Spring time often brings up conversations of “spring cleaning” your home. This weekend in Baltimore brought fresh air and sunshine which may spark a desire to clean up your home and perhaps film your own episode of Tidying Up. Why not take a look into those cabinets and freezers to see what food you can use up and what needs to be tossed? Here’s three tips for Spring cleaning your kitchen:
1. Check expiration dates
Food expiration dates are a guideline as to how long a food can stay fresh for. They’re not written in stone, and often times you can tell (or smell) if foods have exceeded their time – if there is mold, foul odors, change in color…etc. Not only will this food taste nasty, but you run the risk of foodborne illness. Most leftovers that you have frozen will only last up to 2-3 months. Check out this handy chart for refrigerator and freezer storage times from foodsafety.gov.
2. Take inventory of pantry items
Cleaning out your pantry is a great opportunity to discover that bag of lentils, those canned tomatoes or beans, and whatever other random things you’ve forgotten about. If you have met with a nourishED dietitian, it is likely you have talked about the importance of meal planning. Use these items as inspiration for your meals this week. Just think of the tv show Chopped – and ask yourself “what can I make with these ingredients?” You will prevent food waste and save money. Supercook is a website where you can type in all the ingredients you have, and it will find recipes from popular websites that match. Lastly, you can donate unopened goods to your local food bank.
3. Get organized
An unorganized or messy kitchen is a stressful place to be, and can often times take the joy out of cooking or eating. If you are trying to make peace with food and incorporate mindful eating principals into meal time, it is often helpful to make your kitchen a more enjoyable space. This may mean throwing out old junk that doesn’t belong, using vases or bins for cooking utensils, or looking to Pinterest for storage solutions and small kitchen hacks. You may want to also check your knives and see if they need to be sharpened – safety first!
If the Spring cleaning inspiration hasn’t hit you yet – that’s OK! These tips can be used any time of year.