Ugh. Who wants to face a massive cleanup after a delicious meal? Even if you’re lucky enough to have someone on dish duty when you do the cooking, you’ll enjoy the fruits of your labor more and make life easier for everyone by following these clean-as-you-go tips:
- Assemble all of your ingredients, bowls, utensils and measuring devices before you begin your food prep and keep things grouped roughly by category. That is, spices and herbs in one grouping, refrigerated items together, staples side by side, etc. Your food prep will be much smoother if you don’t have to constantly stop what you are doing to find the next item on your list.
- As soon as you are finished with a group of ingredients, PUT THEM AWAY.
- Fill up one side of your sink with warm soapy water. As you dirty dishes and utensils, rinse them and drop them to soak in the water. If you can’t afford the sink space during food prep, use a big bowl or pan. This way, food won’t dry and crust, which makes for tougher cleanup. It also keeps most of the mess consolidated into one space.
- Keep a sheet of waxed paper, a colander or some other receptacle for peelings, stems, and other discards on your counter or in your sink. If you compost, keep meat trimmings, packaging and other waste separate, and throw it away at intervals as you cook. You can also rest spoons, knives and measuring cups on this area to keep surfaces cleaner.
- Use down time to keep up with the mess. While the pasta is cooking, you might wash the pan you used to sauté the onions, for example. Also, good knives are best washed, dried and put away immediately after use.
- Wipe up spills on countertops and stove surfaces when they happen so they don’t harden. Ditto for floors.