Have you ever had this issue — getting burned-on gunk off a non-stick pan? I have to admit that even though I am a good cook (my mom taught me well), I really don’t LIKE to cook. AT ALL. And, when I do, I would rather be doing something else, and usually do. Because of this I often don’t watch my pan on the stove because my “squirrel reflexes” kick in. (Remember the movie “UP”?)
Well, this was the result of a my last preparation of Auntie Verna’s Famous Lasagna (recipe coming soon!) and it was a bad one. The WORST burned-on food episode yet. Well, actually the lasagna turned out fantastic thanks to my favorite non-stick pan, and the fact that even if stuff gets burned on it doesn’t taste like it’s burnt. Because I burned this on something awful. (And, please, no lectures about keeping the heat down low, etc. — I know, I know…)
My first attempt in trying to get off the gunk, was to just do what I always do — soak the pan in Dawn and hot water and let it sit overnight. Unfortunately, this let me down this time. It wouldn’t even budge.
So, I decided to take a look online and found several forums which suggested that I try the old “baking soda and vinegar trick.” I did what They said — just sprinkle the bad spots with the soda and pour vinegar over it and it would take up the gunk. Well, I tried it and I worked! Well, sort of… Some of the gunk lifted up right away. So, I let it set there a bit longer (actually a lot longer), and a bit more came up, but not much to speak of — even after scraping with the appropriate and required non-stick scraper. So, I did it again (some of Them said you might need to do this), but I got no better results – at least on the really tough spots.
Then, I decided to try another option. This one was weirder. The trick was to take a dryer fabric softener dryer sheet, place it on the bad spots and poor hot water over it and let it sit for a while. I thought, why not — it’s worth a try (I REALLY didn’t want to give up on my favorite pan.) But, there was a problem: I had two different kinds of fabric softener dryer sheets, so which one would I use? The more expensive name-brand-brand, or the more reasonable grocery-store-non-name-brand-brand? Decisions, decisions. I opted for both. I then did just as They suggested, and waited for a bit. To my amazement, it was actually working! I noticed that the non-name-brand-brand actually worked better than the name- brand-brand, so just for good measure, I poured off the water and added another of those sheets, poured on more hot water and let it sit for just a few minutes more. Once I was done waiting, I took the appropriate and required non-stick scraper and easily removed the burned on gunk. I was enlightened! Next time, this will be my first trick: watch the pan and don’t let gunk burn on it. But, if for some reason my squirrel reflexes kick in and I fail to do so, at least I have a seemingly “non-fail” trick to remove the gunk. And that makes me a happy(er) cook!