How Safe Is Your Cookware? & Berry Dumplings In A Clay Pot

July 1, 2014

Blackberry & Peach Dumplings

I do a lot of research on food safety, but even I was utterly confused about cookware safety.

Following my research, I peered into my dark cupboards, and started pulling out all my cookware.

First, it was shocking how much I had stocked over the years, and more surprising was how much non-stick cookware were in those cupboards. I tossed out a lot of old pans and here is why.

How Safe is Your Cookware

Non-Stick Cookware also known as Teflon
One of the main chemicals used in nonstick cookware, is perfluoroocatanoic acid also known as PFOA.

That chemical is what keeps food from sticking to nonstick cookware and it has been on the market since the 1940s. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) did a study in 2005 and it showed that more than 95% of Americans have the chemical PFOA in their blood.

In 2011, the EWG issued a report that suggests that PFOA is toxic to human health.

Another chemical in non-stick pans is called polytetrafluroethylene (PTFE), and its safety has also become the subject of a health debate.

In 2003, the EWG petitioned the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to put labels on PTFE-coated cookware to warn of potential safety concerns to both pet birds and humans.

The petition cited multiple cases of bird deaths due to fumes from PTFE nonstick coating. They also said that toxic fumes from Teflon chemicals released from pots and pans at high temperatures can cause people to develop flu-like symptoms called Teflon flu.

The EPA is still investigating the dangers of PTFE but do agree that the chemical causes developmental and other adverse effects in laboratory animals and is very persistent in the environment.

One thing everyone agrees upon is never use a non-stick pan over high heat.

Cast Iron
Many recommend cast iron pans knowing that cast iron cookware “leaches” iron into food in significant amounts.

While this can serve as a nutritional advantage for some, there are certain dangers associated with cast iron in food.

Hemochromatosis or iron overload disease affects as many as 1 million people in the US alone, and they should not use cast iron pans.

Also children under age three are particularly susceptible to iron toxicity, and parents should avoid using iron cookware when cooking for children.

Safe Cookware Options
Although opinion differs on safe cookware alternatives, most recommend stainless steel, tempered glass cookware, ceramic or my new favorite unglazed clay cookware.

I personally love cooking in clay because it is the most natural cooking alternative, and does not leach into food. It also holds heat and moisture which cooks the food more evenly.

Clay pots also have the ability to interact with acidity in food, neutralizing the PH balance. Something naturally acidic will take on some natural sweetness when cooked in a clay pot.

Last year I bought my first clay pot called La Chamba for soups, stews and sauces. Everything tasted better in that clay pot and I became a believer.

These Chamba pieces are not glazed so there is no lead in the clay. There are also no toxins used in the production of La Chamba cookware and dishes.

They can be used in the oven, on the stovetop and even over an open fire for all you campers.ย  Not only that, they look beautiful on your table. Now on to food.

I came across a version of this peach and blackberry dumpling recipe in the LA Times and decided to veganize it. I cooked it in my new favorite La Chamba clay saute pan and wow it was spectacular.

The fruits stayed really moist and juicy and the dumplings turned a gorgeous golden brown. You can use any fruits you like but I always go for in season organic fruits. That is when you will get the best price and your produce will be at the peak of its flavor.

Hope you enjoy this yummy, healthy, plant based recipe as much as we did. Wishing you a peaceful and compassionate week. Don't miss any of Ordinary Vegan's delicious free recipes by signing up here.

Blackberry & Peach Dumplings

Blackberry & Peach Dumplings
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 2 pints blackberries
  • 2½ pounds peaches, peeled and quartered
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract or vanilla
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1½ cups flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 6 tablespoons of Earth Balance vegan butter diced into ½-inch pieces
  • ¾ cup almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ⅓ cup sliced almonds
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 425 F
  2. Lightly grease a 4-quart (10-inch) Dutch oven.
  3. Pour ¾ cup of almond milk into a bowl. Whisk in 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice and let sit for 10 minutes.
  4. Combine the peaches and blackberries in the dutch oven, and toss with 2 tablespoons maple syrup, the almond extract and orange zest.
  5. In a large bowl , whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Cut in in the cold butter using a pastry cutter or fork until the butter is reduced to small pea-sized pieces. Pour in the buttermilk, and stir until the mixture is combined to form a thick, sticky batter. Gently stir in the almonds to combine.
  6. Scoop the batter into 8 or so portions, using a large soup or small serving spoon. Space the dumplings evenly over the peaches and blackberries.
  7. Place the Dutch oven into the pre-heated oven and cook until the dumplings are puffed and a rich golden color and the fruit is soft. Approximately 30 minutes.

ย 

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108 thoughts on “How Safe Is Your Cookware? & Berry Dumplings In A Clay Pot

  1. I would love to win this. I have been looking at safe cookware options and I am confused as well. I prefer something non stick for sticky foods.

  2. Did not understand how to leave a comment via the contest entry… so I will do it here. I would love to make a wonderful vegan split pea soup in the soup pot!

  3. Good blog about cookware safety. I’m using stainless steel pots, but would love this clay pot! I’d 1st make your cobbler recipe; I adore cobbler!

  4. I have been interested in clay cookware for some time and now I have more information on how to select the right product. Thank you so much. Knowledge is power! The first thing I would make is my favorite red lentil and vegetable soup.

