Years ago when I did not like to cook or really even know how, part of the reason I hated cooking was because I could never clean my pots and pans all the way. Or it took an hour to scrub it spotless.
So it would take mountains of inspiration to get in the kitchen and try something because I dreaded the dish washing aftermath that awaited me. And back then my husband was not the official dishwasher of the house like he is now. I figured if I wasn’t able to cook anything that was actually edible or enjoyable then it wasn’t fair to make him wash the dishes. The dishes were my personally imposed punishment for not being good enough in the kitchen.
Now I realize this is old hat to some folks, but to others it just might blow your mind like it did mine when I first learned this trick from a neighbor. It literally changed my life.
After you have cooked your meal and your pot is all brown and crazy looking at the bottom, you have two options. You can make a yummy sauce by doing something that is called deglazing. Where you add some stock or wine, turn up the heat and then use a wooden spatula or spoon to scrape up the brown bits at the bottom. You can add some arrowroot flour or all purpose gluten free flour to thicken it up if you want too.
But if you are not making a sauce and just want to straight up clean up your pot, then just add water, turn up the heat and scrap away. Dump your gunky water once to see what is left and repeat the process till your pot is clean!
BAM! Clean pot!!
Then I usually do a quick run with soap and water once the pot is cooled down. I even use a tiny amount of Bar Keeper’s Friend on my nice All Clad pots and pans if there is a particularly hard to clean spot. This product is in no way shape or form natural or chemical free. I do the same 80/20 rule for cleaning products and my contact with chemicals as I do with food. 80% of everything under my sink is Seventh Generation or homemade, but I ain’t got no problem with some tough stuff on rare occasions. Most of the time plain old baking soda will do the trick but I pull out the big guns when I need to.
I have a post coming up soon about cast iron skillets but just FYI, I try not cook bacon or fry anything with lard in my cast iron skillet (I use my stainless steel All Clad pans for that because its easier to clean up). I just use butter or olive oil in my cast iron skillet and clean it out with a towel and then it rinse it with water and wipe it again. This is the old school way to wash a cast iron skillet and keeps your skillet in good condition and “seasoned”. I have two cast iron skillets – one big and one small. The big one belonged to my father’s mother and I love having it in the kitchen with me. If you take care of a cast iron skillet they will literally last forever.
The hot water cleaning tip will work on any pot or pan. Give it a try, you will be amazed!
Finally, another quick tip for slow cookers: clean them out immediately after cooking when the slow cooker is warm, but not hot, and it’s super easy. For any tough left over spots, try a little baking soda first and then bring out the big guns only if you really need to.