If you are receiving this post a third time, please accept my apologies. I was having technical difficulties trying to get all the text published. So here goes again.
After cooking nonstop since my husband and I have been sheltered in for the past three weeks, I’ve developed new ways to keep my kitchen (for me the most important room in our home!) clean and running well. I’ve included my tips and suggestions here. I hope you are all staying in, staying well, and finding the time you spend in the kitchen calming and rewarding.
- Divide Your Kitchen Island or Counter into Two Areas with Masking Tape
II you click on the link to this public service announcement about food safety during this Coronavirus, you’ll see a Michigan physician showing how he uses masking tape to divide his kitchen island into two areas, one for unloading food that has been brought into the kitchen in grocery bags and the other for foods that have been cleaned or readied to be eaten, cooked, or stored. This practical idea of defining areas in my kitchen has been a real life saver for me. I now bring grocery bags into the kitchen and put them on the unloading “dock” (the unsterile area) of my island. As I get the items out and ready them for shelves or cooking, I transfer them to the other clean, sterile side side.
2. Dishwasher Tips
Put cutlery in the utensil basket with handles up so you don’t pull out dinner forks, knives, spoons by the parts you put in your mouth. I usually wash my stainless steel knives, wooden spoons, metal spatulas and other cooking utensils by hand, but now I’m putting them in the dishwasher. Set dishwasher on the warmest water setting. For mine (a newer model Bosch), that setting is AUTOMATIC and includes sanitizing.3. Keeping the Refrigerator Clean and Uncluttered
Clean shelves regularly with soap and warm water, and clear out any spoiled foods to provide more space. I wrap all uncooked meats and vegetables in plastic or put them in self-sealing bags. When I buy bread I discard the plastic wrap or paper and wrap the amount I’ll need for a few days in plastic or put it in a self-sealing bag. I freeze the rest as breads hold up well in the freezer.
I’ve reorganized the drawers closest to my cook top so that tongs, metal spatulas, cooking forks and spoons are close at hand They used to be a large pitcher where I took them out with my hands touching the part of the utensil used to cook or prep the food. Now I take them out of the drawer by their handles. I also rearranged my cupboards by category and in the process discovered extra boxes of pasta, a bag of brown rice, and a package of green lentils—great extra staples!
5. Kitchen Cooking and Clean Up Routine
Wash hands vigorously and rinse with warm water.
Turn faucet off with elbow.
Arrange ingredients for each dish on a tray or dinner plate – your mise en place. While cooking use a dinner plate to lay spoons, tongs, whisks and more on, rather than putting them on the counter top.
For clean up, I rinse dishes as well as kitchen utensils and knives (mentioned above) and put them in the dishwasher. I wash pots and pans by hand with then dry and store them.
For cleaning countertops, I moisten a paper towel with water and with liquid dish soap like Dawn and rub down the counter spaces I’ve used. Then I run a sponge over them and dry with a clean kitchen towel. I clean the stainless steel cook top with SOS pads. Finally I use several Clorax swipes to go over the counters, cooktop, and cabinet knobs and pulls. I add sponges to the dishwasher and turn on hottest setting.
Wash hands again.