Hooks for Cooks™

How Do You Clean Burnt Pots?

December 21st, 2010

copper potsOy.  Who wants to deal with a burnt pot at this time of year?

I readily admit that I’ve burnt many things over the years.  One incident that stands out as one of the worst was when I was making a large pot of split pea soup in my pricey Kuhn Rikon pressure cooker. As I recall, I got distracted by my children and forgot that the pot was simmering quietly on low. When I returned, the soup was history and my pot, which was a gift from my dad, seemed destined for the landfill.

 I spent  a lot of time hunched over that pot, scrubbing,  scraping, and  hoping for a resurrection. When I ran out of steam, my husband  muscled up and began to tackle it as well. We eventually turned it around, but it was never quite the same.

When I was reading Facebook the other day and came across a status update by Nancy Baggett, I chuckled. Baggett is a fellow food writer and the author of a wonderful baking book called, Kneadlessly Simple: Fabulous, Fuss-Free, No Knead Breads. I appreciated Nancy’s candor on that post, because she explained that she had burnt not ONE but TWO pots of rice and was worried about her copper clad stainless pots, which were obviously in a sorry state. 

Nancy’s Facebook friends stepped up and started offering advice on how to clean those pans—cook with tomato juice, use baking soda, buy a can of Bar Keeper’s Friend, get a pumace stone at the hardware store, try those metal scrubbing pads. Some folks, myself included, suggested getting a rice cooker for the future. Nancy spent a lot of time scrubbing those pots. The last status update indicated that they were looking better thanks to a lot of elbow grease.

So, what are your favorite methods and trusty tools for resurrecting a pricey or precious burnt pot?

Photo of vintage copper pots from France by Carolyn B. Trainer

–Melissa A. Trainer

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