit different. Contents must be kept "wet" at all times. That means only cook in water-based liquid: no baking or other recipes that come out "dry" in the end.
- Don't dry-heat the pot in the cooker. The properties of clay require that it is always wet when being heated. So just make sure you put your wet ingredients in before starting a cooking cycle!
- No sudden temperature changes: Don’t put a hot pot on a cold countertop, or the fridge, or in the freezer.
(I wouldn’t put it in the freezer at all, though I do put it in the fridge all the time—just wait until it’s room temperature to do that)
If you want to take the hot pot out of the cooker and put it on a counter or table, use a trivet or towel underneath.
- Don’t cook rolled oats or white potatoes in VitaClay
Steel cut oats are amazing in VitaClay—just don’t cook them for more than about 40 minutes, or you’ll have a burny, sticky mess at the bottom. I wouldn’t cook rolled oats in it at all—it will burn and probably crack the pot.
Potatoes are super starchy, and the clay pot gets hot. If you do cook potatoes with something else, just layer the something else on the bottom and make sure there is plenty of liquid.
- If you’re cooking anything starchy(rice, split pea soup, potatoes, etc) and want to re-heat it, use a spoon or spatula to thoroughly scrape the bottom of the pot before re-heating, otherwise that starchy stuff that has settled to the bottom will stick.
- Don’t bang the pot on the counter or against anything else.
This includes the dishwasher. If you choose to use it (not recommended), make sure it’s free and clear of any other dishes that it could bump up against while it’s in there.
If you keep these things in mind, you should be able to keep your clay pot in great shape for many years to come!