Monday, April 02, 2012

How to Clean Stainless Steel Cookware

It's not fun, but it's necessary.  I'm talking about cleaning cookware.

I know many people my age that when they registered for wedding gifts, they registered for nonstick cookware.  I agree that nonstick cookware is easy to clean.  I have a nonstick wok that I use quite a bit, because not only do I love the way the wok cooks, but I LOVE how easily it cleans.  But I don't love how the nonstick coating is slowing fading, and this is an expensive nonstick wok.  That's the problem with a majority of nonstick cookware-- the nonstick coating fades and may chip.

When I registered for cookware three years ago, I registered for stainless steel cookware and for one nonstick pan.  I think one nonstick pan is great, but I think the benefits of stainless steel far outweigh nonstick cookware.  My parents got married 35 years ago and are still using the stainless steel pots and pans they got as wedding presents.  Stainless steel will last you a looooong time!

I know that the main complaint for stainless steel is that it can be difficult to clean and keep looking new.  But don't fret!  I have an easy, quick solution!

Saturday morning I cooked some hash browns for breakfast.  Some of the potatoes stuck to the pan (cooking on stainless is a post for another day!).
To clean stuck food off of your cookware, put some water in the pan (or pot) and bring it to a boil.
As the water boils, the food will release from the pan and float to the top. (This boiling technique also works for cast iron skillets!)
Keep a watch on it, and keep a controllable boil going until all the food has freed from the pan.
Remove the pan from the heat, and let the water cool.
Empty the water into the sink once cool.
Put some dishwashing soap and water into the pan, and wipe it down.
It will come off easily with just a few wipes!
If there are a few spot of food left that don't want to budge, use some Bar Keepers Friend (liquid or powder) to remove any tough spots.  Bar Keeper's Friend (or Bon Ami brand) are also great for rust and cleaning all kinds of places around the house.
Rinse out the Bar Keepers Friend and dry.
Now you have a pan that looks like new!
I have to give credit to my mom since she taught me this technique.  I'd say she's an expert since her pots and pans classify as antiques but look like new!  (Hi Mom!)

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