A Clean Pot Is a Happy Pot

April 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

Good Idea: Buying a copper pot. It conducts heat very well and therefore cooks food very evenly.

Bad Idea: Buying a copper pot. It oxidizes very quickly when exposed to oxygen or water/steam.

Copper is a beautifully ductile metal and is therefore used as an alloy in pots often. However, oxidation is the other side of that copper coin. (Get it? Never mind.) Oxidation causes the pot to discolor and look unclean. One is able to purchase many different types of polishes to keep one’s pot bright ‘n’ shiny, but I wanted to try a few different inexpensive methods of my own:

Lemon juice & salt, Bar Keepers Friend, ketchup

Oxidized Pot!

I remember cleaning pennies with vinegar & salt as a little girl. I used lemon juice today instead of vinegar knowing that I just needed an acid to clear up the copper oxidation. The same principle was behind using the ketchup. I’ve been using Bar Keepers Friend for years on all my pots (of any material), and I wanted to compare the results with the acid-based cleaners.

Rinsed after 3 minutes

As you can see, the lemon juice & salt win this round. The ketchup performed poorly – I had high hopes for him. I spread the Bar Keepers Friend with a wet washcloth, so it got a little abrasion, but not much; I think it did pretty well, too.

I tried to clean the rest of the pot with the lemon juice & salt, but the smell of the salt made me gag (always has – don’t know why), so I switched to Bar Keepers Friend.

Rinsed after 15 minutes

There are still a few spots (like freckles) on the pot, but it’s pretty clean without too much elbow grease on my part:

Happy Pot

Although the oxidation of a copper pot has little to no effect on the thermal conductivity, a copper pot looks so much nicer if you polish it after every use. I truly believe a copper pot is worth the pains of polishing it; I like my food to cook evenly. My grandmother has a copper-bottom pot, and she tells me she does her best cooking with it. I myself have a copper pot – which I may give away once I start having children and cannot spend every waking hour at the sink polishing my pot. But, that’s a different story. For now, thanks for having thermal conductivity, Copper.


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