I need my pots and pans to last me for as long as possible. Mostly because I am pretty practical and just don’t want to spend money on pots if I don’t have to, but also because I want new when I move, not now.
So, I was pretty unhappy about this.
One of our daughters got married this past summer, and at the end of the night we had 17 quart bags of BBQ pork left over, along with about 10 of macaroni and cheese, and 6 of sweet potatoes. Of course it all totally fits into my regular nutritional life, so no problem eating it all, right? Ummmm, no. But every once in a while, I pull a bag of it out of the freezer and work it into a meal one way or another. This time it was the sweet potatoes. Oh, those sweet potatoes. Oh, so much sugar.
And bad planning on my part. I was being lazy, and I didn’t set them out to thaw. I figured it would be fine and threw it in a pan on the stove with some water. Then I started playing on my phone or watching the baseball game or knitting or whatever, and suddenly the scent of forgotten sweet potatoes started invading every part of our house. Of course it was totally too late, and I had ruined the potatoes, and probably my pot.
I let it soak a couple of times, but the burned food wasn’t getting any softer, and I was running out of patience and elbow grease. I started thinking about how when food is high in fat and it sticks to the bottom of the pan, all you really have to do is stick the hot pan under cold water and it pretty much comes right off. The sweet potatoes had a lot more sugar than fat, although I’m sure they had plenty of fat in them as well, but the sugar was what made them burn so badly. So, I thought I’d try something other than soaking.
First I put a small amount of water in the bottom of the pan, and set it on to boil. Then I added a little butter to the water when it started boiling.
I used my egg whisk (one of my favorite items from IKEA), to try to loosen some of the burned bits from the bottom. Kind of like how I make gravy, only grosser.
Then I added ice water. Again similar to the gravy idea, the mix of fat and cold gets the bits off of the bottom of the pan. I didn’t know if it would work, but it made sense to try. It actually did start to work, and a goodly amount of the black started to come loose.
But not all. So I tried it again, but this time I used canola oil instead of butter. I’m not sure if the oil works better than the butter, or if it just needed to be done twice, but it totally worked.
A little bit oily, and just a few spots left that came off easily with a bit of scrubbing. Saved for another day!