From the Nobel Prize to Swedish massages, the Swedes have made contributions to pretty much every aspect of life. They've even entered the cooking world with a line of non-stick baking pans and oven-save grill pans (among other items) to suit your every cooking need. But if your cooking skills run more along the lines of the Swedish chef from the Muppets than, say, Marcus Samuelsson, chances are you're one of many would-be chefs who has managed to get one cooking substance or another stuck on your pans.
Well, don't "fortvivlan,", as the Swedish would say, (it means "despair"). Here are some ways to remove oil, grease and other substances from your precious pans without also removing the non-stick surface:
Patience Is a Virtue
Time not only heals all wounds, but it can also help clean most pans, too. Sometimes, all a pan needs is a good soaking, and it's as easy as turning on the tap. Fill the dirty pan in question with warm to hot water, and let it stand for 5-10 minutes, then try scrubbing it with a nylon scrubber.
You may have to do this a couple of times, and if you're still having trouble but don't want to break out the sandpaper to get the gunk off, try soaking the pan in a solution of warm water and liquid dish soap overnight.
Don't Scratch It!
Like mosquito bites, good pans should never be scratched. Usually, a nylon scrubber sponge is good enough to get most debris and residue off of pans, but if you find yourself eyeing the pumice stone you usually reserve for removing your calluses to help you remove that stuck-on whatever-it-is, reach for that little orange box of baking soda instead.
Make a paste with baking soda and water and spread it over any troublesome spots you find. Then use the nylon scrubber again (yes, that worthless, good-for-nothing sponge you were about to throw away) and scrub those spots. Baking soda is great because it's abrasive enough to remove just about any residue or burned-on substance without removing the surface of the pan itself.
Vinegar to the Rescue!
There really isn't anything that vinegar can't clean, and non-stick pans are no exception.
So, since oil, water and vinegar play together about as well as a couple of three-year-olds who haven't had a nap, why not use that to your advantage? Next time you're faced with a pan that has an oily or greasy residue that doesn't respond to regular dishwashing detergent or soap, toss 1/2 cup of vinegar into the pan and fill the rest of the way with water.
Then place the pan on the stove and bring the water/vinegar solution to a boil. The heat, combined with the acidity of the vinegar, will help release the oil from the pan and pull it to the surface of the water, at which point you can easily remove the oil. Then wash the pan as you normally would with soap and water and dry with a soft cloth.
These are just some of the many ways your Swedish non-stick pans can be cleaned. Of course, prevention truly is the best medicine, so if you don't have time to clean your pans right after using them, just add some soap and water to them and let them soak. That way, you can relax while you have your meal, confident in the knowledge that the inevitable cleaning will be far less of a hassle. Njut! (Enjoy!)
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