This is a Guest Post from Priya Q of Recipes from an Indian Kitchen.
Most of us when we enter kitchen feel like an “Artist – about to create something different,” if we are in a good mood or “Drone – what do I make now?”, if we are not in the mood to cook but have to! Since I go through these phases almost daily, in order to make my life a bit simpler I have learned to become a bit more organized.
This post is all about kitchen efficiency, which if done well can make your time spent in the kitchen more pleasurable. You do not need a big fancy kitchen…all that is required is a bit of creativity and organization!
Tips and Tricks for Creative Kitchen Efficiency
Free your mind…make a note: How many times has it happened that while cooking you realize that you are short of some item? It used to happen to me! Then I started maintaining a dynamic list. Now any item I use while cooking and find that it is nearly getting over goes into my list. That way I do not have to wrack my brain trying to remember items I need to buy from the supermarket during my next visit. And a chance of missing out on any item is reduced to great extent. Maintain a diary or just stick a sheet of paper under your fridge magnet or key it in your smart phone…anything that works for you!
Keep it clean: Keep your kitchen counter clean to possible extent. Are you cutting veggies? Maintain a small box for trashing vegetable skins etc. No matter how tired you are clean your gas stove and kitchen counter before you turn off the lights. Nothing is more relaxing to walk in to a clean, odor free kitchen to make your morning cup of tea!
Get Organized: Does your recipe entail many ingredients? Before you start out cooking arrange all the items neatly in different bowls. It might sound very inane but trust me, you will feel the difference. All items used on a regular basis such as spices, tea, coffee etc should be stacked close to the work area preferably near the stove. Keep all items pertaining to baking like measuring scale, measuring cups and spoons, baking sheets etc in one place so that you can get straight to baking instead of wasting time searching for things. Apply this principle for each and every item in your kitchen and you will realize how cooking will look simple and pleasurable with this one step of getting organized.
A little care can save lot of time
· Cleaning your glassware can always be tricky. Spread a thick towel in your sink, that way the probability of your glass slipping and breaking can be reduced.
· Wipe your knives dry before stocking them. Still if they tend to rust, stick it into a large onion for a while and wipe it dry.
· Soak your burnt pans in water with salt and leave it overnight. Makes it easier to clean.
· To get rid of any residual stench from the oven place an orange peel inside and put your oven on for 15 minutes at 300 degrees F / 150 degrees C.
· The whole grains tend to get bad in certain weather. If yours is a small family and the consumption of cereals is less, then store the lentils and whole grains, especially flours, in the freezer. They will last longer.
Invest an hour every weekend
· Cut veggies that you plan to use up during the coming week and store in transparent zip pouches in your refrigerator.
· Set out a rough menu for the week so that you can pick up necessary ingredients from the supermarket over the weekend and also so that you do not have to face the universal dilemma of ‘what to cook tonight’ during your busy week!
· Prepare necessary sauces, freeze and consume as and when required.
· Store boiled eggs, cooked meat, celery etc in the refrigerator. It comes quite handy when you want to make that quick salad or sandwich.
· Days before you start your travel consciously start using up all stuff that is in stock. That ways, you can ensure minimal wastage.
· Empty and wipe the refrigerator dry and place newspapers to soak up the remaining moisture. Take it off the hook and save energy!
· Shut the gas supply for your burner off in your absence. You will never know of a possible gas leakage behind your back!
I hope at least few of the above ideas make your life easy in the kitchen! Happy cooking!
Priya Q writes for Recipes from an Indian Kitchen. Priya, full time blogger and a passionate traveler resides in God’s own country – Kerala, India.
Thanks, Priya! I can’t imagine ever getting my fridge empty enough to turn it off, but some of these other ideas are just gems that I aspire to if I ever become organized enough to get organized! 😉 Now, if someone could find me a free helper to do my dishes, I’d be all set…
Photo credits from flickr.com.