Learning how to stay organized while cooking in your kitchen is important when cooking from scratch. Follow these organizational tips to keep you successful in your kitchen!
When cooking from scratch, it's important to stay organized. It is the best way to help you be successful. Follow these top tips to help you stay organized and in control when cooking meals from scratch.
Organize the kitchen
Kitchen organization is important to help make sure you are utilizing your kitchen space efficiently. Setting up different stations will allow you to easily move from one task to another and have a more organized kitchen. Grouping together similar items in your kitchen will help make things easy in the long run.
- Create a chopping station in your kitchen area, where you can have a flat surface to slice and dice. Make sure your cutting board and knives are within reach of this station.
- Create a measuring station where you keep bulk food storage containers. Keep measuring cups and spoons in near by kitchen cabinets. I like using these clear containers as well as wide mouth mason jars for basic baking items, like flours, sugars and salts.
- Keep wooden spoons, spatulas and other items you would use while cooking on the stovetop, nearby so they are easily accessible.
- Store pots and pans as well as baking dishes and cookie sheets, near the oven so they are easy to access when working in that area.
- Use shelf risers to free up cabinet space. This will also allow you to see everything without having to rummage through every bottle or can. I like to store my spices in clear glass containers with labels on a rack inside my cabinet door so I can easily find what I need.
A well-organized kitchen will have your most everyday items, tools and small appliances within easy reach. This is a great way to help you during the cooking process so you aren't wasting time searching for things.
- If you use your slow cooker on a regular basis, it's a good idea to not keep it high on a shelf where it's difficult to access.
- Consider keeping heavy and bulking appliances in a lower cabinets instead of high up on a shelf where they are difficult to reach.
- If you are using your knives on a daily basis, consider storing them in a knife block on the counter. You can also free up counter space by using magnetic strip to free up counter space in a small kitchen.
- Keep a small dish of both salt and pepper as well as your most used cooking oils on a lazy susan near the stovetop.
Read the recipe
Make sure you are reading through the recipe before you go shopping for your ingredients. You will also want to make sure you re-read before you start making the recipe. This will make sure you have all of the ingredients and kitchen utensils you need ahead of time. It will also make sure you are comfortable with the techniques and know the timing of the steps.
Prep ingredients and gather tools
Gathering all of your ingredients ahead of time will help you make recipes easily. You can even pre-measure the ingredients, also known as mise en place, which will make putting the recipe together quick and efficient. Collect all of the special equipment, utensils or appliances that you need. This is especially helpful if you have a step or recipe that is time sensitive.
Optimizing use of all of your kitchen tools and equipment can make a big difference when it comes time for clean up. Measure all of your dry ingredients first, so you can then reuse the tools for measuring wet ingredients. See what bowls or utensils you can reuse for different steps so you don't have a huge sink full of dishes at the end.
Start clean and keep it clean
Starting with a clean kitchen makes cooking a lot easier. This will help to minimize the end result and help you move around the kitchen easily. A dirty kitchen can cause accidents and injury and put your family at rish for food borne illness.
Keeping your kitchen clean as you cook is a trick that every chef should know. If you finish measuring your ingredients, put the ingredients away and clean up the work space. If you have time while you are waiting for something to rise, chill or come to a boil, wash the dishes or clean up your work space.
Keep a trash can or garbage bowl close by when prepping ingredients to collect food waste. If you are chopping and dicing a lot of ingredients, this will make it easy to keep your work space clean.
Make sure to keep sanitizing wipes or spray along with clean dish towels or paper towels somewhere in the kitchen. That way, you can make sure you are handling food safely and can quickly clean up any spills.
If you ever don't recognize a tool or skill that I mention, be sure to look it up in the Glossary of Cooking Terms and Definitions for more information.