We all have that one chore that we hate to get started with. Cleaning up the kitchen shelves is one such chore for me. If you love to cook, experiment and entertain, chances are your cabinets are full and bursting at their seams. I go through these phases too and then have to resort to some emergency clean up measures to tackle the mess.
Here are my top tips for you for mission kitchen clean up. I hope you find them useful 🙂
1\. Choose a day when you’re relatively free for a few hours with no anticipated disturbances. Tackle the sections of your kitchen one by one, such as one lot of cabinets at a time, the refrigerator, space below sinks etc. Do not attempt to pull out everything at once. The task may seem so overwhelming that you will want to give up even before you get started.
2\. Indian cooking needs us to stock way too many ingredients- be it spices, pulses, oils or flours, not unlike a Mahabharata star cast. The pulses and flours tend to catch insects / weevils too if kept boxed for a very long time. Overcrowding the cabinets also means we don’t often pay attention to the bottles / boxes at the back, thereby losing their freshness. While cleaning, discard any ingredients past their best by date, or anything that seems to have caught any fungus or worms.
3\. Once you’ve removed all the bottles / containers out, make sure you wipe the shelves with a safe disinfectant, allow to dry and then use white chart paper or shelf lining paper before you start lining up the containers. Keep the old stock right up front so you use them first in your cooking before you buy any other new stock. Plan your menu keeping these items in mind so you can finish them first.
4\. We tend to stock up on gourmet and expensive ingredients and wait for a suitable special occasion to put them to use. This is exactly how I found a Thai specialty sauce from 2009 tucked away in one of the shelves. The horror! The rule is not to buy too many gourmet ingredients at one go. Buy a few, use them up in a variety of recipes and then go for more. If you think you have too many such ingredients that are about to expire shortly, call all your gourmet loving friends and allow them to pick what they like.
5\. Plastic containers seem to find the inroads to our kitchen one way or another. Take away boxes, freebie boxes, boxes from friends’ and relatives’ homes, they all find shelter in remote corners, occupying precious storage real estate. And sometimes you stock them up on higher shelves, such that when you plan to pull one out, you are greeted by an overhead shower of plastic paraphernalia. The best way out of this is not to let all the junk plastic into your house in the first place. 10 years ago, I bought a set of Mason jars and till date, they store the spices and other assorted stuff, all gleaming bright. My mum and aunts do it the old school way of using recycled Horlicks bottles to store masalas and podis, and they’ve managed to hang around looking all shiny for over 30 years. So friends, glass over plastic any day. They last long and you’re helping the environment too.
6\. Another space where we tend to hoard stuff is the refrigerator. All kinds of dried fruits, nuts, preserves, pickles, special flours, sauces etc. find their way into the refrigerator, only to stay there until retirement. Also, if you tend to buy fruits and vegetables before the older stock gets over, you’ll find some wrinkled and some totally squished up produce at the bottom of the vegetable drawer. Make sure you clean this up too, discarding all the old bottles of this and that, using up all the produce so you can clean up the shelves completely and stock up afresh. And by stock up, I mean for the week and not preparing for famine 😀
7\. Have you noticed how off late small appliances have taken over our kitchen counters by the storm? Tiny gadgets our parents had never heard of – apple slicer, garlic crusher, lemon zester, julienne grater and then a whole lot of other appliances such as waffle maker, air fryer, masticating juicer, specialty coffee maker, counter top grill, the list goes on and on. Before buying anything because it is on sale, evaluate whether it is worth your kitchen real estate. If you haven’t used an appliance in a year, it may be a good idea to sell it off online or donate it to an orphanage or old age home which has a kitchen.
8\. Last but not the least, ensure that you pay attention to all hidden problem areas such as under the sinks, any loose boards and spaces such as below the inbuilt oven / dishwasher, where the cockroaches usually hole up. Spray these areas with a suitable disinfectant when the space is well ventilated and no kids and pets are around, every once in a while, so as to keep your kitchen squeaky clean, even in the hidden zones. Because the last thing you want when you are cooking up a fine meal is pests creeping out and throwing you completely out of gear. Not to mention the danger of food getting contaminated.
So get into the clean up process now, for a wonderfully organised and clean kitchen to start the new year!
This blog post was brought to you in association with Godrej Hit.
Images from: free-stock.photo | unsplash.com