Dutch ovens are pretty useful and versatile piece of cookware. They are two-piece cooking utensils that include a pot along with its well-fitting lid. They have thicker walls than a regular pot and some of these can be used on the stovetop or in the oven. They are used to cook a variety of dishes, from soups, stews to all kinds of rice and other casserole dishes.
When choosing a dutch oven, we look at the shape, size, and weight to make sure it would be easy to handle and clean while fully serving the purpose of cooking in it. But have you ever thought of choosing a healthy one?
A healthy one would be one that doesn’t leach toxins into food while cooking. Typically, Dutch ovens are made from metals like cast iron, aluminum, stainless steel etc. or ceramic. Cooking is a chemically transformational process, the metal ions from metal pots and the chemicals and oxides from ceramics react with food with heat as a catalyst.
In fact, all metals, chemicals, glazes, enamels etc. leach toxins [chemicals like Cadmium, Lead, Petalite (Lithium) and metal ions like Al-Aluminum, Ni-Nickel (steel), Ti- Titanium (steel), Mo – Molybdenum (steel), Cr-Chromium (steel), Fe-Iron (steel)] into food while cooking, even at low heat. These toxins assimilate with food and accumulate in the body, causing health problems.
In order to make a healthy Dutch oven, the use of chemicals, metals or ceramic must be avoided. The pots made from pure clay are healthy as pure clay is naturally free from toxins and doesn’t react to food at all. Pure clay pots are handmade with utmost care to avoid the use of chemicals.
These healthy dutch ovens are 100% non-toxic and can easily pass the alkaline baking soda test, that can be performed at home to test the toxicity of a utensil. This is how it’s done:
- Boil 2-3 cups of water in any pot, when it starts boiling add 2 tsp of baking soda. Boil for 5 more minutes. Turn stove off.
- Wait till cool enough to taste then taste the water (take a sip). If you taste metals, that’s what you’re eating! If water has a rubber/paint taste it’s the chemicals from enamel/glaze.
As a control, stir 2 tsp of baking soda to 1 glass of water and take a sip – you will taste just the baking soda. It shows the material doesn’t leach anything and is appropriate for cooking.
If the dutch oven in your kitchen fails this test, it’s time you switch to a healthy alternative!