Cleaning Gas Stove Grates And A Sugar Speech - Life ... It's Why We Cook. Blog at - 298521

Life ... It's Why We Cook.

Cleaning Gas Stove Grates and a Sugar Speech 
Mar. 4, 2013 6:20 am 
Updated: Mar. 12, 2013 4:15 am
Cleaning the cooking grates of our gas range has been a chore that we have dreaded. This past weekend, I searched the internet for a method to clean them that we haven't tried. We've scrubbed them with scouring powder, which was OK until the task was not done after every use, put them in the oven and turned on the self clean, which bubbled the porcelain in some spots on the grate. At we found the one method we'll use from now on. It's easy, too. Just put each grate into a gallon zip bag and add 1/4 cup of ammonia and let them bask in the fumes for four hours. I removed the least stained grate at the end of the four hours and cleaned it. The crud just about fell off! Because the other grates were in worse condition, I decided to let then continue the treatment until this morning. I started with the worst one using a soft metal scouring pad and the stuff came off quite easily- top and bottom. Except for the damage caused by the self cleaning effort, the grates are now nearly new condition. I would call this method of cleaning grates a five star! You must be very careful because of the the ammonia fumes and wear plastic or rubber kitchen gloves. ...<

In my last post, I promised a rant about sugar. I will not rant, but will relate my experience and hope that it may be used by others in their own diets.

There have been a few reports in the news that are purporting sugar as the one common link to some cancers, and strongly suspicious in two forms of breast cancer. These reports are preliminary and inconclusive.

I have a condition that causes a reaction from sugar with my taste buds that I cannot describe other than to say it is very unpleasant. More of a sensation than a taste, as would be experienced with sweet, sour, bitter or salty. This is my own additional taste sensation. It is only cane or beet sugar that does this to me. The medicals find it mysterious but quickly add that if one is to have an affliction, this is the one to have.

Speaking from this experience I will charge that sugar, whether natural or processed, is difficult to get away from. As I made the transition from sugar, I discovered I was having withdrawl symptoms, similar to my withdrawl from nicotine. I spoke to a nurse practicioner about this and her response was that my "withdrawl" was less likely from an addiction but more from the conditioning caused by having sugar throughout my life.

Having had that expeience, I wonder how difficult it would be for sugar to be reduced in anybodys diet. Whether it's cane sugar, beet sugar or high fructose corn syrup the problems caused by over-consumption of sugar are the same. Natural cane sugar and natural beet sugar are not the exception. Organic sugars are not the exception, either.

Bless my wife for experimenting with desserts and treats to find recipes that I might enjoy. It is a difficult process for her but she sees my problem as a positve. During this process, she has discovered that most recipes that call for sugar, (other than pastery) have too much sugar. She has cut much of the sugar in half without changing the final outcome to any noticable degree. In pastery, the use of sugar substitutes seems to make the end product rather dry. Also, cookies do not flatten when baking and are quite hard. She has only used Stevia and Splenda so there may yet be a sugar substitute that can work. Our next sugar substitute to try is xylitol. It sounds like it comes from a test tube but it is a natural product. It is being recommended by our dentists.

I have been able to eliminate sweeteners entirely from my ice cream recipes. Unknowingly, my two oldest granddaughters had some of my unsweetened ice cream and loved it. Once they were aware it was unsweetened they continued with their mission of making it disappear. The sorbets and sherbets have even less need for sugar and can be regarded as health food.

I am not condemning the use of sugar, but I will advocate the reduction of it's use by careful reviewing of recipes and making adjustments to suit your taste. As for the candy and pop from the stores and vending machines? That's a personal judgement, just as smoking is.

"Use What's in the Freezer Month" has worked very well for us. Besides using up ready made home cooked meals and getting our meat and fish rotated we made room for some sales on beef and pork that now occupy the spaces that would have been used by food waiting to be eaten or to be disposed of later. We are very happy that we have been able to maintain the organization of the freezer because finding anything has now become very easy.

