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Holiday Cooking and Cleaning Checklist

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Here are some holiday cooking and cleaning tips, because at this time of year more than any other, the kitchen is the focus of frenzied activity. Throughout the holidays, it's important to remember to take deep breaths, relax, and have fun.

  • Before you cook even one holiday recipe, remove kitchen clutter, making as much room as you can for holiday preparations. Cast a cold, hard eye on those kitchen counters. Get out a large cardboard box and fill it with all the things you won't need, and stash the box in the attic or basement.
  • Attack the refrigerator. Discard everything that's past its prime. Make space to chill bowls of cookie dough, batches of eggnog, and perishable food gifts you may receive.
  • Read recipes carefully and think through every special meal you'll cook. Organize your work area. Pay special attention to pan sizes and the space you will need for such activities as rolling dough and combining several bowls of ingredients.
  • Check to make sure you have plenty storage containers and materials, including of plastic wrap, waxed paper and aluminum foil. If you use glass or plastic containers with snap-on lids, organize them so they're easy to find—and that includes the lids that fit them.
  • Clean as you go. Make a habit of washing, drying, and putting away equipment as soon as you can after using it.
  • If you face a roasting pan with baked-on grease and gunk, fill the sink with hot water, add 2 tablespoons of dishwasher detergent, and soak the pan overnight. Then scrub it with steel wool.
  • If you burn something and it sticks to the bottom of the pan, let the pan cool off. Scrape out as much of the burned food as you can. Then fill the pan with cold water and add 3 tablespoons of salt or baking soda. Let it sit overnight. In the morning, bring the water slowly to a boil and let it simmer for 20 minutes. The pan should just wipe clean.
  • If your glassware looks cloudy, put 1 to 2 tablespoons of lemon juice in the offending vessel and fill it to the top with hot water. Let it sit for at least three hours. Then rinse it out and wash it in warm, soapy water.
  • When cleaning heavily tarnished silver, rub it with a damp cloth sprinkled with salt; then wash off the salt and polish the silver. If you run out of silver polish, use toothpaste. It works just as well and smells a whole lot better.

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Comments

I just got a set of hand me

By Amy Rose

I just got a set of hand me down cast iron pans. They are in pretty bad shape, rust? How do I clean and season them properly so I can start usin them?
Thank you

You can use steel wool or sos

By realspeedy22

You can use steel wool or sos pad but do it gently to remove any food residue clean them with no soap at all....to season a cast iron pan you fill the bottom of the pan with salt and bake it in the oven for at least an hour on 400 degrees...make sure you use a oven mit! dump the salt in to the next pan you have to season or save it in a ziplock bag after it cools of course next step is to take a canola or or olive or veggie oil coat the bottom of your pan and store. when you use the pans you do not have to repeat this whole process unless the pans are sticking when you remove from the water make sure you dry them on the stove to avoid rusting and coat the bottom with a light coating of oil.

Hi Amy, Rust can be removed

By Almanac Staff

Hi Amy,

Rust can be removed by soaking the pans in a solution of equal amounts of water and white vinegar. Soak for a couple of hours and check to see if you can wipe off the rust. If you still have some rusty spots use a plastic scrubber or fine sandpaper to gently scrub the spots. Wipe clean.

To season use a paper towel to cover the pans with a thin coating of vegetable oil. Place pans in a 375 degree F oven for about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven, wipe off any extra oil and let cool. Repeat this a couple of times before using the pans for cooking.

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