Have you ever tried Biryani that is cooked in a handi? If yes, then you will know the difference between the food cooked in earthenware and that cooked in normal utensils used in our kitchen on a daily basis. Right from the aroma to the colour to the taste and flavour – every aspect of the food is strikingly different.
Cooking in earthen pots, storing water in them or using them for planting trees is not new to this world. This dates back to thousands of years ago when people did not have metal utensils to cook. It has been proved archaeologically that the first civilizations of India were using these pots for different purposes. Today, the trend is gliding back towards the same. The pots made from clay are becoming highly popular. Out of all, terracotta pots have gained immense popularity.
Terracotta pots have been used for cooking for a very long time
Terracotta means baked earth. Baked earth simply implies that once the clay has been tuned into the desired shape, it has to be put on fire with a temperature range of 600 to 1000 degrees. The baking should be done for approximately 2 hours so that the utensil becomes strong and durable enough. This is one quality of terracotta that has made it an acceptable utensil in the past during Indus Valley Civilization and other establishments of that time.
However, the current euphoria towards terracotta has surfaced from the 20th century. It was the time when artists and potters had again started to take interest in the properties of the material. These properties are the primary reason that has granted terracotta spaces on our shelves. Following are the basic properties of the terracotta that has played a crucial role in making it so popular:
- Porous in nature
When the terracotta clay is baked, it becomes porous. Porous means that the air can circulate inside the cooking pot. This slows the cooking process, but aromatic food is cooked as a result. Apart from that, the nutritional value also remains intact, which is not the case with other utensils. Apart from cooking, this property is also responsible for making terracotta plants a special choice for planting trees as well. The pores in the clay make the movement of air and water in the soil easy. This prevents soil and root diseases.
- Healthier cooked food
Chemistry tells us that as soon as the acidic substance combines with an alkaline substance, a reaction takes place. This reaction maintains the PH balance of the food. The maintenance of PH results in healthier food with all the nutrients being sealed in the cooked food, not escaping. Apart from these, the reaction and the material itself is believed to provide certain other nutrients to the food such as calcium, iron and phosphorus.
- Low oil requirement
When the food has been cooked in such pots, the oil does not evaporate too easily. This results in low oil requirements. Although low oil food is beneficial for all, health-conscious people emphasize that the food must be cooked in terracotta utensils so that the fat content gets reduced.
- Heat retention property
Clay is a fair conductor of heat. Therefore, not only are these pots extremely successful in retaining the heat and keeping the food hot for long periods but are also suitable for cooking meals at high temperatures.
- Perfect for Baking
Apart from using them for cooking food on fire, terracotta is an excellent utensil for baking as well. It is widely accepted and used as a baking utensil. Its scientific properties allow the baking process i.e. cooking through warm air to be executed well, and of course, maintains the taste like no other utensil would.
- Adds aesthetic value to the kitchen
One of the prime reasons behind the popularity of the terracotta pots is that it is extremely beautiful. With a reddish-brown colour, there are no other beautiful utensils that can adorn one’s kitchen. Many people buy these pots because of their beauty.
Terracotta pots are environmentally friendly. In the times of climate changes and other ecological imbalances, the revival of the usage of these pots has turned to be a blessing. Unlike the utensils made from all kinds of different materials, terracotta is simply clay which makes it easier to decompose without the emission of any harmful materials. Apart from this, they can be reused, especially in the process of gardening. Even when they break, they can be used as a base on which other pots can be placed.
- Great utility in gardening
As mentioned above, these pots are not only viable for cooking food but also used for planting trees. These make the best pots for indoor plants. Plants that require low water such as succulents, cacti, etc. are best grown when planted in these pots. Also, they can survive extremely cold climates, so the plants in them do not die.
- Easily Available
One of the main reasons for the increased popularity of these pots is that they are easily available. You can find them at Ellementry. Also, they are inexpensive, or at least, cheaper than the normal utensils that we use at home.
- Increased awareness
Apart from all these basic properties or advantages of using terracotta, one thing that has made it highly popular is increased awareness. Today, the markets are highly competitive. No product can survive until it is drawing the attention of the consumers in the market. Successful marketing strategies on the grounds of the environment, low pricing, easy access and beauty have made terracotta a successful product in the market. It has reached a stage where consumers like us are willing to purchase and repurchase them.
The story of terracotta does not end here. It is not only becoming popular in India but also widely accepted and used all over the world. Many European countries such as England, Spain and the Netherlands have generated a great demand for it in the international markets. Apart from Europe, American countries are also using it widely.
So, to answer the titular question, we can say that terracotta has gained mass appeal because of its combined package of properties and the promotional efforts that have created awareness in the mind of today’s people, based on the hopes of better food and a healthier future.
We, at Ellementry, offer a wide range of terracotta pots, curd-setters, sprout makers, water bottles and bakewares. We go deep down into history to bring you products considered long forgotten. Our Terracotta range is an exploration into history’s marvels matched with beautiful artistry that transforms your kitchen experience and suits your daily cooking and baking needs. We also provide insights into using these pots. In case of any help, please let us know. We will be more than happy to help you out.