Mar. 4, 2013 6:42 am
Mike, how did you know I needed to clean my cooking grates on my gas stove. I am going to try the ammonia because I have had success with cleaning my electric oven with ammonia. I have been experimenting with agave nectar. So far my hubby likes the granola bars with agave nectar.
Mar. 4, 2013 6:55 am
good morning Mike - cutting down on my sugar intake was a huge factor in the weight I lost. Now when I "binge" or "fall of the wagon" for the holidays, I see the results instantly and know exactly what I need to do to change things. I haven't had much luck baking with the sugar substitutes but then, I haven't really tried either. Thanks for the tip on the grates too.
Mar. 4, 2013 9:01 am
Lela, stovetop grates are always wanting to be cleaned, at least in this house. It seems, the head cook is a sloppy sort of guy.
Mar. 4, 2013 9:04 am
Good afternoon, Doug. Thanks for your comments. I'm hoping our experiments with xylitol will prove worth the effort. Be careful and have a great week!
Mar. 4, 2013 10:02 am
Ugh, that horrid baked on grease. I will try your method. Thanks! Hehe, thinking of a way to make a good carrot cake with a lot less sugar. Not like I would be trying to do anything special for your arrival in June. (You did say you liked carrot cake, right?)
Mar. 4, 2013 10:03 am
Some form of sugar seems to show up in just about everything you eat. I recently read the label on a package of Italian sausage, looking for the salt content, only to find HFCS! Really! In sausage?..... I too usually reduce the sugar in most recipes..... I love your method of cleaning the grates, they sure do get nasty. Stay well!
Mar. 4, 2013 1:12 pm
Magnolia Blossom ,I don't like carrot cake, I LOVE carrot cake!!! I'll yield to Mrs. Mike as to what is going on with her carrot cake. You have about three and a half months to perfect it! If laying awake nights trying to think of a solution is required, then do it. I have no problem with that.
Mar. 4, 2013 1:15 pm
BigShotsMom, I have several recipes that use sugar as an ingredient in sausage. A local butcher told me it is not necessary other than trying to make a mediocre recipe more appealing.
Mar. 4, 2013 1:36 pm
I do try to limit sugar but mostly use it in baked goods, of which we have few. I like sweet fruit but not so much in my food. I limit or eliminate it in most recipes the first time around and go from there. I also wanted to mention a note about xylitol in case anyone is unaware. It is said to be quite toxic to pets due to differences in our metabolism and theirs. Here's one of many articles, hope you don't mind....
Mar. 4, 2013 1:38 pm
Ammonia is something I always have in the house, though many seem to not want it around. It also used to work great in the laundry for that "greasy diner" smell that's so hard to get out of clothes when you work in a restaurant.
Mar. 4, 2013 1:54 pm
That's a welcome warning about the xylitol, linda2d! Thank you. ... As a patron, I have been in a few eating places where that "Greasy diner smell" hung on my clothes even after a washing. I don't patronize those places anymore but somebody will make use of that tip! Again, thank you!
Mar. 4, 2013 7:02 pm
Right now I have a glass top stove, which I hate with every fiber of my being. That's not to say that glass top stoves should be hated by all. I have chosen to hate them just because. However, in four short months, I will be enjoying a gas stove once again! Oh happy day! I am going to file that tip away. As I remember, those darned grates were a blessed pain to keep clean. I wish I could figure out how to cutting down sugar in my diet without cutting out food. I know it can be done, but I enjoy a balanced diet of real food and processed food. >;-)
Mar. 4, 2013 7:17 pm
Aha! I thought that Wascally Wabbit had some competition when it came to carrot cake being the dessert of choice. Oh dear, thinking and thinking here, not sure how much sleep I'll get tonight. I'll count rabbits instead of sheep.
Mar. 4, 2013 7:22 pm
Doc, just cut back the amount of sugar in your recipes. Disregarding baking, there is probably too much! ... I have friends that have those glass top ranges and one hates it because they cannot use cast iron on it and the other loves it for it's looks. I rather put up with ugly than give up my cast iron.
Mar. 4, 2013 7:24 pm
It doesn't matter how much sleep you get or don't get just get the cake right. (Yosemite Sam persona.)
Mar. 4, 2013 7:34 pm
Magnolia Blossom, if you clean your grates this way, maybe you could photograph each step and make a blog post? I shoulda but the thinker was out of order.
