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APRIL '09 DISCUSSION: Spring Cleaning in the Kitchen
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clotilde
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Joined: 24 Sep 2004
Posts: 443
Location: Paris, France

PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2009 1:40 pm    Post subject: APRIL '09 DISCUSSION: Spring Cleaning in the Kitchen Reply with quote

This month's discussion was inspired by the French food blog Clea Cuisine, which I've been reading enthusiastically for years. The author, Claire, recently wrote a post about spring cleaning in the kitchen.

It's not just the literal cleaning we're talking about -- though it certainly is as good a time as any to scrub its every nook and cranny -- but more generally, how to get the kitchen ready for spring: going through the pantry and freezer, sorting through ingredients, using up those that say "winter" too loudly, giving away those we don't think we'll ever get around to using, making a list of soon-to-spoil cans and jars, and stocking up on staples to match the upcoming spring bounty.

Is this something you do? If so, how do you proceed? Do you have tips to share, and suggestions of how to make the most of those ingredients that need using up?

Conversely, if you live in the Southern hemisphere, is there anything you do to prepare your kitchen for the fall/autumn?


Last edited by clotilde on Mon May 25, 2009 10:40 am; edited 2 times in total
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KYHeirloomer



Joined: 21 Aug 2007
Posts: 552
Location: Central Kentucky

PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2009 2:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't find it necessary.

Kitchen cleaning---in both senses that you use it---is something I do on a continuous basis.

Most items in my freezer and pantry are either not seasonally sensitive, or will keep until appropriate weather comes around. For instance, there is no way I could use-up all the venison in the deep freeze in the next few weeks. But it will hold until cooler weather next fall.

For me, the bigger "cleaning" task is to use up the home-canned products in time for the new harvest. I dislike keeping those items more than 2 years (although technically, there's no reason not to). So we'll be planning meals over the next few months to use as much of those products as possible.
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David



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 1855
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2009 3:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've actually committed myself to going through as much of the goods in my pantry as I can without buying anything new. Unlike KYheirloomer I am a kitchen slob. I have these really really deep shelves in the pantry and I will buy things and just keep pushing stuff further and further back. So naturally I'll take a quick glance at the contents, note I'm missing something essential, buy it and place it in the cupboard while the item is actually already represented there but is hidden by the build up of tins and bags and boxes of stuff. I don't need the 8 different kinds of pastas I have in the cupboard right now!! And why did I keep buying jams and pickles at the Farmer's Market last autumn when I already had a shelf full! So that's what I'm doing---consuming what I have and tossing out anything that looks like my friendly country mice have been in to! As far as actual cleaning goes--meh---I'll get around to it!

And a jolly Poisson D'Avril a tous!
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Gwendolyn



Joined: 02 Apr 2009
Posts: 4
Location: Earth

PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2009 3:50 pm    Post subject: Spring Cleaning Reply with quote

Spring cleaning my pantry is a quick job. I identified the categories of food that I frequently buy and use up in the kitchen:

Ethnic Food
Oils, Extracts and Vinegars
Grains and Legumes
Sweet Foods (canned)
Savory Foods (canned)
Condiments
Pasta
Tomato Products
Baking Goods
Snacks
Breakfast Foods

Years ago I made a label for each category (using a computer/appealing, readable font/LARGE font). I chose the shelf most convenient for that category of food and taped the label on the front of the shelf facing me. (I used wide, clear packing tape which allowed the label to be stuck on all four sides). I have a tiny kitchen, so one shelf holds more than one category of food.

Benefits of this seemingly obsessive method? When you have more than one person in the home, it makes quick work of putting things away. Also, it helps you keep quick tabs on whether you are buying, for example, too many chutneys, capers and jellies when the "Condiments" shelf starts overflowing.
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Erin



Joined: 18 Oct 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Within view of Elliot Bay, The Olympics and every ship in the Sound

PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2009 5:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You know I've never really thought about this, but it's something I do instinctually. In fact I've just started doing it, sort of. I don't make lists or anything, I just don't like keeping things around for too long and make an effort periodically to empty the cupboard. Right now, I am trying to use everything up before our move to Cal and I am making do with out certain things I won't use up between now and then, but that's a bit different I guess. Honestly though, how in the world am I going to use up the vat of fish sauce I have?
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KYHeirloomer



Joined: 21 Aug 2007
Posts: 552
Location: Central Kentucky

PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2009 7:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Doncha know, Erin? Fish sauce is bad for you.

What you should do is pack it up and ship it down here for proper disposal. Wink
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Erin



Joined: 18 Oct 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Within view of Elliot Bay, The Olympics and every ship in the Sound

PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2009 8:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

KYH, nice, but something tells me the postman will come hunting for me if the bottle breaks in his truck!
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KYHeirloomer



Joined: 21 Aug 2007
Posts: 552
Location: Central Kentucky

PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2009 10:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Crying or Very sad Crying or Very sad Crying or Very sad
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Adnil



Joined: 01 Mar 2009
Posts: 10
Location: Palatine, IL

PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2009 2:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For the most part, turnover in my pantry and freezer takes place fairly regularly. I do like to wash down the shelves at least once a year so that forces me to look things over that may have moved to the back of the shelf.

