Figuring out what to have for dinner is not a new dilemma. We’ve been talking…
You know how annoying it can be when you’re in the middle of cooking, reach for a whisk, and it gets tangled up with other utensils. Well, I have some tips to share from my ‘practical kitchen’ that might help you untangle and simplify your kitchen.
Having worked in the test kitchens at Del Monte headquarters in San Francisco for more than ten years, I learned some useful ways to organize and store foods, utensils, pots and pans et al. Adding to my college food lab training, I’ve applied those learnings to make my own kitchen practical and efficient.
So here are some of my favorites (13 in all), along with quick snapshots. If you have your own favorite kitchen tips, please share! Just leave a comment at the bottom of this post.
#1 Always store dried herbs and spices below the counter top where it’s cooler than an upper kitchen cupboard. Mine are placed sort-of alphabetically in a drawer. Frequently used ones are on top usually.
#2 Springy tongs take up a lot of room in drawers. Place them in empty rolls from bathroom tissues. (Sorry, I find counter-top utensil containers irritating.)
#3 Containers that store multiple ingredients (baking items in this case) make storage easier. Just grab the container rather than sifting through ten different items in the cupboard. Likewise, drawer dividers and/or utensil trays for drawers are a must-have in any kitchen to keep measuring spoons in one place, whisks side-by-side etc.
#4 These days it seems that grains, cocoa powder etc come in bags. For me, they are not convenient for storage. So if you still have original containers, reuse them.
#5 Honey getting low? Store it upside down in a ramekin for an easy squeeze.
#6 I still use original containers for some ingredients; they are more user-friendly compared to newer ones. Just transfer those seeds or spices from the new to the old.
#7 Toaster ovens seem to have a short-ish life span. Keep the pan that came with the oven you’re replacing. I’ve collected 3-4 which makes toasting nuts very efficient.
#8 I always toast more coconut (and other ingredients) than I need for a specific recipe, and store it in a below-the-counter cupboard or in the fridge. Yes, I’ve already used that coconut!
#9 Whether they’ll be re-used or recycled, stuff lightweight plastic produce bags in a sturdy plastic-wrap roll. Tidy storage!
#10 Notice how brown sugar gets hard even when wrapped tightly in its box? I have a jar that fits an entire box of brown sugar. Stays nice and spoon-able for a long time.
#11 Ever taste a tad of garlic or onion in that quick bread or cake? Keep separate wooden spoons just for baking sweets.
#12 Cotton bags are terrific to dry freshly-rinsed herbs or small salad greens. Whether you buy the bags at a cookware store or use an old cotton pillow case, they take up a lot less room than salad spinners and are much easier to clean.
#13 (a bakers dozen :o) I freeze many ingredients ahead of time. So when figuring out what to have for dinner I don’t have to handle that chicken again or peel and chop ginger for stir-fry or… See my previous post In Your Freezer and Ready to Go