Simplify the Cooking Clean-Up: 6 Kitchen Cleaning Tips to Save Time
You’ve crafted a beautiful meal packed with delicious ingredients. You’ve plated, served and enjoyed your creation. You feel satisfied and – admittedly – quite proud of yourself.
And then you see the mess left in the kitchen.
Rather than throwing in the towel, check out these simple kitchen cleaning tips to speed up tidying, leaving you more time and space for culinary adventures (and less angst when dinnertime comes to an end).
Plan your space
Before you start working, decide on how you’re going to use the space you have, especially if you’re making something with many different components or several dishes at once. Have an area for cutting, mixing, cooking and cooling, so you're not cramped or re-organizing midway through.
Clean as you go
As you finish with each of these spaces, tidy it up. Put used utensils or cutting boards in the dishwasher as soon as you’re finished with them. Rinse anything you’ll need to use again shortly and move it to where you’ll need it next. Wipe down counters (especially splatters and spills) as they happen. These are great to do while you wait for the next element of your meal to be ready – things setting in the fridge, ingredients simmering on the stove – and take less time in the moment than waiting until food has caked onto pots hours later.
Use a compost bowl
Save steps and time (and prevent dropping peels everywhere) by placing a bowl on the counter to collect biodegradable material all in one place. You’ll make far fewer trips to the green bin and maximize your prep efficiency. If you also have non-compostable trash, pull your garbage can out from under the sink and station it near your workspace for easy access.
Minimize cooking tools
Double up where you can on things like measuring spoons, measuring cups and spatulas, particularly if you’re making a batch of something like cookies where each ingredient will eventually end up in the same mix. You can use the same measuring cup to portion out flour as sugar, and the same teaspoon to measure baking powder and salt. If your recipe calls for a half-cup of almond flour and a cup of coconut milk, you might want to use a smaller measuring cup (say, a ½ cup size) for both: just fill it twice to achieve a full one cup portion.
Use a splatter screen on skillets
Prevent endless grease-wiping by placing a mesh screen over anything cooking in oil. Look for one with a coated handle and ensure you’re selecting one in the correct size (large enough to cover the diameter of your frying pan).
Line baking sheets with aluminum foil or parchment
A layer of foil or paper under your roasted meats and veggies or baked goods will not only allow you to skip excessive scrubbing later on, it will help your pans last longer. Once you’ve transferred your food to a cooling rack or plated for serving, you can simply roll up the used foil and toss out.
- Amy Height