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Italian Terra Cotta Cookware - Green Kitchen Companion
Origin of Italian Terra Cotta Cookware
Piral is one of the ancient and popular Italian manufacturers of pottery. Italian terra cotta cookware is the product of the perfect marriage of rich Italian tradition in pottery making and modern innovation.
Italian sea towns boast of the availability of a wide range of clays and soils, which the artistic potters turn into majestic shapes with their dexterous hands and creative minds. Piral terra cotta cookware has its base in a small picturesque sea town called Albisola in the Liguria region of Italy and the art is 140 years old.
In ancient times, in many world cultures, earthen wares were used for cooking because of their natural, non-metallic and non-toxic raw materials. An old tradition of clay pottery making, creatively matched with the modern cooking requirements offers you a healthy cooking vessel and 'green cooking' experience.
Continue reading this hub for learning the benefits of cooking in Italian terra cotta cookware and the best practices to use them for a long time.
The Making of the Piral Italian Terra Cotta Cookware
Piral terra cotta cookware are made of Italian earthen clay (red alluviums,yellow clay, white quarries) and water and moulded gently by hands and machines.
Then they are hand-dipped in various brilliant finishes to give a range of radiant colours to the cookware. Due to the possibility of a wide variety of colours, you can choose the cookware to match your kitchen furniture and personal taste.
A naturally non-stick crystalline finish is brought by the glass-like glaze, which also seals the pores of the clay.
The glassy exterior and interior ensures easy cooking (with less oil), cleaning and adds to the beauty of the presentation.
In the final stage, it is double-baked on kilns at extremely high temperatures to make it suitable for direct use in the ovens, stove-tops, microwave and dishwashers.
Why Piral Italian terra cotta cookware is called 'green cookware'?
- They are made of natural earthy materials
- No metals are added, which poses the risk of contaminating food while being cooked
- While preparation no toxic side products are produced
- It offers healthy cooking possibilities as less oil and less energy is required for cooking
- It is absolutely perfect for slow-food consumption of fresh local ingredients as the terra cotta cooking retains the natural flavour and nutrients of the food
Merits of Italian Terra Cotta Cookware
The advantages of cooking in Piral Italian terra cotta cookware are:
- The raw materials used in the cookware are all natural, non-metallic and non-toxic. There is no fear of metal particles getting flaked off with long-time use and contaminating the food, causing metal poisoning.
- The cookware comes in a wide range of vibrant colours to match your kitchen tiles, furniture and personal taste.
- The terra cotta pots, pans, dishes, bowls and trays are available in different shapes and sizes for a wide spectrum of cooking techniques.
- It is environmentally friendly, not only because it is made of natural earth matter, but also does not produce any toxic side products when in use. It requires lesser heat energy for cooking due to the high heat conductivity of terracota.
- It is extremely versatile, comes in all kinds of sizes and shapes and can be used in your daily food preparation.
- It can be used for a wide range of cooking techniques such as frying, making rice dishes, sauteing, oven roasting, pizza, braising, casseroles, sauces, soups, stews, grilling, barbecuing and stir fries etc.
- It can be directly used on gas cook-tops, electric/gas/wood-fired oven, in the microwave, on the grill, on the barbecue and with wood-fired cooking.
- It can be used to store fresh raw vegetables or other ingredients.
- Italian terracota cookware can store cooked food in the refrigerator or freezer and directly taken to the cook-top or microwave for reheating.
- The glossy aesthetic looks and high heat conductivity make these good serving cookware and can be directly laid on the table. Cooked food remains warm and the smart look of the pots and pans maintains quality serving style, especially when guests are being entertained.
- The glassy non-stick finish of the Italian terra cotta cookware apart from heightening its aesthetic appearance makes it easy to clean. Soft wet cloth can easily scrape off the remnants of food particles, which sticks loosely, if at all.
- It is dishwasher safe and as the pores of the clay are sealed, there is less fear of dishwashing detergents to seep through the pores and contaminate the food.
- Many renowned chefs and cooks agree that cooking in terra cotta cookware retains the natural juices and flavours of the food and tastes better than when cooked in metallic cookware.
See in the video how a wide range of terra cotta cookware are used to prepare authentic Italian dishes
How can you use the Italian terra cotta cookware in the best way
There are certain things you need to do if you want to enjoy a long-time use of your Italian terra cotta cookware in your kitchen:
- Before the first use, the terra cotta ware has to be 'cured'. All the cookware, bakeware and serve ware has to be fully immersed in warm water for 6 hours. This is essential as the unglazed bottom of the terra cotta ware needs to be hydrated.
- Allow the cookware to dry completely after removing from water, before storing in a cabinet.
- Spread a little oil on the inner surface of the cookware and heat over very low-heat flame for 10 minutes.
- Wipe it clean and you are ready to use for cooking, storing and serving.
Remember the above curing procedure has to be done once, before the first use only.
Some other precautions:
- Italian terra cotta cookware can be used in gas cook-tops, but to be used on electric range tops, you will need a 'heat diffuser'.
- The vibrant colours of the terra cotta cookware may fade away with extensive usage, but that will not reduce the effectiveness of the cooking vessel.
- Though washing and cleaning are easy, hard, abrasive scrubbers are not recommended for maintaining longevity.
- Before using in the dishwasher, the cookware should be cleaned and scraped off any sticking food particles with warm soapy water. If tiny particles remain sticking, fungi may start growing and contaminate the food.
- Buy your Italian terra cotta cookware from a reputed company as some small, local companies might use lead or other metals in the glaze.
- One cause of disappointment can be, like any other earthenware, terra cotta cookware are breakable. They might crack or chip off if not handled with enough care.
- Also, though these are suitable to be hopped from a refrigerator to the stove-top, sudden temperature difference can cause hair cracks, which will keep increasing with prolonged use. Hence the cookware should be kept for 15-20 minutes at room temperature after removing from the fridge, before reheating on the cook-top.
Enjoy cooking classic and modern recipes in your natural hand-crafted terra cotta ware!