Friday, September 30, 2011

What's the best way to clean up the black marks off a pan? or better yet, what's the best way to prevent them in the first place?

Those black marks are usually burnt food and/or oil.  
The hotter you're cooking, the more careful you should be about stuff sloshing around inside (as it burns easily onto the sides) and dribbling down the outside of the pan.  (usually if you try to pour stuff out of a pot/pan you see that your food sizzles rapidly and sticks to the side also some escapes down the outside, these are the hardest one to clean.)

Of course, cooking over lower heats will result in less marks. 

In terms of cleaning the tough spots, unfortunately soaking does not have much affect on them.  I like bartenders freind (aka bon ami aka comet) and a scotchbrite pad.  (the straight green one).  Beyond that, you're gonna need a lot of elbow grease.  There is no easy answer for this one.

And for the record, I keep the inside of my pans looking like new.   For the outside, I clean them with every use, but I confess,  I DO NOT keep them looking like new.  I am not a neat freak, but my tools must function well.  Some of my pans have quite a build up on the outside, which probably affects how they heat up a little. So as I work in new pans to my collection I'm a little more diligent with the outside.

(How did you like my use of parentheses in this post?)

**Note**- For those of you with enamel cast iron pots and pans. DO NOT use abrasive cleaners. (comet, bon ami, bartenders freind, ajax, etc.)  Companies that make this enameled cookware have a specialized cleaner designed specifically for these pots. I don't know what it is, or how it works, but it DOES work. 

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