Like most other types of traditional pottery used for cooking, I’ve been taught to “cure” the pottery to make it ready for use. These pots are for cooking directly on the flame. There seem to be a variety of techniques for curing and here in San Miguel de Allende I have learned two distinctly different methods.
For both methods the first step is the same.
Step 1. Rub the unglazed outside of the cazuelas with fresh cloves of garlic, coating the entire outside surface of the cazuelas.
Method 1: After rubbing the exterior of the pot with garlic, pour water into the cazuela until it is half full. Place on burner on low heat until all water has evaporated. Watch carefully or pot may crack. Remove from heat and it is ready to use!
Method 2: This method does not use water. After rubbing the exterior of the pot with garlic, place a tortilla in the cazuela and cook on low heat until the tortilla turns a very dark color. Remove from heat and it is ready to use.
Once “cured” the process does not need to be repeated. Never put cazuelas in the dishwasher, wash by hand.
It’s like cooking in art! Thank you to Marilau and Paco Cárdenas for sharing so much wonderful information with me.