  5. I would love to have a clay pot …I think some oven-baked beans would be my first choice. Then maybe some curries chickpeas. Mmmm mouth watering ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. We used to cook Chicken and such in clay roasters in Germany – I have never seen such a roaster here in the States – maybe I haven’t looked hard enough. I would love to cook a potato stew in it – with leek and onions.

  7. I recently tossed all my teflon cookware and bought a ceramic pan. I like it but have never heard of clay pots. Would love to have one!:)

  8. I will use it for making everything healthy and not have to worry about using a non-safe pan.

  9. I am very curious how chili and or other tomato based soups would work in this pot – with reference to staining it primarily. Would love to give it a try tho ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Hi Mike – I have used my soup pot for many tomato based soups and no stains. Thanks for stopping by and for being part of our community.

  10. I have no idea what I would want to try first with this new pot!!!! Maybe some kind of Thai curry ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. I’d make ridiculous amounts of dumplings. There would have to be laws put into place restricting my dumpling making. But I would go against those laws and run an underground dumpling speakeasy, becoming top dumpling distributor, and rake in my spoils while people sell their souls to become part of my super secretive dumpling ring. After monopolizing the dumpling industry, I would retire early and live out the rest of my life comfortably with my beautiful family, all six children named Dumpling of course. On my deathbed I would pull my eldest child, Dumpling, and whisper, ‘It’s all yours now, boy’ before slipping away peacefully into my eternal slumber. Many would grieve and my children would inherit this beautiful piece of cookware, with a note inside with the coordinates to where it all started , right in my kitchen. That, is what I would make if I owned this essential to every kitchen.

      1. Thank you, Nancy!! I’m very new to the vegan community so this website has been a HUGE help in going shopping for the first time and figuring what to buy/avoid. Ordinary Vegan is an excellent resource, so yay! thank you for making this lifestyle change a whole lot easier to transition into:)!

  12. I would make something yummy for hubby and our four kids. I love making soups! I’d start with my sweet potato-peanut butter-tomato soup!

  13. Hi, We would love to have this as this is healthy and adds happiness to our lifes ๐Ÿ™‚

    This would a gr8 house warming gift too as we moved to our first new home last weekend ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Mercy, so many things could be made in this pot! My spicy pumpkin soup, black beans and rice with lots of fresh cilantro, pasta pesto Genovese, tomato-spinach soup… the list goes on and on! I might wear it out! This recipe looks good, but I’d make it gluten-free.

  15. Smoked paprika butter bean stew, pea soup, sweet potato and mange tout coconut curry…mmm I sure hope I win!

  16. I am going to try that yummy Blackberry and Peach Dumplings recipe. I would prefer making it in the Chamba pot! Thanks for a very informative article. It’s a huge concern for me to cook/bake in safe cookware.

  17. I would make a carrot soup with coconut milk … yummy ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ and after that.. Curried quinoa with cashew and peas ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. I would love to cook my two favourites, Coconut Red Lentil Soup and my Vegan Chili. Mmmmmm! It would be even better cooked in one of these wonderful pots, I’m sure!

  19. I am trying to shed my teflon and cook more safely. This beautiful pot would be a perfect addition to my cookery makeover!

  20. I would love to win the pot and make a delicious Moroccan Veggie Tagine served over a quinoa pilaf! yummy! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  21. I will like to use this pot (which I have been looking for years because I had one that my grandmother used in Italy years ago, but I never found one that was un-glaced ) to make my marinara sauce, or my filetto di pomodoro sauce. I will also make my swiss chard and cannellini beans soup and many more vegan recipes I already make on a regular basis.

  22. Oohlala~ after searching the world over for a healthy soup pot to cook seasonal soups year round and THIS. IS. IT! Would love to win this giveaway and use it to make your sweet potato soup and creamy pumpkin soup recipes. Mmm soup! ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. I would love to try this recipe! I have heard great things about clay pot cooking. What a great pairing this would be.

  24. Thanks for the great information on cookware safety. I’ve been using my ceramic pots more and more, with the cast iron occasionally. I am trying to use the Teflon less and less, but haven’t quite gotten to the point of throwing it out yet. I would sure love to cook in a clay pot!

  25. My 15 year old daughter is transitioning from Vegetarian to Vegan. I’d make a vegan version of my Persian Eggplant.

  26. Thank you for the info on cast iron – I have one regular cast iron pan but I also have enameled cast iron pans. Winning a clay pan would be totally awesome ! Maybe my hubby can purchase one for me as a anniversary gift.

  27. I didn’t know that about cast iron. I thought I was covered! I’d love to win that pot and cook my first cabbage potato soup of the fall. Yum yum!

  28. I would actually try a variation of the blackberry and peach dumpling recipe posted above – omit the peaches and use other types of berries.

  29. Thanks so much for the cookware information and for the recipe! I’m curious if you have done any research on the new titanium cookware from Saladmaster? I think it is called 316 Ti. My dad recently started selling them and swears they are the best and do not leach any toxins. They are way above my budget so I haven’t considered buying them since I already have a very nice stainless steel set. Still, I would love to have a bit more research about the best options out there should in the future I decide to make the change.

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