Spring is here – time for some kitchen spring cleaning! Set aside some time to reorganize your kitchen and reap the benefits. Save yourself time, money and reduce your risk of foodborne illness by reorganizing your refrigerator, freezer and pantry items. Here are some simple tips to help get your kitchen in gear.
Refrigerator + Freezer Habits
- Check the use-by dates on all your foods. Discard any old items. Mark the date of purchase on foods that do not have a use-by date.
- Remove any foods that are not appealing to you. There is no reason to torture yourself or overcrowd your fridge. You should eating foods you enjoy.
- Use the first-in, first-out rule of inventory control, meaning use the oldest similar food first.
- If there are any meat eaters in your household – store raw meat and fish on the bottom shelf of the fridge. Store ready-to-eat items on the top shelf. This will keep the juices from dripping onto other foods and possibly contaminating them.
- If there are any meat eaters in your household – designate one cutting board for raw poultry, meat or fish and one cutting board for ready-to-eat foods, such as salad ingredients. This will also reduce the risk of cross-contamination.
- Try not to overcrowd your fridge or freezer. Air needs to circulate and a proper temperature needs to be maintained to avoid unwanted decomposition, bacteria or mold from forming.
- Rinse off your fruits, veggies and herbs before using them, even if they don’t look dirty.
Food Pantry & Spice Cabinet
- Store and group common foods together so it’s easier to locate them.
- Label your spices and dried herbs for the same reason. Discard dried spices and herbs that are over six months old.
- Get into the habit of buying oils in smaller containers to prevent consuming oils that are oxidized and rancid. Discard old oils.
- Keep potatoes and onions in a dark, cool and dry location. Light can cause potatoes to green. If you see green on your potatoes, cut off the green area or discard if needed; it can be toxic. Don’t refrigerate them or store them in an area where there may be moisture (like under the sink).
- Be sure to store food and cleaning supplies separately to avoid any crossover.
- Keep the pantry clean and free of crumbs or debris.