When you think of pottery in Singapore, images of warm fires burning all day, every day come to mind. But the truth is, ceramics can cook just as well as the best searing Pan-Asian cuisine, or serve up a piping hot cup of Earl Grey for a winter morning.
The reason why many people think of the ancient art of pottery as being only for societies that live in cold climates is because the art has been prevalent throughout the world for thousands of years. In fact, the first pottery was discovered back in 4,000 BC in the Middle East.
This type of pottery is known as stoneware and is the type that most of us are familiar with. Stoneware is not only safe to use, but it is also one of the most versatile of all cooking utensils. Once you know how to use a stoneware utensil properly, you can pretty much use them in any type of cooking.
What is Stoneware?
Stoneware is a type of ceramics that is made from crushed stone and water. Most commonly, stoneware is made from grit or sand which are both often imported from countries like Italy and the UK. Stoneware is not intended for frying, since the water in this type of cooking contains acid. Instead, it is used to cook soups, stews, casseroles and other foods that require a relatively low heat.
Stoneware can also be used for baking and can be used to make deliciously textured desserts.
How to use a Stoneware Utensil
A stoneware utensil comes with two handles, one at either end. One end is used to hold the utensil while cooking while the other end is used to spoon or ladle contents from the pot. The spoon end is often longer than the handle of a conventional utensil. This is because stoneware has a shorter neck, making it easier to scoop out the ingredients while the utensil is still hot.
When buying a stoneware utensil, make sure that it is made from durable, long-lasting materials. If possible, try to find one made from eucalan, a polymer or stoneware clay.
What is the difference between stoneware and porcelain?
Both stoneware and porcelain are types of pottery that are lightweight, durable and good at retaining heat. The main difference between the two is that stoneware is made from crushed rock and potter’s mix while porcelain is made from petrochemicals.
Both types of ware are designed to be durable, easily cleanable and can take a battering of ingredients and heat. There are a few other factors that set stoneware apart from other types of pottery. For example, stoneware pots are usually smaller than their porcelain counterparts, making them ideal for home cooking and also making them less expensive to manufacture. Stone ware also keeps its shape better than porcelain due to its lighter nature.
How to Clean a Stoneware Utensil
If you’ve never used a stoneware utensil before, you’re in for a real treat!
Stoneware pots are often designed so that cleaning is a two-step process. The first step is to scrub the utensil clean with a sponge or mild cleanser. The sponge should be replaced after every use.
Once the sponge is clean, rinse it properly to get rid of excess liquid and then place it in a dishwasher or the washing machine.
For stubborn stains, you can always add a bit of dish detergent to a glass of water and scrubbing brush. If that doesn’t work, you can try to use a broom and duster or a sandpaper to clean. If that doesn’t work, you can always purchase a stoneware cleaner that you can put in the dishwasher.
The Best Way to Store a Stoneware Utensil
If you are storing your stoneware utensil outside, it is essential to store it in a container made specifically for the purpose. If you store your utensil in a bowl, jar or any open container, the heat from the sun, appliances, dogs and other animals will cause the clay to dry out and break down.
To protect your stoneware utensil from damage, you can also add a bit of non-stick cooking spray when storing it in an antique or vintage wooden box or the like.
The Bottom line
The bottom line is that stoneware is an essential cooking utensil and should be treated with respect.
Like any other cooking utensil, it has its uses, but it should be used correctly in order to avoid damage and unnecessary exposure to heat. Use a heat-safe skillet when cooking with stoneware and don’t place it on a burner with other foods that could scorch the surface of the pan.
When it comes to dietary sources, most archaeologists believe that stoneware was created by early humans living in warm regions of the world. If you are visiting a country where stoneware is the main cooking utensil, it is important to familiarize yourself with the type and use of pottery there so that you don’t accidentally cause damage to the local archaeological heritage.