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Thread: Claypot cooking--retained odor in pottery

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    North TX
    Posts
    596

    Claypot cooking--retained odor in pottery

    Oh dear. I think we have a big problem with a new beanpot that was an anniversary present to ourselves on a visit to Sonoma. It is clay with a fully glazed interior and all but the bottom glazed exterior, a fancy high-fired Italian brand made to be either used on the stovetop or the oven. It was not cheap. I followed all the directions for "seasoning" the pot. I soaked it for 12 hours in water. Then I poured that out, rubbed with a garlic clove in the interior, rubbed the bottom with olive oil (the unglazed part it sits on), added water, and baked for 4 hours at the prescribed temp. I let it cool in the oven to room temp. It was then "seasoned".

    The next day we made a boston baked beans recipe with bacon. All items were room temp or warmer on putting them into the pot. The pot was room temp. The full pot went into a cold oven, and the beans were cooked for the time and temp recommended. So far, so good.

    The big stinky problem is that the bean pot stinks! It reeks of old fermented beans and rancid bacon. It was washed by hand after the beans were done. Then a sticky film developed on the inside and we washed it again. I kept trying to find the source of the unpleasant odor in the kitchen...and it was the washed bean pot. DH washed it by hand again yesterday. Then we put it into the garage because it still reeked. And now, I can smell it when passing through the garage. Yikes.

    Did we just get a lemon? Did I miss something here? I don't think that essence of old bean and rancid bacon is good for the pot or for us.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    NJ USA
    Posts
    3,221
    Can you contact the store at which you purchased the pot? The store name and phone number is usually on the receipt; they probably also have a website.
    It sounds like you cared for the pot properly. If the pot is defective, the store should compensate you.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Western Washington
    Posts
    1,361
    I have had two clay cookers over the years. I have found that making a paste with baking soda and water, then using that to scrub with, and even just letting it sort of "soak" for a few minutes on the cooker will eliminate most odors. However, I must say I have never cooked beans in it, so I am not educated about the bean odor possibilities!
    I love my clay for chicken and other poultry especially.
    One other idea I have, is to try to actually cook a very bland item in it, such as plain white rice in water, just to see if that will "soak up" the odor, then discard the rice, wash with baking soda, and dry out completely with the lid off before storing it.
    Just some thoughts for you. If it was a gift, it may be good to try to resurrect it before returning it.
    Paula
    Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.

    - Phillipians 2

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Dadeville, AL
    Posts
    12,808
    What about using some vinegar to cut the scum and the odor? Caveat -- I don't have anything like your pot, but I use vinegar to remove odors all the time. Hope something works!
    Kay
    I'm a WYSIWYG person -- no subterfuge here!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    KS
    Posts
    1,128
    I don't know about care of glazed pots. I have an unglazed romertopf and once it smelled a little off (not as bad as your description though). I cut up some lemons, and added them to the pot with water to cover and baked it for a few hours. If yours is really smelly though I'm not sure you want to bake it
    Once, during prohibition, I was forced to live for days on nothing but food and water. W. C. Fields

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    North TX
    Posts
    596
    Thanks for all the good suggestions for trying to exorcise the spirit of the dead beans and bacon. I will try them all. I have plenty of vinegar and baking soda to start with. I have left the pot to languish in the garage the last few days.

    I have written to the company on their website, but no word back from them yet.

    You know, I keep thinking, I can do just about as well with my $40 cast iron/enamel Dutch oven from Costco. I may ask for a refund and not a replacement for this fancy pot if I can't get it deodorized.

    Alice

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    North TX
    Posts
    596
    Bumping.

    We heard from the owner of the clay pot store. He, like you all, advised a soak in a diluted vinegar solution. Well, now it smells like old beans and bacon and vinegar. Nice. I decided to soak it in clean water one more time and reseason as directed in a low oven for several hours. If this doesn't fix it, I don't think it is fixable. Then we will send it back. It sure is a nice-looking pot, but its not too functional. Surely this isn't the norm for clay pot cooking?

    Alice

  8. #8
    Lantana,

    I agree with Riverfarm. I would send it back too. Even if you managed to "fix" it this time, I would bet you would be reluctant to use it again, and possibly go thru such a process.

    You've put tons of effort into it (kudos to you on your patience).

    Hey I would send it back smelling like bacon, beans, and vinegar.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    North TX
    Posts
    596
    Thanks, all. I think it is time to ship this thing back. Beans, bacon, and vinegar. I can smell it as I walk by as it sits on the counter.

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