How To Set Up Your Kitchen For Easy Cooking
Television chefs make cooking look so simple as they effortlessly whip up a three-course meal complete with sides by the end of a program. Without a production crew on hand, though, it’s difficult to replicate their results in a home kitchen. However, you can cook more efficiently with these handy kitchen hacks.
Create Clever Zones
(Image credit: Better Homes & Gardens)Create zones in your kitchen where the appliances and utensils you use for each job are kept together. This will help you work more efficiently in these spaces.
For example, your food preparation zone will be based around a bench, with cutting boards, knives, mixing bowls, and ingredients close at hand. Your cooking zone will be based around your cooktop, with saucepans and frypans near spatulas, wooden spoons, and ladles. The olive oil you always place in your pans should also be close by. The serving zone will have your plates, cutlery, and a heat-resistant surface for placing hot trays, pans, and bakeware.
In addition, you could create a clean-up zone and a food storage zone. The clean-up zone around the sink and dishwasher should have washing-up detergent, rubber gloves, and brushes for cleaning the dishes and utensils. The food storage zone should have items for packing leftovers, like foil, plastic wrap, and containers. Keep this final zone near the fridge and freezer, where the leftovers will eventually reside.
Organize Herbs and Spices by Usage
Most people put their herbs and spices in alphabetical order, if indeed they put them in any kind of order at all. However, if you use more oregano than allspice, it makes much more sense to organize your herbs and spices by usage. Keep the ones you use most often, like parsley and garlic powder, in the most convenient place and those rarely used seasonings, like fenugreek and cardamom, farther back. This intuitive system will reduce the time it takes to find those frequently-used seasonings and the less common ingredients, too.
Get a Stand for Mobile Devices
Following the recipes in cookbooks is so last-century. Today, nearly three in five people aged 25 to 34 cook with their smartphones or tablets handy. These people use their devices to look up recipes, search for cooking inspiration, and master advanced techniques. However, keeping your Samsung Galaxy S7 on the bench leaves it susceptible to food splatters. Investing in a kitchen stand will keep it away from your ingredients and in your line of sight, where you can follow recipes and see videos of how they’re done. With the Galaxy S7’s 5.1 inch Quad HD super AMOLED screen and a reliable network like T-Mobile, you’ll be able to browse recipes with speed and can read them with ease.
Add Bowls for Mise en Place
Don’t you wish you had little bowls full of prepared ingredients like the TV chefs do? You might not have someone to get them ready like the stars of the culinary world do, but you can certainly use the idea of mise en place in your kitchen.
Read through your recipe and learn the preparation your ingredients need before they’re ready for use. Perhaps your flour needs seasoning with salt and pepper. You might need carrots peeled and diced. Tackle all this preparation first. As you prepare each ingredient, transfer it to a bowl. Ingredients that you’ll cook at the same time can share the same bowl.
Once your preparation is complete, you can move all your ingredients to your cooking zone and begin your meal. You’ll find preparing dishes this way is much faster because you don’t have to stop for fiddly jobs.
Organize Your Fridge for Freshness
We’ve all been in the kitchen happily cooking away, only to discover the produce we’d earmarked for dinner has spoiled. The time it takes to tweak your recipe or make an unplanned grocery run is time you can ill afford.
You can minimize the risk by organizing your fridge so the items prone to spoilage are kept where it’s coldest. Dairy products, which are likely to spoil first, should sit on the bottom shelf. Fruits and vegetables requiring refrigeration will stay freshest in your crisper drawers. The door is the least cold place in the fridge, so store items there that were originally kept in your pantry, like sodas and sauces.
With some simple tweaks, your kitchen can become the efficient cooking space you’ve always wanted.