Search This Blog

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Bountiful harvests make for busy days.  Everyday there is something that needs our attention.  It does our hearts good to see the pantry shelves filling up with colorful jars of produce.  You can't help but feel thankful and a bit proud that your hard work has resulted in staving off the wolves at the door for at least another year. At one time, a tour of the neighbor's pantry was a requirement when you visited.  Ah!  Life was so dear back then!

Anyway, you are probably  wondering what the title of this post means. Well, I've been making up batches of my oven roasted spaghetti sauce (24 pints so far),  and my roaster is starting to look pretty rough.  Scouring wasn't helping much as the all those little nooks and crannies were really getting blackened.  So I used this thrifty, easy trick to clean it.  Pour a generous amount of ammonia into the pan.  I used about a half cup.  Place the pan  in a black garbage bag and let it sit out in the sun for a few days.  After a few days, take it out of the bag and hose it off, then wash as usual.  Looks brand new.  This works great for cleaning the grill too.  Now I need to figure out how I can stuff my stove in a garbage bag and use this method.  Sure would beat standing on my head to scour it out!

The above picture is of the double cosmos in my cutting garden.  I love the unexpected color combination of the orange and pink too.  Starting to look like autumn around here!

PS:  Ammonia is a very caustic chemical, so use caution when using it.  Read the back of the bottle and never, never, mix bleach and ammonia.  It can cause a fatal vapor.  But don't be afraid to use it.  It's been around for ages and is still one of the best cleaners penny-wise! I bought it for 99 cents for two quarts  two decades ago and this latest jug cost $1.12.  Compare that to the price of oven cleaner that I've used in the past to clean the grill.  And this method does a much better job!


  1. Hi! Both pictures are beautiful. I love the double cosmos.....I saw some in a seed catalog. When i saw your title...I thought you wished you could have a disposable stove after cooking and splashing, but after reading, I learned something new! I love your posts. love,andrea

  2. I had never heard of that before, Jane! What a great idea! Stove?? Hmmmm... Yeah. Toss it! LOL Actually, E gave me some orange cleaner and it worked like a dream on the stovetop. My stove is gas, so I don't like to use anything that would EXPLODE! And, it smelled really good, too!

    If the end times come, I am walking to your house. I didn't do a summer garden since I was gone all of July. However, I am going to corner the market on winter squash and pumpkins! LOL

  3. Hi Andrea! I'm saving the seed for my friend Vickie, so if you'd like some, just let me know. A disposable stove would be nice. They sure take a lot of wear and tear with canning.

    Gee whiz Matty, I better add a postscript in case someone actually thinks that they can do this to there stove. Mine electric so it might work! Believe it or not, you are not the first person to tell me that I'm their fallback plan if things in the world go bad. I'm going to have to set up barracks in the garage. You won't need to walk though, you can come via goat cart! Wish you lived nearer, I have a bumper crop of pumpkins and Mooregold squashes!

  4. I've heard this before but forgot about it. Great tip, thanks!

    I am envious of your berries... They look so good. We have to drive 2 hours to pick. With the cost of gas it just isn't economical this year.

    Blessings, Debbie

  5. It really works great Debbie. Although I can't do the entire stove, I am going to take out the racks and do this to them. We planted the blackberry bushes about three years ago and now the produce so many berries that we can't give them all away. Wish I could send you some!

  6. Thanks jane, I know where to get some though. But maybe I will dig a garden for them this fall, in advance. As I know they are a tall flower. I just ordered some seeds today for an indoor herb garden for winter. I couldn't find everything I wanted locally. love,andrea

  7. Your blackberries look amazing- and your cosmos are beautiful!! I love the pink and orange together. I haven't thought about using ammonia in years- my mother, who is an excellent house keeper, used it all the time when I was growing up. What a good tip for those difficult stains on pans!

  8. Cosmos reseed themselves, Andrea, so once you plant them, you need not ever do it again. A windowsill herb garden would be nice!

    Thanks April! I would never have thought to put those two colors together, but I love how it looks. I was really amazed at how well the ammonia did. That roaster looks brand new. I'm going to use it on the drip pans of my stove next. Canning really does a number on the stove!

  9. Dear Jane,

    Mmmm, blackberries! And the cosmos are so unique; I'm used to the fuschia-colored single variety!

    Thanks for the cleaning tip; ammonia was definitely a favorite in the late 1800s/early 1900s. Every single magazine and book I have on housekeeping has LOTS of ammonia recipes in it!



  10. Wish you lived nearby, Marqueta, so I could share the berries with you. The bushes are so productive, I can't give them all away. Bet you could come up with some interesting medicinal uses for them. Ammonia works! Funny how we always think newer is better. Sometimes tried and true is best and you certainly can't buy anything much cheaper!

  11. Ironically enough I don't think I've ever used ammonia to clean the stove. I've used the garbage bag trick with the grill racks, but even then I used expensive oven cleaner. Thanks for the great tip!

    I love orange and fuschia together. Lovely flowers!

  12. Hi Shara! I just read on the county extension website that you can place a bowl with 1/2 C.of ammonia in your oven and shut the door. Leave it set overnight and wipe the oven out. I'd add wait a while after removing the ammonia before you start cleaning. You wouldn't want to inhale the fumes! I have to say I was very impressed at how well it cleaned my roaster! It really does look brand new. Love the orange and pink too. Now I'm thinking of adding more of this color combination to my garden.

  13. Jane did you do a recipe for the oven roasted spaghetti sauce? Sounds delicious -
    Love your cosmos and can't wait to try and grow some next year.
    Blackberries -Bat would die and go to heaven if I grew some in our backyard. Yours look so good -You are definetly inspriring me to do more again!
    I love it

  14. Vickie, the recipe is two post back entitled "Bounty of the Earth". Blackberries are easy to grow and they don't take up too much space. Just need some support to grow on. The variety we grow is called "Doyles". You might have seen the advertisement in Backwoods Home and Countryside magazine. We really need to get together because I could give you some of the rootings.

  15. Jane
    Wouldn't that be fun if we could get together!
    I'll look up your recipe right now thanks

  16. dear jane,
    i love your cosmos flower.
    your berries ......looks so good.
    thanks for the great cleaning tip....i have never heard before!
    have a nice rest week my friend,
    love regina