In Part 1 I started to discuss how to organize your kitchen to make it conducive to efficient and relaxed meal preparation.
Once you’ve pared down your utensils and cookware, you can tackle your pantry and fridge.
What food are you storing, and how are you storing it? Expired or wrongly-stored foods take up space and can make your dish tasteless or even dangerous.
Old jars of herbs and spices usually aren’t dangerous, just bland-tasting, so what’s the point in using them? If you crush them and smell nothing, they probably won’t do much for your dish. If a vibrantly colored spice has lost its brightness, that’s another indication of flavor loss. If you’ve let your spice become moist, it might clump together and be harder to use. To prevent this, don’t store your herbs and spices near moisture or shake them over a steaming pot; instead spoon them from the jar or, better yet, use a mortar and pestle. And don’t forget to screw the lid on tightly when you’re finished.
You might be willing to take a chance on old oregano, but what about that not-quite-fresh chicken in your fridge? Safety should always trump frugality here; while most of us hate to waste food, hospital bills are costlier!
When you’re arranging your refrigerator, convenience is important, but so is temperature. The back of the bottom shelf is usually the coldest spot – good for dairy and meat – while the door is the warmest – best for condiments, jams, and nut butters.