Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Removing Burned Food from a Crock Pot/Slow Cooker

Our apple tree has given us many apples this year, and a few weeks ago, I decided to make apple butter with our apples.  I pulled out my easy and trusted recipe I got from a friend a few years ago and mixed all the ingredients in my new crock pot.  The recipe called for cooking the apple butter overnight on the low setting, and I had done this multiple times with great success.  Our old crock pot had been 23 years old and one of those round shaped, upright kind.  Its glass lid broke, and we finally threw it away.  To replace it, we purchased a much larger sized, oval one. 
I set the apple butter to cook on low in our new crock pot and left it to do its thing overnight.  I was a little concerned when I went to bed because the butter looked almost done to me.  However, I didn’t want to turn if off too early, so I left it on.  We woke up in the morning to a horrible, totally blackened mess in the crock pot.  The apple butter was burned to a crisp—a rock-hardened crisp.  The new crockpot had been too large for the amount of apple butter I had put in there to cook.  Very disappointing, to say the least, that I had wasted so many delicious apples from our tree. 
We set the stoneware of the pot to soak with lots of hot water and left it for a few hours.  As we attempted to clean it, we realized the blackened burned stuff wasn’t going anywhere.  It was cooked on to the stoneware.  My husband did a lot of hard scraping with knives and spoons that we probably shouldn’t have done on that stoneware, but we were getting desperate, and I needed my crockpot in a few days for a planned dinner meal.  I soaked it longer, searched the internet for ideas, and also emailed the manufacturer for assistance on what to do.
On the internet I found some ideas for using vinegar, salt, or baking soda.  The manufacturer emailed me back and said vinegar was their only solution.  We let that pot soak overnight for many nights taking turns with water, soapy water, vinegar, salt, and baking soda.  But we couldn’t make any progress in removing the remaining stuck on blackened apple butter from it.  I was beginning to lose hope and think that I would have to throw away my new pot.  One day, I even tried scrubbing it with Goof Off and some super orange cleaner.  Nothing. 
Finally, an idea came to my mind.  It was my last resort.  I wet the stoneware with vinegar and applied a thick layer of baking soda on top of it.  After letting it sit for a few hours, I poured vinegar on the paste, let it foam up for a few seconds, and rinsed with water.  YEAH!  It was beginning to loosen the blackened gunk!  As I rinsed with water, I could see little chunks of black floating away.  I remoistened the pot with vinegar and reapplied another thick layer of baking soda and left it overnight.  The next morning, I poured fresh vinegar to create the foaming reaction and rinsed again; most of the burned stuff came off this time.  I was so excited about the progress!!  I repeated the process once again overnight; and after that time, the stoneware came completely clean.
So there you go.  No need to throw that pot away.  There is a way to get that blackened, burned food off.  It’s simple, it’s cheap, and it’s not hazardous to the environment!  

32 comments:

  1. I just wanted to thank you for this post! You never know who will find this helpful. Just last week I had the same problem with pumpkin butter in my mother-in-law's new crock pot. I felt awful that we just couldn't get the burn stuff out, but your suggestion worked! Thank you for saving me from having to buy her a new one!

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  2. Thank you so much for sharing this - I was getting so frustrated, having soaked my pot for days - this worked :)

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  3. Thank you! I had the same issue with my apple butter -the pot is soaking now!

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  4. You are welcome! I am thrilled my experience and discovery is helping others. :-) Happy crock pot cooking.

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  5. Glad to know I'm not the only person to overcook the apple butter.... Thanks for the tip! I'll try it tonight.

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  6. Thank you!! I also have the same problem. I thought of vinegar, but hadn't got that far yet. Great post!

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  7. i had the exact same thing happen with apple butter! I had gotten the crockpot for christmas and was so sad that after only the second use it was ruined. I will definitely try this!

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  8. I am trying your suggestion, mine is Teyaki sauce but would love your recipe for Apple Butter. Thanks

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  9. Sure thing! The apple butter recipe came from a close friend.

    14 large apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
    1 Cup sugar
    4 tsp cinnamon
    1/4 tsp cloves
    1/4 tsp salt

    Put apples in the crock pot, sprinkle the sugar, spices, and salt on top. Cover and cook on high for 1 hour, stir, and turn to low and cook 6-8 hours until thick and darker in color. Stir occasionally. When apple butter is ready, use a stick blender and blend it while still in the crock pot. Transfer to jars and refrigerate or freeze.

