Kitchen Cure: Letting it all Hang Out

I bet most of you have some area in the house that you hope people don’t notice. Or you wish you would magically come home and would be magically cleaner or more organized.   Your little problem area.  Am I right?  Mine is the kitchen. Well, among others…but we are tackling those as we can.   A few weeks ago, not knowing the Cure was coming up, I fixed up the spices, oils & vinegars.  There is so much more to do! The fridge! And what is the freezer anyway?

Last spring I read about the Kitchen Cure: Spring 2010 and thought 2 things. 1) Brave souls baring their messes to the masses. 2) I need to do this. Badly.

When Kitchen Cure: Fall 2010 arrived on the scene I signed up before I had a chance to think about it.  Did I really want to air my mess online?  No, not so much. Yet, I know more than anything I need accountability to do this kind of thing. Deadlines.   Over 2,000 signed up so I am pretty sure I am not alone in a) kitchen messes or b) the need for accountability and deadlines.

Kitchen Cure: Week #1

Want to know what Grow & Resist’s kitchen looks like?  Sorry, I didn’t clean for you. I didn’t even pick up.  You understand don’t you?

Grow and Resist Kitchen Cure 2010

This is the part of the kitchen where most of the good stuff happens. And a little view of the dog we were dog-sitting. Hi Sophie!

Grow and Resist Kitchen Cure 2010

The other direction. Hi again Sophie! Sophie was apparently liking the photo shoot.

Grow and Resist Kitchen Cure 2010

Cool chopping block isn't it? My dad & grandpa made it years ago. The piles though? Not useful. The dehumidifier? Very useful in Seattle.

Grow and Resist Kitchen Cure 2010

And the other direction. And, just so we are clear, the bottles in the window are empty and awaiting a project I am using them for. Really.

Week #1’s assignment was to clean out the fridge, freezer and pantry spaces. Yikes!   I suppose tackling my main demon right off the bat is a good thing though, right?  So, without further ado, I present my mess.

FRIDGE BEFORE:

Grow and Resist Kitchen Cure 2010

We had just had a lot of visitors so there were more leftovers and bits of randomness than usual. But a fairly true-to-usual peek.

FRIDGE DURING & AFTER:

Grow and Resist Kitchen Cure 2010

During! Scrub, scrub, scrub

I removed all the inner shelving, the produce bins, the in-door shelves and meat/cheese drawer and scrubbed them all.  I used a earth-friendly glass cleaner, hot water and a good scrubby sponge.  I found a bigger mess than I anticipated on the lower shelf and under the meat/cheese drawer.  A while back a kombucha bottle broke and I guess it flowed more places than I thought. Gross.  Luckily, it was easier to clean than I feared.

Grow and Resist Kitchen Cure 2010

Look at that! Space!

I tossed anything expired, anything remaining with corn syrup (there were 3 or 4 condiments that still had it in them) and anything I knew we were never going to consume.

FREEZER BEFORE:

Grow and Resist Kitchen Cure 2010

Where is...anything? Dig, must dig.

Grow and Resist Kitchen Cure 2010

Really dig.

FREEZER AFTER :

Grow and Resist Kitchen Cure 2010

Look! No digging!

I tossed anything with freezer burn, a bunch of syrupy popsicles and a slew of random bags of things I froze when I didn’t know what to do with them (and still don’t.) I consolidated a boozy concoction (strawberry-rhubarb liqueur) that was in 2 bottles.

The best thing, however, about the freezer clean up was cleaning out all the ice cubes that fall below. I am not sure if this is just a problem of having a freezer on the bottom, but we get ice cubes all over the place. It’s annoying.

PANTRY BEFORE:

Grow and Resist Kitchen Cure 2010

Pantry. Not too terribly bad.

PANTRY AFTER:

Grow and Resist Kitchen Cure 2010

Streamlined

Grow and Resist Kitchen Cure 2010

Better! Avert your eyes from the marshmallows.

