Tips: Sniffing Out Kitchen Odors

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One of the first tasks in Kitchen Keeping Month, as we sweep out summer's leftovers in preparation for fall, is dealing with any urgent odors in the fridge or cupboards.

Because, that photo over there? Our fridge has never, ever looked like that. It's cluttered, we admit, and sometimes things quietly die in the back. Before you start serious reorganization, go for the worst cases in the back of the fridge.

• Start with your doors and (yes!) systematically sniff your jars. We are packrats when it comes to jams, chutneys, and sauces, so we try to do a check at least twice a year. Sniff and check expiration dates. Chuck anything that doesn't pass the test. • Dig into your produce drawers - anything runny or smelly? Throw it out. If you have just wilted or browned vegetables, however, don't throw them out! Put them in a plastic bag in the freezer for making stock later.

• Time to check leftovers. Leftover beans and supper dishes are the worst offenders in our fridge. They get pushed to the back and go bad when we're not vigilant, sometimes. Also, if you have a truly awful smell emanating from your fridge, check for rice. Rancid rice has perhaps the worst smell in the kitchen.

• One you've cleaned out anything obviously bad or smelly, you will feel much better - we always love a good clean through the fridge - it makes us feel like we've accomplished something.

• For future odor prevention, wipe the fridge down thoroughly using your preferred cleaning solution. And on the question of baking soda - some swear by it, and others say it does nothing to deodorize. Your thoughts?

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