    I burned it because I left it on overnight in the new, larger crock pot, and I only made 1/2 the recipe. Too much pot for too little apple butter. I recommend cooking it during the day so you can watch it more closely.

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  10. I had the same problem but with different food. Thanks for the suggestion on getting the burnt food off the crock. I will try it tomorrow.

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  11. Thank you!! I was so frustrated about not being able to clean the burnt crockpot. What joy when I tried your solution and it worked!

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  12. I am absolutely thrilled that my experience and experiment has been such a help to so many people!

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  13. ladies was about to throw my crock pot away because the food was so burned on. i took a little advice from a lot of reading.
    salt and water in crock pot, bring to boil, i then turned it to low and left it overnight. this morning....magic! i had gotten it all off...... no scrubbing required :)

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    1. Salt and water info listed above overnight was the best! Thank you!

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  14. I attempted to make apple butter last night. I must have left it on high all night because I woke up to the same thing as you... Funny that the first link I clicked on when searching "how to clean burnt food off slow cooker" was this site.

    Ok, off to clean it up...

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  15. Thank you for sharing that. Not only it removed the burned food, it also cleaned some old brown stains that had been on the crockpot forever! The old pot now looks sparkling new. Thank you thank you!

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  16. You are so very welcome! I'm so glad you had such great success cleaning the crockpot!

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  17. I accidentally left the wassil plugged in all night. MMM....burned cinnamon, cloves, orange and apple juice. It was a mess. I got most of it off, but here I am, searching for something to help with the last tough spots. Thanks for the post!!

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  18. Thank you SSSOOOOO much for this tip. My crock pot has been soaking in hot soap water for over a week now and as you said nothing has come off. I was getting sick of my crock pot sitting in my sink taking up sink space. Although, I was getting pretty good at washing my dishes with the crock pot soaking in the sink. Really, I have you so much!!! This is GREAT!!!!

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    1. I'm in your same boat lol ...about to go try this !

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  19. Oh I am overjoyed at finding this post! Made beans and forgot to turn it off...so it ran on HIGH for 22 hours! (how did that awful stench not wake me up in the night?) Burnt leftover beans and a *I thought* ruined crock pot that wasn't even mine but my husband's grandmothers! Soaked and scrubbed for the past two days to no avail, even trying to scrape it off with a spoon with not much success.
    I've got the first soak and layer on now!

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  20. I know this was posted a long time ago, but this information was a life saver...possibly in the literal sense. My grandfather accidentally left the crock pot on high last night instead of turning it down to warm as instructed, and the apple oatmeal. My grandmother was livid at him for ruining the crock pot. I forwarded this information to them to give a try. They rushed and left the vinegar and baking soda on for only most of the day instead of overnight, but it softened enough to be scraped off. Totally awesome! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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  21. You just saved our crock pot from the trash with this post of yours. You may have written this in 2010, but by taking the time to share your experience and giving out this simple but most effective solution, you have enabled countless of crock pot owners to save their most precious slow cooker. And to think that you started this blog site to share your experience and discoveries about acid reflux. Again, thanks for taking the time to write this.

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  22. I want to thank you all for your comments of gratefulness. I am THRILLED that my experience with my crockpot has been a help to so many people!

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  23. You just saved me from tossing my mother's crock pot :) thank you

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  24. Life saver! Absolute lifesaver! I just got home from work and found that the edges had burnt a little and stuck, a almost cried! Thank you for this post!

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  25. I cooked 4lbs of pork ribs with two packages of a slow cooker sauce which is for 2-3lbs so I definately had enough sauce the pot was on low and burnt to a crisp since I have let it cook for just over 8 hrs. I have been trying for two weeks now to clean it off and finally gave up and bought a new crockpot today.. So thankful to read this post, I have just put my pot on to give it another try, then I can return the new one. Thanks for your post

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  26. Mary Ann, I am one of the grateful people who found your site! I'd just received a new crock pot from my husband's nana, and after the second time of using it, burned some roasted peppers. Soap and water did nothing, and I was feeling pretty upset until I found your article. I let the baking soda and vinegar sit overnight, and this morning most of it came off! I put on another application and expect that it will be completely clean after I let it sit again. Thank you so so much!!!

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    1. Lacy, I am THRILLED that my post could help you save your new crock pot!! You are very welcome!

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  27. Burned triple chocolate mess to charcoal briquettes two weeks ago. I really hope this works.

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  28. This really worked! Thanks!

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  29. Thank goodness I found this post. My fingers hurt from chipping away at an oatmeal recipe I left in too long! Three days soaking has not fixed it. I will be doing this tonight.

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