Earthenware Cooking Pots
FINDING: Some Mexican groceries in the United States, nearly all markets in Mexico.
CHOOSING: If they are intended for cooking rather than serving or decoration, cazuelas and ollas will not be glazed on the bottom. The glaze should cover the inside completely and there should be no cracks or chips.
USING: The glazes of most Mexican cazuelas and ollas contain lead, so, for health reasons, the pots should not be used for long cooking (2 hours or more) or storing of acidic dishes. Earthenware can crack over extremely high heat. There are now many lead-free items available via the internet.
CURING: To cure a new cazuela or olla, rub the unglazed exterior with a cut clove of garlic, fill the pot half full with water, set over medium heat and let come to a boil (because of the slow heat conductivity, this will take at least half an hour). Boil for 30 minutes, then empty and use.