Jo First

Jo is a contributing writer for The Kitchn. A Midwest-based California girl with an odd obsession for organizing and decluttering. Now that she's an empty nester, her house stays too put together--and she likes it!
How To Season a Carbon Steel Pan
Carbon steel is a lighter alternative to cast iron. Take care of it and it will take care of you — in the form of delicious, perfectly cooked food that won't stick!
Aug 5, 2023
How to Remove Berry Stains from Clothes and Fabric
Cleaning Tips from The Kitchn
We have a tried-and-true cleaning method in the back pocket of our summer cutoffs.
Sep 7, 2022
How To Clean Greasy Kitchen Walls, Backsplashes, and Cupboards
You don't have to become a bacon-free household! Just know how to clean up that splattered grease.
Sep 3, 2022
How To Make a Natural Kitchen Degreaser
Natural cleaners are effective, free of toxins, and affordable — if you make them yourself.
Aug 13, 2022
How To Clean Painted Kitchen Walls
Have you ever vacuumed your kitchen walls? Some cleaning gurus recommend it at least once a month — seriously! — and not just the ones in your kitchen. If that sounds overwhelming, I’m with you. But if you think about all the wear and tear and grease and grime that leave their mark on your kitchen walls, it makes sense. You probably want to do more than just a spring cleaning of what is most likely the gathering spot of your home, right?
May 30, 2019
How To Clean and Disinfect a Dish Brush
There’s an age-old argument about the best option for cleaning dishes: dish cloths, sponges, or dish brushes. My friend still defends her grandma’s crocheted cloths — you know the ones I’m talking about? — but dish brushes, hands-down, are the most hygienic option.
May 30, 2019
How To Clean a Carbon Steel Pan
Now that dinner is served straight from your favorite carbon steel pan, how exactly do you get it clean? It’s easy! Easier than you’d ever guess. The key to cleaning your carbon steel pan is to steer clear of soap, harsh chemicals, or scouring pads — and to oil your pan once it’s clean and dry. For even easier cleanup, wash your pan when it’s still slightly warm.
May 30, 2019
How To Care for a Carbon Steel Knife
Whether you’re an experienced chef or just learning your way around the kitchen, all cooks know good knives are essential for success in the kitchen. And while knife choice is an extremely personal decision, a carbon steel knife is a great choice. Although stainless steel is the most common material for kitchen knives, carbon steel is often the preferred choice of culinary professionals.
May 30, 2019
3 Ways to Organize Your Tea
Are you a person who drinks excessive amounts of tea? That’s my daughter, for sure; I’m a more on-a-whim­­­­­ tea drinker. Either way, it’s always a good idea to keep your stash organized so you’re always just a few minutes from a good cuppa. There are a few different ways to arrange your tea. Choose the one that suits your sipping style — to a T. I recently helped my daughter organize her college-apartment kitchen.
May 1, 2019
8 Tablecloths to Dress Up a Public Picnic Table
If you’re headed to the park for your al fresco gathering, chance are the picnic tables will be less than pristine. In lieu of bringing your entire cleaning kit with you, toss a pretty tablecloth in your bag or basket. Once you find the perfect table under the best shade tree, just throw your tablecloth over the table and you’re ready to go — no need to worry about what’s underneath. Don’t have a tablecloth sitting around or looking for something fresh and summery?
May 1, 2019
4 Steps to a Pristine Picnic Table
With summer nearly upon us, I realized I’ve been missing my picnic table. I had a great one that sat outside for years until my daughter decided to take it to college. Now I want it back! The timing is good, since she’s moving to a new place — she won’t have room in her little studio anyway, right? — plus, I’m planning a family reunion, and we’ll need the extra seating. After all, who wants to eat with a plate of food on their lap?
Jun 16, 2016
The Most Important Thing to Know About Storing Tea
Last week I wrote a post about different ways to organize your tea — but the thing is, if you don’t store your teas correctly, it doesn’t matter how you organize them. Before you waste your efforts clearing cupboards or drawers and sorting through your collection, you need a place to put them to keep them fresh and at the ready. And when it comes to fresh tea, there’s one important element. First off, what are the essentials when storing tea?
May 18, 2016