sign up here) Welcome, everyone! There are almost 2,000 of you signed up! Don't worry, it's going to be very cozy here at The Kitchen Cure, with lots of one-on-one attention. If you participate and submit, the community will help you along. Each week you'll have an opportunity to submit your progress. Also, get active in the Flickr pool. The more imagery you all share, the more helpful you are to each other. I may even show up in your inbox with some advice if you ask me point-blank for help (email me!) If you're shy and want to watch from afar, that's okay too. This week we start you on the path toward a completely clean kitchen. You'll clean out and clean the fridge, freezer and pantry or cabinets (wherever you keep your dry-goods.) Read on for the week's assignments.
Clean the refrigerator, freezer and pantry.
Remove all the food from your fridge, freezer and pantry and clean all the surfaces. Yes, this means if you have a frost-filled freezer, it's time to defrost. Clean all the surfaces in your refrigerator, freezer and pantry and/or cabinets. Obviously, this is best done in steps. Have a few boxes ready (or a cooler) to hold your food while you work.
Before putting your food back, wipe any containers with a warm, moist cloth and a natural cleanser before putting it back. For containers of oil, for example, that may have a film, you might need to use a cleanser to cut through the grease. Vinegar and water works nicely, too. Condiment and jam jars almost always need to be rinsed off (don't forget to dry them too) before returning them to the fridge.
This might seem like a ton of work but believe me, it'll feel so good.
Week 1 Assignment
- Take "before" photos. Get out your digital camera. If you have natural light, pick a time when the light in the kitchen is bright but not full of glare.If you have any tables, plants, etc that might get in the way, scoot them to the side. Now open every cabinet and every drawer. Open the fridge and freezer too. Snap away. Get one overall shot, but also a few detail shots. And of course, do not clean anything up before photographing. No cheating! Submit your photos to the Flickr group. The reason we do the Cure as a group is to help and inspire each other.
- De-clutter and purge old food. Go through your refrigerator, cupboards, counter-tops and pantry and clean up your food clutter. The food you have in your kitchens should be fresh and replenished frequently. Take a long hard look at that tin of wasabi powder you got on your trip to Japan three years ago; it's dusty and has absorbed the odors of in the cabinet. Re-consider the jar of preserved lemons you got as a wedding favor who knows how long ago; it's brown, you have no idea how to use it, and it takes up energetic space in your kitchen. Here are some basic guidelines for de-cluttering your food:
- In the case of fresh foods or foods with an expiration date - toss or compost it if it has expired.
- In the case of frozen foods, get rid of anything with freezer burn. Foods that have been stored for more than 12 months are generally still safe to eat, but their quality has been compromised. In other words, time to make a big pot of soup.
- In the case of spices and canned foods that have not expired but have not been used in the last 6-12 months, really consider if you'll ever use it. Those saffron threads from your cousin's vacation in Spain, the chunks of star anise you bought once for a recipe but haven't used since... you get the picture. Some ingredients are expensive and may be difficult to part with. If you really think you might use them someday, make a list of these items then put them into a box in the back of a cabinet or under the sink.
- In the case of duplicates (I often have two jars of capers and two boxes of cocoa open at once, not sure why) combine containers and toss one. Or jump ahead and begin to consolidate dry goods into stack-able jars
- Here is a very helpful post specifically about condiments and expiration dates.