Mar. 5, 2013 4:35 am
I knew you reminded me of someone. Many fond memories of watching Bugs Bunny cartoons with Dad.
Mar. 5, 2013 4:40 am
Hehe, gotta make sure I get those grates clean. Any requirements in regards to carrot cake? Nuts? (Not referring to you) Pineapple for natural sweetness? Ahem, I'm sweet enough, but you might need a little help.
Mar. 5, 2013 5:49 am
When we had a gas stove,i used to put the grates in a huge green garbage bag and spray with oven cleaner,left over night,came out great.Great that you are using from the freezer,and like you we now have more room for those sale items. Blowing my horn here, but i make a very good carrot cake,tried cutting back on the sugar,nope,just wasn't the same.Making it the way i have for 40+years,same amount of sugar.Certain things you can cut the sugar but IMO,not carrot cake. Like you Magnolia Blossom,used to watch bugs bunny with my dad also.
Mar. 5, 2013 8:53 am
Mike, my friend puts her stove top and oven grates in a big garbage bag, then uses baking soda and vinegar. She swears by this, though I've never tried it. That would require me to clean something. I know what you mean about the sugar in ice cream! Just over the last couple of weeks I have started making low or non fat frozen yogurt and each time I make it, I cut back even further on the sugar. I can't tell the difference! As far as other recipes, I agree that even cutting back a tiny bit can really help. Btw, are you able to use honey or agave syrup? Lastly, like Doc, I have a glass stove top too. It's pretty and relatively easy to clean, but the temperature regulating is terrible. Two thumbs down on that one. :)
Mar. 5, 2013 9:33 am
Hey Hot Stuff :)! I use quite a lot of ammonia, inexpensive, great cleaning product (grease, laundry, etc.) I have been on a sugar crusade also. Most Americans consume 150 lbs of sugar a year. I am attempting to 1/2 that this year. VERY DIFFICULT as sugar in some form seems to be in EVERYTHING. I miss my baking. I have used malted barley flour exclusively in my breads, replacing all sugar. Agave may not be as "safe" as I had originally thought, due to it's "processing". I tend to stick with cane sugar, raw, demarrara, etc. and honey. My next sugar "experiment" will be with date sugar. ... I have yet to experiment with coconut sugar... ... ...
Mar. 5, 2013 9:40 am
So Mike I keep forgetting to ask, how's the Stevia plant I sent home with you? I'm not giving up on cane sugar because I've eliminated so many sweets in my diet. I cut back on sugar in everything a long time ago. When I have the rare dessert I do want a certain level of sweetness. My guys are amazed I can make a candy bar last for several weeks. What can I say? I want to savor the chipotle pepper and pop rocks in my favorite dark chocolate candy bar which I can't find here anymore. That ammonia trick works in the oven too. Rats, that reminds me I need to clean mine.
Mar. 5, 2013 10:08 am
Carrot Cake requirements? Hmmm. The pineapple seems like a good alternative. I can take some sugar in spiced goods The spices must "cover" the sugar enough to avoid the reaction. For instance, I can eat a slice of my wife's zucchini bread without any problem but a slice of her pumpkin pie gets bad real fast. If it doesn't work for me, I'm sure Mr. MB will know exactly how to take care of the cake.
Mar. 5, 2013 10:12 am
Hi, manella! Good idea using the oven cleaner. I wanted to avoid it because of it being caustic soda (lye) based. The ammonia is less expensive, too.
Mar. 5, 2013 10:20 am
Trying to figure out how to do cream cheese frosting without sugar. That'll really keep me up at night. BTW, are you OK with pecans?
Mar. 5, 2013 10:20 am
AZ93, honey is OK for me. Agave I haven't tried. Stevia works for me. Sucralose (Splenda), aspertame and saccharine work but I am very cautious about them. I'd rather not use them.
Mar. 5, 2013 10:26 am
Lady Sparkle, where have you been? (Maybe I'm better off not knowing.) I'll tell Mrs. Mike about the malted barley flour for bread. ... Is there new research regarding agave nectar? The last I heard the only negative is that it is too sweet. ... I'll follow up on those links. Thank you!
Mar. 5, 2013 10:55 am
Hi, Cat! That Stevia plant did not like the inside life. It died way back to the roots. I kept watering it and it sent five new stems that look happy! ... I do the savoring thing with the sugar free candy that my wife and family find for me. My latest new discovery for a sweet? Bakers Semi-Sweet Chocolate!!! Perfect! ... Have fun with the oven!
