4 Ways to Prep Your Kitchen for the Holidays
There’s probably nothing more stressful than a broken oven or refrigerator during a big holiday party. Start the holiday off right by prepping your kitchen well in advance. These 4 easy tips are great preventative measures to help you avoid a last minute disaster!
Prep Your Kitchen for the Holidays
A great way to start the cooking season off right is with a good refrigerator cleaning. And let’s be honest, there’s some questionable things that have been in there a while. A good time to clean your refrigerator is the day or night before trash day, that way you don’t have out-of-date refrigerator food sitting in your trash. You can start by doing the simple purge and check use-by dates. If it’s past-due, just let it go.
Next, toss out any leftovers that are still in plastic containers. If it’s been in there for longer than 3 days, toss it. Now that you have more room in your refrigerator, it’s easier to remove everything and clean the interior. Use hot, soapy water to clean shelves and all the nooks and crannies. The last, and of course optional, step is to put a fresh box of baking soda in the fridge to absorb odors! There you go—all the necessary steps to making room and having a clean refrigerator just in time for the holidays.
IMPORTANT: Don’t forget to check your refrigerator’s temperature! You ideally want your refrigerator at 35° F (1.6 ° C) and your freezer to be at 0 ° F (-18° C). If your refrigerator won’t maintain the correct temperature, contact your appliance repair professional to get the problem fixed at least 2 weeks prior to the holiday. If you’re in the East Valley area, contact Tiger Mechanical.
Ovens are the front runners of any holiday preparation, so naturally you’ll want to give it a good cleaning before the big day. HOWEVER: Do not use the self-cleaning cycle up to 2 weeks before the big day! The self-clean cycle can raise temperatures up to 1,000 degrees, which can potentially lead to component failure. The best plan is to wait to use the self-clean cycle the day after a big feast. But, if you really need to clean the oven before the big day, use an oven cleaner or the following natural solution:
Testing your oven’s temperature is always a good idea too! Set your thermometer in the center of the oven, and then turn your oven to 375 °F. Let the oven preheat to 375°F. Without opening the door, read the temperature and record it on a piece of paper. Set a timer for 20 minutes and then record the temperature again—do this 2 more times so that you have four temperature readings. Use those four numbers to calculate the average (Sum of all temperatures ÷ 4). This number should be between 350-400. If it’s not, be sure to contact a repair specialist to calibrate the open.
Natural Oven Cleaning Method: A vinegar stream is an easy and cheap way to clean your oven. Place a bowl of white vinegar in the oven, set the temperature to 270 F°, and once it’s preheated, turn your oven off and let the vinegar sit for several hours. After a few hours, open your oven door–it should be ready to wipe down with ease!
It might not be the first thing you think of when preparing for the holidays, but your garbage disposal can take quite a beating. There’s really not much to cleaning a garbage disposal—begin by plugging your sink with a stopper, then fill your sink up with 2 to 4 inches of hot water along with disposal cleaner.
Pull the plug and turn on the garbage disposal, flushing it with hot water. If there is sludge or bigger pieces of debris, then using ice cubes and salt is an easy and cheap way to really clean deep. Just turn on the garbage disposal, run cold water and allow the ice and salt to be crushed by the blades.
Now that the disposal is clean, keep it working through the cooking season. Here are some things NOT to put down or do to your garbage disposal:
- Liquid fat
- Large bones
- Starchy foods—potato peels, pasta, artichokes…etc.
- Don’t treat it as a trash can
- Don’t push too much food down at once—put a little food down at a time with plenty of water.
If your kitchen is a bit outdated, consider replacing an appliance as an early Christmas gift for your family. Although the lifespan of appliances vary by brand, the standard lifespan of most kitchen appliances are as follows:
- Refrigerator: 14-17 years (18-25 years for high-end models)
- Range or Stove: 13-15 years
- Dishwasher: about 9 years
- Garbage Disposal: 10-12 years