Well-maintained crockery, cutlery and utensils are a boon when you have to quickly whip up a meal and lay it up in style for your family or friends. Not to mention that well presented food in good looking crockery always ups the appetite. So, here are some handy tips to help you keep your fine ware and utensils in great shape always.
1. Silverware o Always store silver cutlery in a box or a drawer, covered with a cloth. o Rinse off silver cutlery soon after use to prevent staining. o Use a soft cloth to polish the silverware. Donít leave silver-plated cutlery for too long in cleaning solution. Always use a diluted dishwashing solution to wash silverware.
2. Porcelain, Bone China and Ceramic o Always wash them with a light detergent. o Never place them in a microwave for heating if they have a metallic (silver or gold) plated design/coating on them. In general too, such wares are best not used in the microwave. o Avoid exposing them to extreme hot and cold temperatures.
3. Stainless Steel Cutlery o Stainless steel is usually highly resistant to corrosion, rust and stains. So, always keep them clean and in a dry place. o Avoid direct heat/flame on any stainless steel product. o Never dip/use them with vinegar for too long. The salts present in the vinegar cause discoloration. o Always use a dishwashing solution to clean stainless steel cutlery.
4. Copper Vessels o Copper is a good conductor of heat. Copper vessels heat up and cool down very quickly. So, always use low flame and never keep empty copper vessels over a flame. o Preferably use copper vessels with a stainless steel/silver coating. o Wash the vessel while itís still warm, using a dishwashing detergent and soft scrubber. Never use steel wool or strong detergents and never scrub the vessel harshly.
5. Non-stick Cookware o Always use a non-stick cookware on low flame. o Always use wooden ladles while cooking in a non-stick pan. o Wash such utensils with a liquid detergent soap and a soft scrubber.
6. Woodenware At times, oil and food residue on wooden ladles can attract ants. Soak wooden ladles for about 10 minutes in hot water to remove all residues. Wash with a good detergent and dry immediately.
Here are a few tips you can use to maintain a clean kitchen space without exerting too much effort.
To keep steel wool pads from rusting, store them in a sealed plastic bag in the freezer after using. Run them under hot water the next time you have to use it. The pads will wear out before they ever rust.
To easily remove food from the bottom of a pan, cover it in water and add a drop or two of liquid detergent to it. Bring to a boil. This will make cleaning burnt food on utensils easy.
If food boils over in the oven, sprinkle the burnt surface with a little salt. This will stop smoke and odour and make the spot easier to clean. You can use a metal spatula to rub off the spills. Use a damp sponge to clean off.
To remove the odour of garlic from hands, wet hands with water and then rub them with a spoonful of salt and rinse. Repeat, if needed.
When stacking non-stick pans in kitchen cabinets, place a paper plate between the pans. This will prevent the pans from getting scratched, thus prolonging their life.
Never put a cover on anything that is cooked in milk, unless you want to spend time cleaning up the stove when it boils over!
After chopping garlic or onions, rub a freshly cut lemon over both the knife blade and the cutting board to help remove the garlic scent.
To safely clean coffee makers, enameled cast-iron pots and similar equipment, put 1-2 teaspoons of baking soda in the pot and pour boiling water over it.
To easily clean your blender, fill the blender container with warm water, add a few drops of liquid detergent, blend for 30 seconds and rinse well.
To deodorize plastic storage containers in which onions or garlic were stored, wash thoroughly, then stuff a crumpled piece of newspaper in the container and snap the lid shut. The smell will disappear in a few days.
To prevent sparingly used knives from getting rusty, wash and dry the blades thoroughly after use. Coat the surface with fat or lard and wrap well with paper before keeping away for next use. The blades will not rust.
Your burners and ovens often accumulate greasy grime that is just not easy to scrub away. Hereís a solution: pour a tablespoon of vinegar on a sponge and wipe the stains on the gas stove carefully. This will make them come off easily. Then clean the stove the usual way, with some detergent and water. Your gas burner will sparkle like a new one. Of course, donít let the water filter into the burner where the flame comes from, since it takes a long time to dry till which your burnerís useless.
Items stored in refrigerators sometimes emit an unpleasant odour. To get rid of it, soak a piece of cotton in a favourite essence of yours (like vanilla/lemon/ice-cream) and keep it preferably on the top shelf (may be next to the eggs). When you open the refrigerator, it will greet you with a welcome fragrance! A piece of fresh lime also helps in reducing the unpleasant odour. This is a must-do especially if you tend to keep chopped onions in the fridge regularly.