Mar. 5, 2013 10:57 am
I have no problems with pecans, Magnolia Blossom. I put two pounds of them into that fruitcake a keep bragging about! Lightly roasted, of course!
Mar. 5, 2013 11:24 am
I briefly read most of the comments so don't know if this was mentioned, but a cup of amonia placed in the oven overnight is supposed to make oven cleaning easier especially if you don't want to use the self-cleaning mode. I tried it and the grime came off a lot easier.
Mar. 5, 2013 11:57 am
Thank you, GOLDENS! We'll have to try it.
Mar. 5, 2013 1:11 pm
Nuts! (lightly roasted) Check...
Mar. 5, 2013 1:16 pm
LOL!! My best chuckles are AR related. . .
Mar. 5, 2013 1:23 pm
I sure miss my gas cooktop. I can't have one in the house I live in now, but I sure hope I have one again when I move back to the South! I use Whey Low almost exclusively in my cooking. It does have a bit of regular sugar in it, but not much. It has 4 calories per teaspoon, and you really can't tell the difference. They also have a diabetic version that's good...I think that one may eliminate the sugar altogether, but I'm not sure. It cooks and bakes just like sugar, and they even have a powdered version that I actually prefer to regular powdered sugar. It's expensive, but I don't use sugar much, so it lasts me a while.
Mar. 5, 2013 1:50 pm
Gak! Magnolia Blossom are you putting cream cheese frosting on that carrot cake? The one an only carrot cake I made had a carmel glaze on it. I know, I know you didn't ask for my opinion and I am the confirmed disliker of carrot cake, spice cake and we all know my opinion about fruitcake so what do I know. Hey, at least I sent Mike home his own stevia plant to experiment with.
Mar. 5, 2013 2:46 pm
Actually, I prefer cake without frosting, but carrot cake usually has a cream cheese frosting. I will have to investigate a happy medium. Think I will end up making cupcakes so I can offer alternate toppings.
Mar. 5, 2013 6:32 pm
Lightly roasted Pecans.
Mar. 5, 2013 7:45 pm
I looked up the Whey Low, wisweetp. It looks promising! Thank you.
Mar. 5, 2013 7:48 pm
Now Cat! Cream cheese frosting is the only thing I know for carrot cake. That was the good old days.
Mar. 5, 2013 7:50 pm
LOL!! Mike, here are a couple of links to check. . . . . .
Mar. 5, 2013 7:52 pm
Ok, Magnolia Blossom, I'll give you a kick start. Vanilla yogurt (not Greek) is a good topper on many things. Maybe add some flavoring and call it good?
Mar. 5, 2013 7:54 pm
Thank you, again Lady Sparkle!
Mar. 6, 2013 6:03 am
Reading the comments at the end of your blog is like listening to the conversation around the dinner table (=
Mar. 6, 2013 6:05 am
[MB, sugar free vanilla non Greek yogurt (=]
Mar. 6, 2013 6:32 am
One comment on the ammonia - most of us "older" folks should know this, but many of the youngers may not - and I actually had a patient many years ago, in the hospital, because she either did not know, or ignored it - make sure NOT to mix ammonia with bleach!!!! Never, never, EVER! The fumes are toxic!
Mar. 6, 2013 8:20 am
Hi Mike, I have used the ammonia method with my barbecue grates for many years. I just put it all in a garbage bag and seal it all day or over night and they clean up pretty darned good. I frequently experiment with different non sugar recipes with mixed results. I make banana or mango bread with splenda and they are great. The other recipe that is a winner is the Apple pie recipe featured on the Splenda bag. Those really are winners!
Mar. 6, 2013 12:27 pm
gammaray, is so right! It is like sitting around the kitchen table. And look at all the stuff we get to learn about! While we are making friends :)(:
Mar. 6, 2013 2:04 pm
Hi, Gammaray(=, Thank you for that warning. The instructions at EHow are specific about that. Thank You for including it here. ... The conversations here have been like table talk. Good analogy!
Mar. 6, 2013 2:32 pm
Hi, mauigirl! I had not thought about the bbq grates. I'll be using your suggestion this summer. I use sauces a lot so the grates get quite sticky and difficult to clean. ... Splenda is my wife's favorite sugar substitute, too. I prefer Stevia because it is closer to natural. She has made several Splenda recipes that are very good. She even has the "Splenda Recipes" cookbook! Some sugar substitutes look like winners until, upon investigation, I find warnings from legitimate organizations.
Mar. 6, 2013 2:34 pm
Food and friends are what the AR blogs are supposed to be, Cat! There's been a few trying to make exception to that in Baking Nana"s current post but she keeps it on subject.
Mar. 7, 2013 6:15 am
