A few days ago, I scoured a blackened pot and felt rather accomplished about it. Nevermind that I’m the one who blackened the pot in the first place. Nevermind that I’m the one who forgot about the chickpeas boiling on the stove. Nevermind that I just so happened to be reading The Art of Memory by Frances A. Yates when this memory lapse occurred. The point is that I employed my most cunning kitchen skills to accomplish a tricky, backbreaking, dirty job.
The best part about persevering through this arduous task is not that I can brag about my amazing scrubbing skills. No, the best part is that now I can pass along a wide variety of methods for scouring, should you ever find yourself in a similar situation on a Thursday morning.
The first step is always the same: Bless your roommate for noting that your beans are burning, curse your memory for being so poor, and reluctantly dump your poor chickpeas in the trash. Charcoal-flecked hummus wasn’t what you had in mind anyhow. That being done you have a few choices. Pick any or all and add some vigorous elbow grease.
Method 1: Good old soap and hot water, combined with one of those nifty little nylon scrapers (I believe mine is from Pampered Chef). Should take off that first layer of black and leave you with lovely gray water, a rewarding tribute to your progress.
Method 2: Baking soda and vinegar. These seemingly mundane products aren’t just great in the chemistry classroom. They’re pretty handy in the kitchen too. My thanks to whoever discovered the chemical reaction between these ingredients in the first place. You could also add some coffee grounds, so long as the blackened pan isn’t Teflon, and then use a scrubbing pad. I’m pretty sure you could remove just about any amount of gunk from any surface with this semi-magical concoction. In my case, it took all but the most stubborn bits off of the bottom of the pan.
Method 3: Boiling vinegar and salt in said pan. I think I should, in fairness, attribute this one to my dear old mum; some memory buried at the back of the file cabinet tells me she mentioned it first. I’m not entirely certain whether it’s the salt or the vinegar or just the higher temperature that worked off the last of the spots, but this did it. I boiled the mixture for about five minutes, added a bit of cold water to the pan so I could stick my hand into it (a blistered hand would, of course, have been the perfect finish to this escapade), and finished off the grime with a scrubbing pad.
How’s that for persistence?