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The power of soaking


Fat Guy
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Soaking pots is a cleaning strategy that I have found many people don't embrace. But it works. Sometimes you cook something -- like the lentils I made last night -- and you get a really stubborn crust on the pot. If you try to scrub the pot under running water, or you put it in the dishwasher, you'll make little headway. But if you fill it with warm water and a little dish soap and leave it overnight then the goo comes right off in the morning. So let's hear it for soaking.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I 2nd the use of soaking for cleaning pots and pans.

For really stubborn stuff you can fill the pot with water and bring to a boil then turn off the heat and let it sit overnight. If anything remains the next day a bit of Bar Keepers Friend will take care of it then.

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I have to tell the dishwasher at work to let the pans soak overnight and do them in the morning; she doesn't always listen but I tell her all the time.

My mother used to put dish soap and water in a frying pan after a particularly messy dinner; bring the water to the boil, let it boil for a few minutes, turn it off and then let it sit for a little while. It was a breeze to clean after that.

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In total agreement. My dad has been roasting things in the same blue with white polka dots enamel pans that are really thin walled for years. The crud adheres like crazy, but being the gentleman he handles this aspect for his wife, takes them to the slop sink to get a sprinkle of Comet or Ajax or the like and a good soak, and cleans them when they are ready. This does involve patience and not being able to say all is cleaned up at the end of the day, but his horrid pans are still being happily used.

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My clever oven has a pyrolytic self-clean setting which works really well, but the instructions are that thou shalt not leave the racks in there. So I now put said racks in the bath with enough hot water to cover and a bit of dishwashing liquid. An hour or so later, when I get round to it, the baked-on muck comes off comparatively easily.

It is advised cats be excluded from the bathroom while the soaking is in progress, in case there's an amazing clatter and lots of wet paw- and tummy-prints through the house ...

Leslie Craven, aka "lesliec"
Host, eG Forumslcraven@egstaff.org

After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relatives ~ Oscar Wilde

My eG Foodblog

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Steven, I love and respect you, but this topic had me in the proverbial LMAO position. A man of your wide culinary experience is just now figgerin' out that sometimes it's a good idea to let a pan soak? My brother and I (aged 8 and 10 respectively) were in charge of the dinner dishes in the late '60's and we discovered that empirically. (Of course, we had to remember to wash that soaking pot before we went off to school the next morning or face our Mother's wrath.)

Note: If you're soaking a stainless steel pot, add a teaspoon of white vinegar.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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Even short-duration soaking can be very effective: one of my dishwashing strategies is to fill up the pots with water and set them aside; I wash all the knives, glassware, etc., and do the pots at the end.

This is my strategy as well.. But some times, the "at the end" comes days later. :huh::hmmm:

But yes, soaking certainly works.

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

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Just as effective, but available only to those of us lucky (unlucky???) enough to have the dreaded "portable" dishwasher, is what is lovingly called "surfing the outflow" in my house.

Leave your crusty pan/skillet/casserole dish in the bottom of the sink, under the discharge from the portable. For those of you unfamiliar with these beasts, the water supply hose for the unit connects to your sink faucet at the top. There are two hoses in the coupling, one which feeds the water into the dishwasher, and one for the discharge. The discharge comes out the bottom, into the sink bowl. You wheel the unit over to the sink, turn on the hot water tap, plug the unit in, push start, et voila, clean dishes.

But the discharge is magic. Superheated (especially if you use the "scrub" or "heavy" cycle, filled with the Cascade and under pressure. I leave the last cycle sitting in the vessel overnight. Most stuff is practically spotless after surfing.

I really probably wouldn't even have to run the formerly crusty stuff through a cycle the next day, but I usually do.

Just don't block your sink drain :shock:

--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

Pierogi's eG Foodblog

My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

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Just as effective, but available only to those of us lucky (unlucky???) enough to have the dreaded "portable" dishwasher, is what is lovingly called "surfing the outflow" in my house.

. . .

I remember those days! No longer have the portable but find that the dishwasher powder is a powerful soaking agent. One scoop, fill up with water, bring to boil, leave for 45 mins to 1 hour and voila - clean pots and pans. For pans that can't be put on the stove then just a longer soak starting with hot water works almost as well.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

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I'm under the impression that soaking in hot water works better for most things but cold seems to work better for stuck on eggs or cheese. Would anyone care to confirm/correct this?

This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

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I, too, believe in the power of soaking. I also find that it's usually best to soak promptly. If you let the crust dry on the pots for too long, a multi-phase soak-and-scrub process is sometimes needed. But if you soak the pots as soon as you've removed the food from them - like I did with my oatmeal pot this morning - you have a much better chance of simply being able to rinse the residue right off.

Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

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  • 1 month later...

I'm under the impression that soaking in hot water works better for most things but cold seems to work better for stuck on eggs or cheese. Would anyone care to confirm/correct this?

Eggs and cheese are protein, and heat cooks or bakes the protein to the surface of the dish. Cold water doesn't have that effect. I recall reading this bit of information many years ago.

 ... Shel


 

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