Hi!Friend of mine doing a sugar free diet because she have candida problems.She use palm sugar(she makes a syrup..boil it with water)in her coffee,drinks and she cooks with it also.Its have a great caramell taste i love it,but i have to say i never try baking cakes with it.Asian kitchen use it in almost every dish.
Mar. 7, 2013 8:52 am
Hi, KOZI! Palm sugar is new, to me. I'll look for it. Thank you!
Mar. 7, 2013 12:15 pm
Hi Mike! You have a friendly crowd joining you here and thought I should stop in for a bit. Great tip on cleaning the grates. I usually do the oven cleaner in a bag outside. I will give your method a try. As for Xylitol, I thought it would be perfect for No Baking Papa - that was not the case. Gastrointestinal problems ensued and increased uric acid and seen as he has had uric acid kidney stones that is not a good thing. I am glad I am not a dessert lover but you are right, sugar is hiding in many products and it is hard to avoid. As you may have guessed I am not a fan of artificial sweeteners aka chemicals. What to do? As for that carrot cake - I make a mean carrot cake, if I do say so myself. It is one of the few 'sweets' I like, which is why I don't make it very often. I have been hearing more and more about Truvia but have not checked it out or tasted it.
Mar. 7, 2013 12:46 pm
Hi, Baking Nana! Thanks for the information on xylitol. I have recently been told I have a big kidney stone! I don't feel anything and it's not in a dangerous area so the doc said to let it go. ... We use Truvia (Stevia) but my wife says it gives her a bitter after taste. I do have a problem with it. Splenda is sucralose which is derived from sugar. The government name for it, and similar products, is sugar acid. My own research has yielded no harmful effects. My brain tells me it's a franken-food so I keep it's use minimal. ... Now, regarding that carrot cake. I would fight tooth and claw for a good carrot cake the does not send my tasters into rebellion. My wife mead one with Splenda and it came out dry. Because I only have half of my salivary glands, that was a huge problem. Of course, it would have been better if I had a neat Reisling to wash it down! ... The crowd here has certainly more friendly than some you have been dealing with. You did that quite well, btw!
Mar. 8, 2013 4:34 am
Yes, she did (=
Mar. 9, 2013 4:00 am
Our B'Nana can "stir it up" with the best of them and handle detractors with much grace.
Mar. 9, 2013 9:22 pm
Hi Mike, was thinking about maple syrup for you. Does that work? Not sure if it's big in MI or not, but I am currently in New England and would be happy to send some pure syrup and candies your way. :)
Mar. 10, 2013 4:22 am
Gammaray and Lady Sparkle, our Baking Nana is our very special lady.
Mar. 10, 2013 4:26 am
Thank you, AZ93, but here in SW Michigan, maple syrup is readily available. A friend of ours makes hundreds of gallon every year Well, not last year because of the incredibly hot spring which made the sap bitter very before any real collection could be made.
Mar. 10, 2013 6:45 pm
Hi, just joined Allrecipes and saw this blog...about cleaning grates etc...I have done maintenance/cleaning jobs on rental properties for some time. Gas stoves are not regularly cleaned by some renters and the areas around the burners are thick with black baked on crud, grates too and the oven racks are also bad. My solution? Use my tools: #1small hammer and wood chisel for the areas around the burners. #2 Round wire brush in my cordless drill (use safety goggles). Tapping the chisel holding it at an angle (not straight down) has not chipped the porceline yet but it cuts into it and what is left I can use a copper scrubber to finish. The wire brush will get most of baked on gunk off of the oven racks and finish with the scrubbers. I use some soap on the top but don't on the racks so it don't spray at me. This has worked for me and has cut down the cleaning time quite a bit. Use care and you won't chip the porceline. I like the bagging in ammonia or oven cleaner too. I rinse it off before using the drill. You might think this is extreme but I really find some really bad stove tops and haven't chipped the porceline yet. and the racks come out shiny too.
Mar. 10, 2013 6:56 pm
I sure am glad I don't have your job, duanej! Whew! That's some procedure. Too bad people can't take care of their responsibilities better. Thanks for the comment!
Mar. 10, 2013 6:58 pm
Oh yeah, duanej! Welcome to our site and our blogs! There's a lot going on here.
Click to Change your Profile Picture
Mike Harvey, daPITA

