Before using a clay pot for the first time it is essential to season it. Because the clay is unglazed and therefore somewhat porous, the earthy taste of the clay itself will leach into the food if the pot is unseasoned. Once seasoned, however, you can use a clay pot without fear of the taste of clay spoiling your dish.
|Seasoning a clay pot|
Clay pots should be cleaned with water only - detergents can have an effect on the taste of food cooked in clay. Use hot water and if needed a plastic scouring pad to clean. It's also important to dry the pot quickly after washing to avoid musty flavors developing. In Brazil, cooks just put the pot in direct sunlight. In less tropical climes, fifteen minutes in a 150F oven will do the trick.