Monday, April 21, 2008

Frugal Cleanup Tips from a Kitchen Pro

Even with the best intentions, many consumers waste time and money by failing to follow directions that are packaged with cleaning products. Most of us quickly wipe down our countertops with liquids and sprays. But most cleaning and sanitizing products need time to operate. Soaking time ranges from 10 seconds to 5 minutes. Read the package for detailed instructions

That's the word from Chris Wagner, director of operations at Johnson & Wales University in Miami.

''Most food-borne illnesses actually happen in the home kitchen and not in the professional kitchen,'' Wagner said.

Wagner says you don't need to buy expensive cleaners. Many commercial kitchens rely on vinegar and salt solutions for heavy-duty cleanups. He recommends a two-step cleanup process for wooden butcher blocks or cutting boards.

At Johnson & Wales, wooden cutting boards are soaked in vinegar for five minutes before washing. After using, the students coat the cutting blocks with kosher salt to draw out moisture, which prevents mold and bacteria, Wagner said.

Lemon juice also deters the growth of bacteria and mold on wood and kitchen equipment.
A mixture of lemon juice and kosher salt is effective in cleaning copper pans and pots, Wagner said.

Improper methods for storing and preparing food contribute to illnesses.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends these safe food handling procedures:
• Wash hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds before and after food preparation. Clean all surfaces.
• Avoid cross-contamination. Juices from raw meat, fish and poultry should be kept away from other food. Cutting boards, utensils and surfaces should be washed with hot soapy water when raw meat is prepared.
• Defrost meat in the refrigerator. Do not let defrosting meat drip on other food in the refrigerator.
A ''Safe Food Handling'' fact sheet is available at


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

hi, I was really surprised to read that the cutting boards should be soaked in vinegar and kosher salt to soak up any moisture left in the board.... I will be doing this from now on. Thanks!