Great Advice for Maintaining a Clean Cooking Area
As any home cook or chef knows, your kitchen will almost never look the way the kitchens look on all of those cooking shows. They would if you had a complete cleaning staff tidying up between every step of the process. In case you lack the staff, a few words to the wise can go a long way in making your kitchen a friendlier and cleaner environment.
Preparing food in a clean area will not only keep your peace of mind, it will even make your actual food prep more efficient, which means a better food being produced. So we’ve come up with 5 easy tips to make sure that you can focus on preparing your next meal, while making sure you’re not left with an insurmountable mess to clean up afterwards.
1) Cutting Mat
While a cutting board is the best surface upon which to cut vegetables, fruit, herbs, meat, fish etc., consider starting to use a cutting mat under the board. Supposed to be significantly larger than the board, the mat will help to catch any cut pieces that fall off the board, meaning one less mess for you. Additionally, as a cutting board is inflexible, often when placing the cut pieces where they need to go will result in some of them flying onto the counter or onto the floor instead of into the pot, pan or bowl. This simple piece of plastic will certainly help avoid additional mess in your kitchen.
2) Garbage Bowl
Peels and waste products just seem to always pile up on the counter. Though you could simply just walk over with some of them and put them in the garbage, lots of us just want to finish the task. Besides, walking through a kitchen with a pile of peels, just means more peels for the floor. So think about placing an empty mixing bowl with a shopping bag within it, for all the junk you’re going to be throwing out anyway. It’s the easiest way to avoid being inundated with endless and unsightly piles of waste.
3) Limit How Many Items You Use
If you used one bowl to mix a marinade, and already poured it onto the roast, why not simply rinse it out or clean it and use it for the next item on the menu? Too often, we home cooks employ our entire cabinet’s contents to cook up a meal when, with some simple foresight, we could’ve cut that amount in half. Less dirty dishes, measuring cups, knives etc. lying around, mean less mess when you’re done, and a more enjoyable time when you’re actually doing the cooking.
4) Bowl of Hot Soapy Water
Hate having all the dirty used cooking utensils flying around the counter, or clumsily placed into the sink? Just fill up a large bowl halfway with hot or warm soapy water, and anytime you’re done with the knife, measuring cup or spoon etc., just dump it in. It will condense all the items you’ll need to wash afterwards, and will keep your kitchen area looking much neater as you continue with the food prep.
5) Sporadic Cleaning Times
Regardless of how much or how little you’ll have to clean during or after your food prep, it’s definitely worthwhile to plan for a small amount of time of cleaning every once in a while. You can either set fixed times, like every 15 minutes, or break it down to a ratio, like 3 to 1. In the latter example, if you were to approximate that the food prep for your meal will take 1 hour, every 20 minutes would be the time to stop, clean up what you can in a minute or two, and then continue with the food prep. The most important aspect, is doing what works best for you, but any way you actually implement it will equal less stress as you cook, because there’s no huge mess piling up next to you. You also won’t be left with that feared mountain of dishes when you finish.