Stainless steel is where it’s at in my kitchen. I’ve really been working hard to make my kitchen a “Teflon Free Zone”. The Teflon pots and pans are being swapped out on an as needed basis. The Teflon cooking utensils have slowly been replaced by their wooden and stainless steel counterparts. I finally tossed the scratched and scary non-stick cookie sheets and replaced them with stainless steel cookie sheets from ESP. Love them (as much as anyone can love a cookie sheet).
My quest for a few cast iron pans is still on, but for now stainless steel is where it’s at in my kitchen. Our family is a family filled with wannabe cooks. I am not Julia Child by any stretch of the imagination, but I do like to cook. My husband is an amazing cook and my three boys have expressed an interest in cooking. Let’s just say they can scramble a mean egg and make toast the perfect shade of brown.
Suffice it to say, our stainless steel pots and pans are constantly in use. As you probably know, stainless steel pots and pans are not non-stick. There are times when things don’t stick, but with my kids cooking the pans are generally covered with ‘stuff’ that doesn’t want to come off.
A little TIP for cooking with stainless steel: heat the pan first and then add cold cooking oil.
How to clean stainless steel pots and pans the green way
For the past umpteen years I’ve been using good ol’ fashioned elbow grease to clean our stainless steel pots and pans. I usually let the pans soak overnight and then in the morning wash with hot, soapy water. I never wash the pans in the dishwasher-this could damage the stainless steel finish.
Friends of ours were visiting a few weekends ago and we cooked dinner together. One of the pans took a beating and was a challenge to clean even after soaking overnight. We decided to look into a few other ways to clean stainless steel.
- Cover the bottom of the pan with vinegar. Sprinkle in some baking soda. My kids love to watch the interaction between the vinegar and baking soda-they will fizz and bubble. Let the mixture sit for 2-3 minutes. Rinse it out and wash.
- Heat the pan after use and then pour in hot water. Once the water is hot use a wooden cooking spoon to scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen and remove excess food. After you’ve loosened most of the food, dump the water from the pan and wash in warm, soapy water. Don’t put hot stainless steel into cold water in the sink-this could warp the pan.
- Fill the dirty pot or pan with 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water. Bring the mixture to a boil. Let it cool to the touch, then wash thoroughly with hot, soapy water and dry.
- For tough stainless steel stains and burns: Mix together equal parts baking soda and water to form a paste. Apply it to the burned or stained area. Allow the paste to sit for 15 minutes before scrubbing it away with sponge or a clean cloth. Wash the pot with warm, soapy water or poor in a cup of vinegar and sprinkle in baking soda. Add a half cup of water, and allow it to simmer on the stove for at least 20 minutes. Pour the mixture out and scrub the pot clean.
How do you clean stainless steel pots and pans?