It happens to the best of us — at least, that's what I told myself after letting a stainless steel pot boil dry last week. I set some water on the stove, got distracted, and ... sniff, sniff, what's that burning smell? First I sighed with relief that the kitchen hadn't gone up in flames, and then I turned my attention to one very discolored piece of cookware. The pot had burned completely dry, turning shades of black, brown, blue with a chalky black residue on the interior. Was it salvageable? First, to address to residue, I boiled a mixture of half vinegar and half water in the pot for 10 minutes (staying close by this time!). After letting it cool and sit for several hours, I was able to scrub away some of the residue. Needing something more, however, I turned to Bar Keepers Friend, a mild abrasive. It required a fair amount of elbow grease in addition to the Bar Keepers Friend, but I was finally able to get the pot clean. The pot is still discolored on the outside, but it's usable. Whew!
Have you ever boiled a stainless steel pot dry? Were you able to bring it back?
Emily Ho is a writer, recipe developer, and educator. She lives in Los Angeles, where she teaches classes on food preservation, wild food, and herbalism. Emily is a Master Food Preserver and founder of LA Food Swap and the international Food Swap Network.
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