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Boiling Potatoes Turned My Pot Black?

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I recently bought a very large 16qt heavy aluminum stock pot to use for various purposes.

Since I had to boil 6lbs of potatoes for a party tomorrow, I decided to use my nice new pot.

They potatoes came out fine... but now the inside of the pot is completely black, not charred... but the aluminum has turned dark black.

What happened? Has it hurt the pot or the potatoes beyond repair?

And is there a way to clean it.

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  1. minerals in the potatoes leached out by the water reacted with the aluminum. It should be ok but might have a metallic taste.

    1 Reply
    1. re: bw2082

      The potatoes taste fine... but how do I clean my pot?

    2. My cheapo aluminum pot designed for the small restaurant trade came with instructions about discoloration. It said to simmer something acidic like tomato product, wine, lemon or cabbage to neutralize the reaction.

      1. Barkeeper's friend works wonders. I don't have aluminum pots, but stainless, enameled cast iron and anodized aluminum and it's cleaned up the most terrible messes incredibly well. It is abrasive, though (although my cast iron hasn't suffered for it yet); but it is "natural" apparently and is my favorite miracle cleaner for everything from rusted hardware, to burned-on food, to stubborn tub stains. Give it a try by pasting it with some water, letting it stick and using a soft cloth to clean (or steel wool if the pot is the sturdy type).

        1. P.S. it's about $3 at Walmart/Target and $5 at BedBath&Beyond; many hardware stores also sell it.

          1 Reply
          1. re: oryza

            Great!

            And I've got my 20% BBB coupon burning a hole in my purse.

          2. Hard water turned my aluminum pots dark and white.

            At home they turned dark, according to the water company it was magnesium or manganese (I don't recall), at the cabin they turned white, according to a neighbor it was due to calcium.

            The water company suggested cleaning with vinegar or cooking something acidic.