I cleaned my apartment yesterday wanting to start off the new year on the right foot. (Happy New Year, by the way!) One thing that didn’t get cleaned though was my dutch oven, which had last been used to make the yummy delicious caramels.
For the past week, I’ve been shifting that pot around the kitchen from stovetop to counter to table, actively avoiding the rock hard cement-like caramel mess coating the interior of the pot and glueing a wooden spoon to the bottom. The mess was so solid and so stuck I started to imagine selling caramel as a hut-building epoxy. Surely, this stuff was so solid we could build houses with it. (And maybe lick the walls every once in awhile when we got a sugar craving
The solid caramel on the cake pan I poured the molten caramel into flaked right off when I started picking at it. That pan was easy to clean – 20 seconds tops.
The dutch oven was another matter altogether.
The caramel on this pot was not going to chip off as easily at all. Oh no. In fact, I actually pencilled in “research how to clean caramel” into my new 2011 daily planner. I had visions of heating the pot in the oven over low-heat to see if the caramel would melt easily. I even feared the beloved dutch oven was destined for the trash. I really had no idea how I would ever get this stuff out.
So this morning, as I made my coffee, I was cleaning up some remaining dishes in the kitchen and decided to just fill the dutch oven with super hot water for awhile and let it sit. I figured that was better that than just setting it back on the stove. I thought the hot water might at least allow me to dislodge the wooden spoon that seemed superglued to the surface.
I came back an hour later.
The water was a dark murky brown.
Curious, I tipped the water out.
And the caramel was gone!
All of my worry and annoyance with this project’s cleanup dissolved in laughter.
I wish I had a “before” shot to show you how bad it really was, but I honestly didn’t imagine at all that the caramel clean up would be so shockingly easy.
I’m guessing the hut-builders are going to want to look for some other glue substance after all
P.S. Now that I think about it, there are two factors that contributed to making this the easy cleanup it ended up being: I didn’t burn the caramel in the pot. If there had been any burned spots, I’m sure the clean up would have been nightmarish – as it was for a poor little saucepan that had burned syrup in it at Thanksgiving. Secondly, I used an enameled casti iron pot. The enamel is great for easy cleaning (nothing really sticks to it) and the cast iron meant the sugars heated evenly, helping keep the mass from burning.
If you make the caramels, I HIGHLY recommend an enameled cast iron pot!