Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Junque-ology - Cleaning Copper-bottomed pots

Cleaning Copper-Bottomed Pots

My mother-in-law knew that I coveted her ancient Revere-Ware copper bottomed pots. They were awesome for even heating and not scorching. She gave them to me when she bought herself some new cookware, and I happily took them.

At some point in time (in Happy Accident Land), tomato sauce overflowed one of these pots, and we'd noticed that the copper which was dull and dark, became clean and spiffy looking. Thinking we were geniuses, we would occasionally throw the pots in a shallow dish filled with some sort of tomato sauce. Spicy V8 was the usual fare, as we always had some around, but it never got used enough to feel bad "wasting" it to clean a pot, if you get my drift.

Anywhooooo, last week I noticed that my most beloved pot was getting reeeeeeally grimy on the bottom, and I knew that I'd have to get around to cleaning them. Since I started this blog, I thought it might might be neat to conduct a wee little experiment and see if tomato juice was truly the bestest, fastest, easiest way to clean a copper-bottom pot.

I went to my trusted old book, "Talking Dirty with the Queen of Clean," by Linda Cobb. In the book, the author said to use lemon juice and salt to shine up copper. And I got to figuring, tomato juice and lemon juice...both are acids, so why not try vinegar, too? This works out well, because I have three copper pots to clean.  :)

As you can see, they are pretty dingy. Definitely time for a clean. I got out my trusty Pyrex casserole dishes, and loaded one up with each acid: V8 Juice, vinegar, and lemon juice. I dunked one pot in each for a minute, then poured salt on the bottoms, put them back into their respective acids, and swished each for a minute or so.

Here are the results, and let me say, I'm pretty surprised:

 I'm calling it a tie between the lemon juice and the vinegar.  The pot that the vinegar was in wasn't as dingy, because it doesn't get used as much as the two larger pots. However, the vinegar pot needed to be buffed as it got a a grey-ish film on it when it dried.

The lemon juice pot still has a few burn spots in the middle, that has since resisted being cleaned off no matter what. But these pots are ancient, so I'm willing to live with a few spots.

The V8 Juice just did not live up to snuff in this experiment.  I finished it off in the lemon juice, and was able to 85-90% of the black off the bottom of the pot.

There you have it! And now I have cleaned pots that I could hang on the wall, if I ever got my shaker shelf up....  :)

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