There was an article in last Sunday's paper addressing the quality of foods whose expiration date was long past. Basically, the article said that most canned/jarred foods contain so many preservatives that they were probably safe but perhaps the quality was not so good. Their rule of thumb, if a can is not bulging or rusting, and does not have strange odors after opening, try it. Pretty much common sense but I do know people who will toss a product as soon as that 'best by' date arrives.

Sometimes I'll offer items to someone who might use them. If no one wants anything, I don't have a problem tossing it out.

KYHeirloom, regarding your home-canned goodies you want to get through, you could have a dinner party using some of them and give the extras to your guests with recipes of what you made. What sorts of home canned goodies do you end up with?

Erin, you could wrap the jar of fish sauce in a plastic bag and surround it with layers of bubble wrap. I sent a six-pack of Sam Adams beer to Buenos Aires for a friend's 50th birthday and it arrived intact! Just trying to help you out KYH. Don't like your sad faces.
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swan



Joined: 23 Nov 2004
Posts: 450
Location: a Dutchie in HongKong

PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2009 7:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love going through my things and tossing stuff out that's turned really old by now, still remembering the fun I had buying it, (usually somewhere abroad) and making up things I 'could have' done with it!!
Better: using them before they get old.
I keep collecting stuff. Amazing how much I manage to squize in to my tiny kitchen here already - and it's only been a month!

I had so much fun when the box with all my ' goodies' finally arrived - I took with me quite a lot of stuff I already had in Holland (and the kitchen there isn't empty either...). Omly one jar of interesting french jam did start to leek, everything else survived really well.

But I try - I really do!! now to buy not to much for storage and USE what I have first....
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Erin



Joined: 18 Oct 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Within view of Elliot Bay, The Olympics and every ship in the Sound

PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2009 6:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Those sad faces almost made me think twice!

Swan, I didn't know how I was going to fit anything into my tiny kitchen, but I've made it work. Okay actually, I forced it to work, just don't open any of my cupboards when they are full without a hard hat!
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dory



Joined: 11 Nov 2007
Posts: 236
Location: Madison, WI

PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2009 8:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't exactly have a tiny kitchen (actually, it is medium sized) but my house is from 1923 and the layout is old, so I have an extreme lack of cabinet space. I don't know where the original owners kept their canned goods for the winter. I presume they gardened and canned, as I live in one of those older urban neighborhoods where houses are close together and near the street (almost no front yards) but the back yards go on forever, giving space for orchards and vegetable gardens. In fact, so far I have not put in a dish washer because I would have to give up a valuable cabinet. Despite my extreme lack of storage space, I have kept older pantry items in the name of frugality that really need to be thrown out. The stale tea is one thing. The home canned tomatoes in the hard to reach cabinet above my refrigerator (behind our stash of Port wine, rum, and cereals) are poisonous by now, I am sure. I tend not to throw things out to be frugal, and then past a certain point I am afraid to use them but still reluctant to throw them away. My trash day is Monday.I bet you can guess what will be in my trash bin!

Dory
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KYHeirloomer



Joined: 21 Aug 2007
Posts: 552
Location: Central Kentucky

PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2009 9:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

>Those sad faces almost made me think twice! <

Darn! And I'd considered a fourth one, but thought it would be overkill.

Story of my life: a day late and a frowny face short......
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Joody



Joined: 04 Apr 2009
Posts: 1
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2009 6:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here in country Australia it's Autumn, and we are busy getting wood for our wood fired fuel stove ready for winter. The vegetable patch needs summer stuff cleared and winter vegies planted--broad beans and snow peas especially. The custard apples are nearly ready for harvest and the fruit trees need pruning. It's a busy time preparing for next summer's fruit.The pantry doesn't need much care- just to store the bottled fruits out of light.
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Debbie



Joined: 21 Feb 2005
Posts: 861
Location: Paris

PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 1:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have had a bit of a giggle over this topic.

As most of you know, I am studying at present...... so I have the best organised, most tidy, absolutely up to date cupboards in the whole world!! Laughing

Then I find something interesting in the cupboard and think "I can make...." so then I start baking or whipping up whatever has sparked my imagination.

It seems to be my favourite procrastination trick to take apart a cupboard and sort it, clean shelves etc each time I have an assignment or essay to write. When you figure that I have at least 1 of these every 6 weeks - you can see why my shelves are in good shape.

This extends all the way through the appartement.... wardrobes, bathroom cupboard, linen storage etc etc. Anyone else in Paris need their shelves done? I have an exam in a few weeks.... Wink
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