In a kitchen, you can’t possibly live without a piece of stainless steel cookware. While nonstick cookware is convenient and very user-friendly, it can’t compare to a good stainless steel set. You can brown and sear your meat better with a stainless steel piece and you don’t have to worry about any coating getting into your food and the associated health effects.
However, many people will dread when it comes to cleaning up a stainless steel pan. Because it doesn’t have food release capabilities like a nonstick cookware does, food will tend to stick to the cooking surface. That is when a little elbow grease is required.
Having said that though, cleaning isn’t that difficult if you know what to do. Just scrubbing alone may not get rid of all the stains and you should also avoid using a steel wool scrubber because it can damage the surface of the cookware. A normal scour pad will do just fine.
Season Your Pans
While it may not be necessary for all stainless steel cookware, seasoning them will help to minimize the problem of food sticking to the pan and hence, making it easier for you when it comes to cleaning time. Simply heat up the pan until it is very hot (water droplet will bounce and sizzle) and then remove it from the stove to add a tablespoon of oil. Make sure the whole cooking surface and the sides are covered.
Put the pan back onto the stove and heat it until it emits smoke. The purpose is to embed the oil into the pan as the molecules expand so that a nonstick surface results. Now, turn off the stove and allow the pan to cool. Pour and wipe off any extra oil from the cooking surface. You will now have a seasoned pan and food will be less likely to stick for easier clean up after cooking.
Simple Method To Clean Stainless Steel Cookware
If there is slight crust and burnt food sticking to the pan, soak it in warm water. Add a little mild detergent and let it sit for a few hours or even overnight. Then, pour away the water and scrub with a scour pad.
If the exterior is stained because of the heat, try using baking soda to get rid of it. Pour a generous amount onto the surface of the pan when it is dry and rub with a cloth. You can also make a thick paste with the baking soda and rub in a circular motion. Cleaners like the Bar Keeper’s Friend would also work to get rid of heat stains.
How To Get Rid Of Water Spots
Water spots is caused by minerals in the water and hence, if you leave your cookware to dry after washing, these spots will often occur. Try wiping it dry each time and you may well have solved this problem.
Alternatively, you can try to soak it using vinegar and then washing as usual.
Getting Rid Of Tough Burnt Stains
If your pan has really tough stains from burnt food, then soaking may not be solution. Instead, you will need to fill your cookware with water and boil it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then, pour out the water and use baking soda to scrub it out.
If that doesn’t work, pour a generous amount of vinegar onto the bottom until it covers the whole surface. Then, pour in water and bring to a boil like described above. Some people would also use salt instead of vinegar but for salt, add it in only after the water is boiling to prevent the surface from pitting. The other solution is lemon juice which should also be effective in getting rid of tough stains.
Stainless steel cookware can be a costly investment upfront like the Cuisinart Multiclad Pro but they do last much longer than your typical Teflon-coated pans. So, choose a good quality piece and it will serve you well. Make sure that it has an even heat distribution so that there are minimal hot spots which can cause food to stick to the cooking surface. Commonly, stainless steel cookware will have an aluminum core because aluminum is a good conductor of heat and this should prevent hot spots from forming while cooking.
Try to wash your cookware immediately after use rather than leaving it for hours on the stove. This will prevent sauces and food from crusting and drying up making it difficult to get rid of. After washing, dry it with a towel to prevent water spots from forming. Most stainless steel cookware are dishwasher-safe but you can simply remove them before the drying cycle to towel dry them yourself if you are worried about the water stains.
Lastly, stainless steel pots and pans can look really good in a kitchen with its gleaming appearance. While that shine could fade over time, you can keep it glossy with a stainless steel polish. That would ensure they stay pretty and maintain their mirror-finished appearance for years to come.