Living In
Battle Creek, Michigan, USA

Member Since
Dec. 2008

Cooking Level

Cooking Interests
Grilling & BBQ, Frying, Stir Frying, Mexican, Italian, Southern, Gourmet

Gardening, Fishing, Photography, Reading Books

Subscribe Today!

In Season

Rockin' Tacos
Rockin' Tacos

A simple tortilla topped with Mexican fillings gives you a burst of spicy flavor.

Mexican Desserts
Mexican Desserts

Flan, churros, tres leches cake? We have these and so many more. It's fiesta time!

Spring Sale! Only $5.99
Spring Sale! Only $5.99

Great recipes and cooking tips! For a limited time, get a year of Allrecipes Magazine for $5.99.

About Me
At age 16, I began cooking when my mother was injured in an accident that kept her off her feet for five weeks. At first, my repertoire was fried hot dogs with pork and beans, boiled hot dogs with macaroni and cheese or pizza from a box. After a couple weeks of this, my younger brother was the first to protest and demand variety and my dad was quick to support him. That was my first cooking challenge, learning to plan a meal. About that time, mom returned from the hospital and from her bed, began teaching me things like roast beef, fried chicken, stews and all the sides and trimmings. In 1967, I married and my wife designated herself as the cook and this continued until 1999. It was then that I (voluntarily) began cooking again. At some point, I realized that I was having fun and began searching for recipes that were more challenging and interesting. I found AR and used it's recipes for a long time before registering and later becoming an active member.
My favorite things to cook
Soups. How can I go wrong? They are a great way to use up leftovers and those veggies that are approaching the end of their usefulness. They are always an original recipe. Roasts and steaks are favored, also. Getting the right "doneness" and choosing appropriate sides for a tastey and attractive meal is a continuing and always evolving menu.
My favorite family cooking traditions
If creating impulsive menus and recipes is a tradition then, (I guess) we have a tradition. A new tradition is developing. I have a fruitcake recipe that, I believe, is near perfection. I make it just before Thanksgiving so it is aged enough for the Christmas/ New Year holidays.
My cooking triumphs
Without a doubt, my own recipe for a Reuben Sandwich. It has been a demanded item for many years and I shared it in my AR blog.
My cooking tragedies
Too many. I have been able to throw them out and have something new before my wife gets home. Most of the time, anyway.
Argentina  |  Australia & New Zealand  |  Brazil  |  Canada  |  China  |  France  |  Germany  |  India  |  Italy  |  Japan  |  Korea  |  Mexico

Netherlands  |  Poland  |  Quebec  |  Russia  |  SE Asia  |  United Kingdom & Ireland  |  United States