In our previous blog Donabe: The One-Pot Wonder, we gave you a brief introduction of the history of donabe and what you can use it for. Today, we would like to talk about how to take care of your donabe. With proper care, your donabe can be kept in a good condition and last for a long time.
Before the First Use: Season Your Donabe
It’s important to season your donabe before the first use because the pot is made from clay, and it is porous. The process of seasoning is called medome (目止め).
Starch from rice or flour will fill the tiny pores in the pot, and it helps prevent breakage and damage by heat. It can also help preventing smell and stain from cooking. Seasoning your donabe will help to keep your donabe in a good condition and last for a long time.
- Save the water you use for rinsing the rice.
- Fill the pot with rice water.
- Bring to a boil on medium-low heat and simmer on low heat for 15 minutes.
- Let the water cool to room temperature. Discard the water and rinse the pot with clean water.
- Dry it with a clean cloth and allow it to air dry completely overnight before first use or storing.
General Care Instructions
- It's important to let the donabe be fully air-dried after use. Even if the surface appears to be dry, most of the water will remain inside. Please wait until the donabe is completely dry before putting them in the kitchen cabinet.
- Please try to avoid leaving food in the donabe for a long time after eating to avoid staining or odor on the piece. It's recommended to clean it immediately after use, and to store the pieces after they are dry.
- All ceramics may be cracked or damaged due to excessive temperature differences. Please do not directly soak the pot in cold water when they are in a high temperature state.
- To reduce odor and food stains stuck on the pot: add 4 tablespoons of baking soda and 1 tablespoon of white vinegar to 1 liter of water, and soak your pieces in the above solution for a period of time (please adjust the amount of baking soda and white vinegar according to the intensity of the smell).
- Fine cracks on the bottom inside the donabe are completely normal. These small cracks distribute the heat evenly during cooking, preventing large cracks from occurring.
- Please stop using your donabe immediately if there is any major cracks (long ones that runs to the edge of the pot) or visible damage on it.
- Please do not use your donabe for deep-frying. Stir-frying with low-medium heat is ok.
- The handles and lid will be hot when heated. Please use mittens to hold.
- Remove the lid when using it in an oven as a rapid rise in temperature may cause breakage.
- Do not heat without water.
Learn more about what you can do with donabe and how to cook delicious rice with your donabe here!