The busiest part of the house during the holiday season was definitely the kitchen. Food, glorious food took centerstage and the kitchen was in a tizzy. Now that things have quieted down, it’s time to check that everything in the kitchen is A-OK and ready for the next round of kitchen frenzy. Here is a compilation of helpful hints.
*Following a spill, sprinkle with salt immediately. When oven is cool, brush off burnt food and wipe with a damp sponge.
*An inexpensive oven cleaner: Set oven on warm for about 20 minutes, then turn off. Place a small dish of full strength ammonia on the top shelf. Put a large pan of boiling water on the bottom shelf and let it set overnight. In the morning, open oven and let it air a while before washing off with soap and water. Even the hard baked-on grease will wash off easily.
*Sprinkle the hot pan heavily with dry laundry detergent. Cover with a dampened paper towel and let the burned food set for a while. The pan should require little scouring.
Burnt and scorched pans
*Sprinkle burnt pots liberally with baking soda, adding just enough water to moisten. Let stand for several hours. You can generally lift the burned portion right out of the pan.
*Stubborn stains on non-stick cookware can be removed by boiling two tablespoons of baking soda, half cup vinegar and one cup water for 10 minutes. Re-season pan with salad oil.
*Always place a jar lid or marbles in the bottom part of your double boiler. The rattling sound will signal if the water has boiled.
Cast iron skillets
*Clean the outside of the pan with commercial oven cleaner. Let set for two hours and the accumulated black stains can be removed with vinegar and water.
*After cleaning pan, take a piece of waxed paper and while skillet is still warm, wipe around the inside to prevent rusting.
*Or, when clean rub a small amount of oil on the inside of the pan to keep it seasoned.
*Did you know? Cooking in cast iron definitely boosts iron intake. Soup simmered for a few hours in an iron pot has almost 30 times more iron than soup cooked in another pan.
*Fill a spray bottle with vinegar and add three tablespoons of salt. Spray solution liberally on copper pot. Let set for a while, then simply rub clean.
*Dip lemon halves in salt and rub.
*Or, rub with Worcestershire sauce or ketchup. The tarnish will disappear.
*To help eliminate odors, fill a small bowl with charcoal (the kind used for potted plants) and place it on a shelf in the refrigerator. It absorbs odors rapidly.
*An open box of baking soda will absorb food odors for at least a month or two.
*A little vanilla poured on a piece of cotton and placed in the refrigerator will eliminate odors.
*To prevent mildew from forming, wipe with vinegar. The acid effectively kills the mildew fungus.
*Use a glycerine-soaked cloth to wipe sides and shelves. Future spills wipe up easier. And after the freezer has been defrosted, coat the inside coils with glycerine. The next time you defrost, the ice will loosen quickly and drop off in sheets.
*For a sparkling white sink, place paper towels across the bottom of your sink and saturate with household bleach. Let set for a half hour or so.
*Rub stainless steel sinks with lighter fluid if rust marks appear. After the rust disappears, wipe with your regular kitchen cleaner.
*Use a cloth dampened with rubbing alcohol to remove water spots from stainless steel.
*Spots on stainless steel can also be removed with white vinegar.
*When a drain is clogged with grease, pour a cup of salt and a cup of baking soda into the drain followed by a kettle of boiling water. The grease will usually dissolve immediately and open the drain.
*Coffee grounds are a no-no. They do a nice job of clogging, especially if they get mixed with grease.
*Save time and money by using the cheapest brand of dishwashing detergent available, but add a few tablespoons of vinegar to the dishwater. The vinegar will cut the grease and leave your dishes sparkling clean.
*Before washing fine china and crystal, place a towel on the bottom of the sink to act as a cushion.
*To remove coffee or tea stains and cigarette burns from fine china, rub with a damp cloth dipped in baking soda.
*To quickly remove food that is stuck to a casserole dish, fill with boiling water and add two tablespoons of baking soda or salt.
*Never put a delicate glass in hot water bottom side first: It will crack from sudden expansion. The most delicate glassware will be safe it it is slipped in edgewise.
*Vinegar is a must when washing crystal. Rinse in one part vinegar to three parts warm water. Air dry.
*When one glass is stuck inside another, do not force them apart. Fill the top glass with cold water and dip the lower one in hot water. They will come apart without breaking.
*A small nick in the rim of a glass can be smoothed out by using an emery board.
*Scratches on glassware will disappear if polished with toothpaste.
Plastic cups, dishes and containers
*Coffee or tea stains can be scoured out with baking soda.
*To rid foul odors from plastic containers, place crumpled-up newspaper (black and white only) into the container. Cover tightly and leave overnight.