If you are anything like me, Spring will be one of your favourite seasons, as it heralds the turning point from the depths of winter to the glorious, warmer months. Along with the warmer days and longer nights, Spring has traditionally been a period of change, of new life and new beginnings. Many people use this time to have a big clean out of their house, wardrobes, car or Facebook friends. So today I’m going to share some of my tips for extending this spring clean to your kitchen!
1. Check the dates on all your packaged goods
This may seem like an obvious one, but how often do we buy things with the best intentions and then life gets in the way and these products end up at the back of a shelf or in a cupboard somewhere collecting dust? Start with your tins, boxes and packets – anything past it’s “Used By” date should be disposed of immediately as it is no longer guaranteed to be safe. “Best Before” dates however relate to the quality of the food, so past this date the food may have suboptimal taste, texture or appearance, yet may still be completely safe so use your judgement before consuming the product.
2. Make sure everything is stored correctly.
Nuts are slowly making their way into the everyday diet of average Australians, due to their high concentrations of beneficial polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, but like any other fats they can become rancid if stored incorrectly. If you get through them quickly just ensure you have a good airtight container, but if nuts or nut meals stay in your cupboard for a while move them to the fridge or freezer where they can be cold and dark until needed. Similarly oils of any kind should be kept in a dark cupboard away from the heat of the stove.
3. Check your condiments!
Sauces, flavourings, pastes and jams tend to take up a lot of space in fridges and cupboards because they are often used infrequently and in such small amounts. Most sauces can last in the fridge or cupboard due to the high levels of sugar or salt so where you keep them is up to you, but check frequently for any irregular spots or coloured areas as this can be a sign of bacterial or mould growth. Bacteria can infect foods thoroughly even if only a small amount is visible so chuck the whole thing out just to be safe.
4. Update your menu!
Each turn of season brings a new crop of beautiful fresh fruits and vegetables into our markets so try some new recipes or swap some of your old favourites for some new season varieties such as:
• Brussel Sprouts
• Sugar Snap Peas
• Navel Orange