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Apr 29, 2013 06:27 AM

Copper pans and carbon.

I have two damaged tinned copper pans. Let's go with the first. I left it on overnight on low containing pasta and sauce. So I now have a carbonized pan. I scraped a lot off with a wooden spatula, but I've still got a fair amount of carbon welded onto the pan. How do I remove the carbon and leave the tin?

Pan number two. A friend helped clean up and took my steel wool pad to it. He spent some time trying to clean away the grey gunk (aka tin) to get back to the copper. Now I can get it re-tinned, but I was wondering if I could 'season' the pan and carbon-line it. Anyone ever tried this?

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  1. Hi, Paul:

    Pan #1: If the tin is not already toast, I would do a series of boils, maybe alternating dish soap and baking soda, and light scrapes with a wooden turner or spatula in between boils.

    Pan #2: I have not tried to season a bare copper pan. But IME, all metal surfaces benefit from "seasoning" to some degree. The bad thing about bare copper pans is they can react with acidic foods. I don't think it would be a huge problem if you restricted the pan's use to things like eggs or searing steaks.

    Nota bene re: "seasoning": I have been regularly popping popcorn in one of my heavy tinned copper saucepans recently, and it is definitely getting "seasoned". I do not scrub its interior much afterward--just a light swipe with the dish brush. The interior has taken on a darker gray color, and the texture now feels lubricious, more like a non-stick lining. And it does stick a lot less.


    2 Replies
    1. re: kaleokahu

      I would get the scratched-off pan retinned so that it's more widely useful. It's a shame to have such a great pot and then only be able to use it for occasional items. Most foods are acidic to some degree. Once it's relined, then 'season' the tin if you like -- but don't waste time with the bare copper.

      Wrt to the carbon that's on the other one: fill it with cool water, let it sit for a while (an hour), and use a wooden or nylon spatula to scrape off what you can. Then do the alternating boils Kaleo suggests.

      1. re: ellabee

        Hi, ellabee: "I would get the scratched-off pan retinned so that it's more widely useful."

        That makes a lot of sense, and would be what I'd do, too.

        OTOH, having one bare pan, e.g., a skillet or gratin, in which you could cook non-acidic preps at high temperature without fear of melting the tin or delaminating the bimetal might be nice, too. And/or confectionary. But if these are, say saucepans, or are the only two copper pans the OP has, then retinning is the way to go IMO.


    2. Caustic Soda worked a treat on enamelled Ci recently:

      Not sure if it reacts with tin though.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Robin Joy

        Tin will dissolve in sodium hydroxide solution.