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Help! I blackened my stainless-steel stockpot!

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Oh no! I was steaming artichokes and forgot about them! And the pot boiled dry and is covered in black char on the bottom and an inch up the sides.

I've had this happen before, but never to one of my "good" pots.

What to do? I'm letting it cool off now... I'll bake cookies for anyone who really can save my beloved pot.

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  1. Let it cool completely and then scrub gently with a scrubby cloth and some powdered cleanser. The blackness is probably at least partly due to the discolouration you get in water from artichokes - you know how they turn the water that funny blue-green.

    If this doesn't work, use an SOS pad (gently). Stainless steel purists will go crazy at that suggestion but sometimes you just have to get serious.

    1. Try oven cleaner before going the scrubbing routine. Do you know that a trimmed and rinsed artichoke, wrapped in plastic wrap and microwaved on high for about 5 minutes comes out perfectly? They steam in their own juices and are more flavorful than stovetop methods.

      1. Don't worry. I recently did the same to my Revere ware 8 qt. stainless-steel stockpot -making peach jam. I left the kitchen...and could smell the burnt carmelized peaches upstairs...and 1/4-inch of solid black carbon.

        This really works: about an inch of hot tap water and 2 sheets of Bounce fabric softner sheets. Let sit for a few days. The carbon lifts off, the remained can be scraped, and what's left can be removed with steel wool. (my pot had to soak for a week...but it is just as good as new - now). Be persistent. I actually did two separate soaks.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Cynthia

          That is great! I really want to know if that works.

          Two things I have found works on even the worst stainless catastrophy.

          1. Deglase - Boiling water will loosen quite a bit.
          2. stainless steel wool - Get's off just about anything and leaves the pans buffed and shiny.

          that is of course if the Bounce doesn't work;-)

        2. After rubbing out whatever crud you can get, fill the pot quarter way with water, add dish soap and boil for five or so minutes(Don't forget again!!!!). Usually does the trick...

          1. Bon Ami is what my ex mother-in-law used to use on burned-on crud. She swore by it and the couple of times I used it, it worked fabulously. Of course this is the woman who used Lipton Noodle Soup mix in her chicken soup and made gefilte fish by buying ready-made and adding some more fish. She also made steak by (1) sprinkling large amounts of Lawry's Seasoning Salt all over, (2) putting steak in broiler; and (3) turning on broiler and cooking until steak was the requisite gray color...actually, grayish orange color.

            About 6 months ago, I was also steaming something, but was using an aluminum steamer I bought for next-to-nothing at the restaurant supply place on 4th St in Oakland. I got a phone call and forgot about my steaming whatevers. The foul odor reminded me...I rushed to the stove and found that the entire bottom of the pan had burned away. You're lucky to have a pan left.

            1 Reply
            1. re: oakjoan

              I also swear by Barkeeper's Friend for my stainless steel. Good luck & let us know how it all worked out for you.

            2. The Bounce suggestion was too intriguing to pass up. I'll let you all know the results. Thank you, everyone.