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Have you ever burned a pot so bad.....?

For those of you who have ever burned a pot so bad you had to throw it away, here's a great trick!

Last night I made cheese soup. Or should I say, I burned cheese soup. (I know, I know, I should never turn my back on boiling milk) The bottom of my enameled cast iron pot was so black and crusty, I thought for sure I'd have to throw it away. I tried boiling water, boiling water with dish soap. lemon & salt, scrubbing, scraping. Finally I did a google search. I found this solution and it worked. I took some baking soda (thick layer covering the bottom, a few tbsp of hydrogen peroxide, vinegar, a couple drops of dish soap (dawn), and just enough water to make the water about 2 inches deep. I put in on the stove to boil. It foams like crazy, so I did have to turn down the heat and scoop some of the excess off. I left it alone for about 10 min and started scraping. I added some more baking soda & boiled for another 10 min. I was finally able to get the last bits off and was amazed the bottom was completely clean.

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  1. oh, I wish I'd seen this post a few days ago...I just threw away a pot! (look of shame)

    1. I've used oven cleaner.

      1. I've burned a pot so bad the steel melted through the cooking grates on the range. The contents were long gone.

        4 Replies
        1. re: almansa

          Holy crap! There's got to be a good story there. Please tell.

          1. re: jcattles

            my thing is burning boiled eggs (always forget they are on) so yes burned a hole in a pan. The smell took weeks to get rid off and there were bits of flown egg all over the kitchen.

            1. re: jcattles

              Well... sometimes in restaurants they'll leave a stock on overnight, and well... if the closing manager doesn't bring it to a slow simmer, but instead keeps it jacked up, the pot runs dry, the contents burn and finally the dry heat is too much for the aluminum and it melts. Fortunately, at this point, the molten metal extinguishes the flame.

            2. re: almansa

              I did the same thing. I was married for just a few months and had an electric range in our apartment. The recipe said to sprinkle salt in the pan and then heat the pan until the salt started jumping. Nothing much was happening and then I looked over at the pan to see if the salt was finally jumping and instead saw the glowing red outline of the burner coils below it. Like an idiot, I grabbed the handle of the pan (it was cool enough to hold) and pulled the pan off the burner, leaving the melted outline of the coils on the burner and the pan with a giant hole in the bottom.

            3. Baking soda and elbow-grease can work miracles!

              1. I burned a cast iron enameled pot by turning on the wrong burner....underneath that pot, empty.

                The enamel was irreparably damaged.

                1. As a kid I once tried to make perfume (kidthink, perfume being made from flowers according to my mom) by picking flowers from the garden and boiling them up in water. Left the pot on high heat, went into the front room, a good while later my mom came home (my great-uncle had been watching me, sort of) and found the pot with the boiled-on residue on the stove, blazing hot. My dad had to take it to work (his service station) and use a grinder on it to get it clean. Helps to have a mechanic in the family. Another adventure I never lived down.

                  1. Reheating canned baked beans. Oh, my God, what an odor!

                    I had 'em on a burner trivet, cooking ever-so-slowly. I'd flavored them with just the right mixture of molasses, seasonings and bacon. They were pretty "loose" with sauce when I started 'em.

                    Someone removed pot and trivet, made something, and then put the pot back -- on medium heat -- and without the trivet.

                    We were outside enjoying the "reward" cocktail -- that sublime drink that's relaxing after cooking's done and food's almost on the table. Someone commented that, through the kitchen window, they could see smoke.

                    The beans became a 2"-3" layer of charcoal that resisted everything but chipping away with a thin, stiff metal scraper. Spray oven cleaner helped get the last of it off. The bottom of the large, thick restaurant-quality aluminum pot was forever rendered black. But I still use it, and other than the color misleading me when caramelizing things in the pot, it's no worse for the wear.

                    I've had other minor disasters

                    1. When my now adult son was 13 he decided to surprise us by making a white chocolate raspberry swirl cheesecake. I asked if he needed help deciphering the recipe but he declined.
                      He made one small reading error. When the recipe said to melt the white chocolate over a double boiler, he thought it was asking him to put it under the broiler twice. The pan was a disaster. Plucky guy, he bought another set of ingredients and produced a wonderful dessert which we still refer to as our $90 cheesecake.

                      1. One of the first things I ever made was probably just something I threw together. I think I was trying to make caramel or some type of candy. Turned my back on the stove to run to the bathroom came out to the smoke detector going off and smoke through out the house. Ran to the stove and saw the fire swat at it with a towel and once the fire was gone grabbed the pot and threw it in the sink and started running cold water on it. Once cool enough I saw a thick black layer in the pot and I did try scrubbing and hot water and soap but it would not come off. I threw it out behind a grape harbor in our yard it has lots of high grass and no one goes in it. LOL I think its still there. It was my parents pot and they would have known if I tossed it in the garbage.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: LEsherick2008

                          That made me laugh. Did you ever 'fess up?

                          1. re: LEsherick2008

                            Is the harbor filled with grape juice?

                          2. While this may be slightly off-topic, talking about seriously scalding a pot, it should definitely be mentioned that pots with non-stick teflon coatings carry a real danger when over-heated -- not anything that's immediately obvious which would normally cause you any concern. It seems the coating on the pot will off-gas toxic fumes when heated hotter than 350-400 degrees -- that's not very hot and normally won't be reached with normal cooking, but if you leave a pot heating on the stove accidentally, the gasses that it will give off are toxic to birds. That's right -- no danger to humans (that has been documented), but very specifically, it inflames a birds lungs which fill with water and almost always is fatal.

                            I found this out the hard way; our pet cockitiel which had its cage in a hallway adjacent to the kitchen died as a result of a pot with non-stick coating being left on the stove accidentally and which overheated. Evidently a bird can be affected from quite a distance. The water in the pot hadn't even totally evaporated, but was down enough for the pot to produce enough toxic gas to kill the our beautiful bird. I never knew this simple but super-important fact and if I had, I certainly would have taken proper precautions.

                            I found out thru later research that the particular gas causes the bird's lungs to fill with water and they literally drown. DuPont, the owner of the Teflon invention, has known very well about this danger to birds but had never seen fit to put any warnings on their products. I contacted them asking why, but got no response. I contacted Petland corporate headquarters and asked why they don't give this simple information out when they sell any foul, but go no response either. Seems everyone is protecting themselves from lawsuits, while pet birds unnecessarily succumb to this toxic off-gassing and their owners may not even know what killed them.

                            I was totally unaware of this fact until about a week later I told a friend about how devastated I was over the death of our pet and I mentioned when I went to the kitchen to catch a pot on the stove that I had forgotten about is when I found the bird dead in its cage; she said, "oh my, was it a non-stick pot?" "What?...Yes, why?" I said and then she told me of this issue.

                            So just be aware if you have any birds, never to keep them in the vicinity of the kitchen when you are using non-stick cookware. It is such a simple precaution once you know about it and it can save your bird's life.

                            And for anyone who thinks this is one of those urban myths, just google -- pet birds and teflon cookware off gassing.