Cooktop Cove: 4 best methods to save a scorched pan without scrubbing
By Jacinta M. Carter
Even the best cooks burn their pans sometimes. It can't be helped. You're in the middle of fixing dinner when the phone rings or someone knocks on the door or any number of distractions pulls you away from the task at hand. Next thing you know, dinner is burning and your pan is all but ruined.
You could let it soak overnight and then waste time trying to scrub away all evidence of your burnt meal, but who wants to mess around with that? Instead, try one of these foolproof methods that will restore your pan to its former glory. No scrubbing required.
1. Dish soap and dryer sheet
The most convenient method for cleaning a scorched pan is to use dish soap and a dryer sheet. Simply fill your pan with water, squirt in a little bit of dish soap and drop in a dryer sheet. Make sure you push the dryer sheet down into the bottom of the pan and then let it sit for an hour. After you pour out the water, you can use a paper towel to wipe out any residue.
2. Cream of tartar
Full disclosure: this method might require a little bit of scrubbing, but only if your pan is scorched almost beyond recognition. Otherwise, everything should wipe out fairly easily. Start by filling the pan with enough water that the bottom is completely covered. Add 1 tablespoon of cream of tartar and set it on the stove with the heat on low. When it starts to simmer, wait 5-10 minutes longer before turning off the stove and letting the pan cool. Use a sponge to wipe out as much residue as possible. If there is still some gunk left, rinse the pan and put more cream of tartar directly onto the burnt surface. Use a sponge to scrub anything that's left until the pan is clean again.
3. Vinegar and baking soda
Since it's basically impossible to clean without vinegar, no one should be surprised by this method. Just fill the bottom of your pan with water, add a cup of vinegar and bring the whole thing to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and sprinkle in 2 tablespoons of baking soda. Pour everything out of the pan and use a sponge to wipe out any gunk left behind.
4. Coca-cola
If you enjoy drinking a nice, cold bottle of Coke after a long day at work, you might not want to mess with this method. Because after you see what Coke does to the burnt-on gunk in your pan, you're never going to want to put that stuff in your body ever again. For those of you who want to try this, just pour some Coke into your scorched pan, let it simmer for a few minutes and then dump it out. Anything left over should easily wipe out with a sponge. (Side note: You can use other sodas for this, but Coke seems to be most effective.)
Any of these methods will save not only your pans, but also your wrist from the inevitable carpal tunnel that would result from all that useless scrubbing. So go restore the shine to your scorched pans! And with your newfound free time you can share this list with your Facebook friends who have undoubtedly burned a pan or two in their day.
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