The aroma of bubbling baked beans normally appeals, but a burned pot smells appalling. You could throw the whole thing out -- remember to dump the offending legumes in a sturdy trash bag and place them outside or the entire house will reek of "eau de ruined dinner" -- or you can employ these remedies to rescue the recipe and also eliminate the burned bean odor.
Salvage the Pot
Immediately remove the beans that are not charred and spoon them into a clean pot. Gently scrape off as much of the burned beans and sauce as you can from the bottom and sides of the pot. Place the pot in the sink and fill it with warm water and baking soda. Let it sit overnight and scrub it gently to remove the burnt bits.
Save the Beans
Overcooked beans can be made edible by soaking up some of the burned taste with thick slices of potato or white bread. Place the spuds or bread slices in the pot for at least 15 minutes and then carefully remove them. You may also try to mask the singed taste by adding 1 tbsp of ground coffee or espresso, a cinnamon stick or two or a teaspoon of curry powder. A couple of squares of dark chocolate added to the warming beans also masks burned odors and flavors.
Scour the Air
Open all the windows and doors to the kitchen to let in fresh air. Eliminate smoke by carefully waving a wet kitchen towel high over your head. Boil 1/4 cup of white vinegar in a medium-sized saucepan of water and simmer gently to let the steam disperse throughout the room and absorb the burned beans smell. You can also leave small saucers of white vinegar around the kitchen and other rooms overnight to further destroy food odors.
Sweeten the Space
Once the scorched bean odor goes away, you can address freshening the air. The CDKitchen website recommends mixing 1/2 cup whole cloves with 2 cups water in a small pot and bringing it to a boil. Simmer the cloves for 15 to 30 minutes. Add a cinnamon stick to the mixture for added spice and cleansing fragrance.
Jayne Blanchard's work as a journalist and editor has appeared in "The Washington Post," "Psychology Today," "Brides," "Newsday," "USA Today," "Cosmopolitan," "ADAM," "Style" magazine and myriad other publications. In addition to writing about health, travel and women's issues, she has also worked as a movie reviewer and theater critic and holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the College of Notre Dame of Maryland.