You’ve all heard of clean eating, the dietary model that gives your body nutrition with food in its purest form. We’re here today to talk about clean cooking, a tidiness model that lets you enjoy the fruits of your labor (literally, in case you are actually eating fruit) while also basking in the delight of cleared counters, a running dishwasher, and an empty sink.
It’s easier than you think. Here’s how.
1. Start with a clean kitchen. We know this may feel a little ridiculous, but if your kitchen is clean when you start, you’re more likely to keep it that way.
2. And an empty dishwasher. Why clutter your counter with things that will likely end up here anyway? Load as you go, and you’ll instantly have more room to work.
3. Pull out the garbage can. Or the recycling bin. Or the compost bucket. For recipes that involve a lot of waste, don’t let it stay on the counter; throw it right where it belongs, right away. (This is one of our favorite kitchen cleaning tips).
4. Or use a garbage bowl. If you’re aiming for efficiency, a garbage bowl is the fastest and easiest way to clean as you go. Once you are done with the food prep, it’s just one fell swoop into the necessary waste bin.
5. Pick it up before it sticks. If food falls on the ground, snag it before it seals itself to the floor, or worse, gets stepped on, squished, and tracked around the house.
6. Enlist problem-solving products. Flexible cutting mats allow you to cut and funnel produce into soups so little pieces can’t escape. Measuring spoons and cups that feature multiple measurements allow for constant reuse, and splatter screens reduce greasy overspray. Whether you’re interested in more safety in the kitchen or less mess, the products are out there!
7. Run a hot bath. For your dishes (and maybe one later for you). Having a place for dirty bowls, utensils, and measuring cups to soak while you finish preparing a dish makes them easier to throw into the dishwasher or clean by hand. Plus, it will keep your counters clear of drips and spills.
8. Make a spoon jar. Spoon rests are often messier than they are worth; instead fill a glass or jar with warm water and use it to temporarily store your tasting and stirring spoons. Added bonus: Since it’s vertical, it takes up less counterspace and can be easily tucked under a counter.
9. Return and restore order. It’s fine to lay out all your ingredients prior to starting, but make a point to put each one away as you go. That way, if mess tends to pile up as you prepare, at least it’s balanced by the reduction of used ingredients.
10. Keep a towel and dishcloth at the ready. Tackle crumbs as they come and spills as they will. Whether you tuck a towel into your apron or your back pocket, it’s a handy aid for handling hot handles as well as wiping hands. Having a dishcloth handy makes it a snap to clean as you go, minimizing the additional trash and waste of paper towels.
11. Make use of down time. As your soup is simmering or your bread is baking, use the down time to reset your space. Just add soap and fun music, and you’ll be done before the timer tells you to do something.
Not only does having a clean workspace increase safety in the kitchen, it also does wonders for your ability to enjoy the process.