Are you prepared for the intensive cooking season? As the temperatures drop, soups and meat pies become more appealing. And that means it’s time to go back to the kitchen…
After a summer of grilling, eating out, and those quick dinners of salad and charcuterie, there are likely corners of the kitchen that need attention. The equivalent of spring cleaning should be done in the fall, to ready the kitchen for all the cooking and baking that’s going to happen in the coming months. Choose a weekend and dedicate yourself to a deep cleaning of the kitchen. You will be grateful you did when October rolls around and serious cooking is underway.
Food 52 has a wonderful prep guide, which advises a spice cabinet inventory, and digging into the back of the pantry to remove anything expired. Why not start with a clean kitchen, fully stocked with flour, spices, all types of sugar and salt?
Clean out the refrigerator, too. Wipe every shelf and drawer clean, and discard anything beyond its prime. Anything in the freezer that is more than a year old? Toss it.
It’s a good time to make sure you have a reliable meat thermometer, too. All those recipes for roasts will require an accurate temperature guide.
Pack up the tools you won’t be using in the fall and winter, and bring out the slow cooker, the roasting pans and Dutch ovens. Clean them and store them in accessible places.
Scrub the oven! Before you start spattering duck fat all over the walls, give the oven a deep clean.
If you have been reading the news about sponges, you may be worried about embarking on all this cleaning with one of these standard kitchen tools. Banish all fears of bacteria, and read this NPR article, which questions the results of the sponge studies that started all the problems. Once the kitchen, pantry and fridge are tidy and organized, it’s time to lay in your supplies. What are the things you are likely to need this season? Good bets are tomato paste, pasta, beans and rice, any other grains you favor; chicken stock, tomato sauce, soy sauce, coconut milk, condensed milk, and any other non-perishables that are part of your cooking routines.
Be ready for kitchen greatness this season, by starting with everything in its place.