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September 27, 2021 | Cooking

How to Prep Your Kitchen for Fall Cooking

cooking ingredients on shelf

Fall is right around the corner, which means you may be wondering how to prep your kitchen for fall cooking.

We tend to get in the fall mood as soon as the calendar changes over to September. It is one of the coziest, delicious times of year – from the changing of the leaves and pulling out the hoodies and fluffy sweaters to flavoring everything with pumpkin. 

To help you get started, we gathered a few steps to help you understand how to prep your kitchen for fall cooking.

How to Prep Your Kitchen for Fall Cooking

The season is not only about pumpkins and falling leaves, though. It is a great time to do some version of spring cleaning for your kitchen. After all, you are going to need some space for all those Thanksgiving leftovers, apple cider (spiked?),  and pumpkin-spice treats. And you need to make sure you fill your pantry with everything to cook and bake it all! 

This is a busy, busy season. Make it go smoothly by being prepared before your social calendar fills up. Here’s how to prep your kitchen for fall cooking.

Step One: Clear Out the Pantry

The size of your pantry and how packed it is will determine just how big of a chore this step is going to be. Remove everything from your pantry shelves and group them in piles of like items. For instance, keep all your pasta together, all your dried beans and lentils, your flour, sugars, etc. Consolidate those things you have more than one of — such as two bags of flour. Take it one step further and look at all the expiration dates, ditching anything that is expired. And, finally, make a note of anything that you have that is running low.

Wipe down the pantry shelves, sweep the pantry floor, and make the whole area clean and fresh and new. This is the perfect time to add shelf liner if you’ve always wanted to do that or transfer your spices, baking ingredients, or dry goods into glass containers. 

When you are ready, reload your pantry, keeping it organized and accessible. And, after everything is put away, make a list of items you need to pick up such as baking ingredients for the upcoming season, pantry staples for easy throw-together meals on a busy day, and so on. 

Step Two: Tackle the Refrigerator

If you are like the majority of people, you likely don’t clean your refrigerator out very often. It is one of those things that is always there but doesn’t get the attention it should. There are probably a lot of condiments and jars of things that are near empty. Like how long are you going to keep that big jar with one pickle? Or that little dab of honey mustard? It’s time to clear things out. 

Start by removing everything from the fridge. Consolidate items where you can, find uses for items you have just a little of, and look at the expiration date on those items you don’t replace often. Take a look at cheeses, herbs, spreads and dips, and so forth. Smell them, check dates, keep what is good and toss what isn’t. 

Now that you have narrowed all that down, take out your shelves and drawers and clean them up with a soft cloth and some soapy water. Wipe down inside, too. Get rid of all those stains and spilled food. DO NOT use heavy cleaners inside your refrigerator or on your shelves/drawers. 

As you begin to reload your refrigerator, organize it and make note of the things you are short of, the things you tossed that you may want to repurchase, and so forth. 

Step Three: Oven Time!

If you intend to bake some of your grandma’s molasses cookies during the season or you are hosting Thanksgiving dinner, then it is important your oven is in tip-top shape. And what works better than a clean oven? Kick-off your oven time by using your oven’s self-cleaning feature

Then, take a moment to make sure your oven is working properly. Invest in an oven thermometer to make sure that your food is cooking at the proper temperature. 

And, hey, you’ve worked hard today. Why not cook or bake yourself something delicious while you are at it? You deserve it, friend. And you get to test your thermometer out. 

Step Four: Check Out Your Cooking Tools

Clutter can add to life’s stresses and frustrations. If you walk into your kitchen to cook something and you can’t find the utensils or the pan you need easily – without digging through everything – then that’s a good sign it may be time to unload some of your clutter. 

Go through your drawers and your cabinets. You may be surprised to find that you have 7 spatulas and 4 whisks. Nobody needs that many. Get rid of them. Donate them. Pass them on to a friend. Sell them. Whatever you feel comfortable doing — just get them out of your kitchen. 

Your pots and pans and baking sheets, etc. should be organized. If you have an overload, consider getting rid of them in your preferred way, too. Clean out your cabinets, wipe them down, wash and scrub your cookware, and reload your cabinets. 

Everything is so much easier when you can find what you need when you need it. 

Step Five: Show Your Appliances Some TLC

Appliances may not have feelings, but they do require a little TLC to run properly and look their best. While you are prepping your kitchen, take the time to wipe down the outside of your appliances with some warm soapy water. Yes, focus on the big things like the microwave, the range, the dishwasher, the refrigerator, and so on. But, by all means, don’t leave behind the small appliances like your air fryer, the mixer, the food processor, and so on. 

If you have been on the fence about investing in a new appliance, whether a dishwasher, refrigerator, etc. – now is the time. You are headed into the busiest season of the year and the last thing you need to worry about is a non-working appliance. 

Sanity comes when we take those little steps, you know? Like keeping your kitchen clean and organized – and buying a new appliance when you need it.