The pantry wasn’t too bad to start with- a few items tossed on top and things not necessarily in place. But the pantry doesn’t cause me the stress the fridge does. I tossed a few things that had weird ingredients in them. I’m looking at you yellow rice!  But kept the marshmallows.  Never know when the Ladyfriend could need a hot chocolate.

We don’t keep much in here. It is mostly dried fruit from bulk bins stored in jars, lemons I preserved, nuts in jars, some chicken broth, dried pasta and canned beans.  A bit of cereal.

RANDOM PLACES BEFORE & AFTER:

Grow and Resist Kitchen Cure 2010

Over the fridge.

I learned to can a little over a year ago and somewhere along the way I learned that you shouldn’t keep the rings on your processed goods for storage. Yet, I hadn’t done it yet.  Even with the items I processed after learning the info. I have no idea why the reluctance on my part.

Grow and Resist Kitchen Cure 2010

Canning rings removed

Grow and Resist Kitchen Cure 2010

More canned good storage- who knows what is up there!

 

Grow and Resist Kitchen Cure 2010

Rings removed- finally. I found Dill Relish, Fig-Apricot Jam, Pickled Lemons, Blackberry Jam and the very last Carrot Relish (sad!)

I also went through all areas I store canned items and removed things I know I will never eat. Like the Rhubarb-Honey-Rosemary Jam. Gone.

Grow and Resist Kitchen Cure 2010

Before: basement canned good storage (& canning supplies)

Grow and Resist Kitchen Cure 2010

After: more rings removed. Peach Salsa, Jalapeno Jelly, Green Tomato Enchilada Sauce and Honey Pickled Jalapeno Rings.

Grow and Resist Kitchen Cure 2010

Before: A ridiculous amount of tea. I don't even really drink tea. Nor does the Ladyfriend.

Grow and Resist Kitchen Cure 2010

After: Cleaned it up a bit.

The bigger question is: why does a household that doesn’t really drink tea have so much of it?   Are we are trying to confirm the cliché of lesbians loving tea?  No, no we are not.  And besides we prefer ‘queer’ over ‘lesbian’ anyway.

Some of it is for iced tea, some for kombucha and some because I go through random periods of wanting mint tea. That is all. Some visitors drink tea. It is good to have a selection.

Grow and Resist Kitchen Cure 2010

Yup. More tea. And a giant mess.

Grow and Resist Kitchen Cure 2010

Better. Definitely not things we use often, but we do use them.

Grow and Resist Kitchen Cure 2010

Baking items. I just reorganized this a month ago. Some miscellaneous bags have made their way in already, but I'm not reorganizing at this point.

Grow and Resist Kitchen Cure 2010

This one was too easy! I cleaned and purged spices/cooking items & reorganized about a month ago.

Grow and Resist Kitchen Cure 2010

Basement full freezer. I'm not doing anything here. It might look a mess, but I am the only one that goes in it and I know where things are located.

So, there we have it. Kitchen Cure Fall 2010 is well underway.  And, assignment #2 is up as well!   Next week I’ll be cleaning through all the kitchen gadgets!  Whew! I feel better already. The fridge was my nightmare. Gadgets I can handle. Gadgets I keep up on. But their storage places? Definitely could use a good cleaning!

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15 Responses to Kitchen Cure: Letting it all Hang Out

  1. ronaldeddy says:

    very nice photos and explanation of each photograph is well said….really i m impress fro your page contents and blog..

  2. Carbzilla says:

    Oh I should soooo do this! We were doing an Eat Through the Pantry challenge and then I went to Trader Joe’s and set us way back. Hello square one.

    So interesting about removing the canning rings. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone do that. Is there a reason?

    • Thanks! “Back to square one”– ah, I’m there so often, with so many things, I think I just might move in! =)

      Taking off the rings is supposedly to prevent corrosion under the rings and problems that could occur. And so a bad seal isn’t missed. Food in Jars wrote about it- I linked to it though if you want to read more!

  3. Mary Brown says:

    I am so impressed – will you come down and clean out our kitchen?? Of course, you know that we will be up and mess everything up again. Did you get rid of all of the bread crumbs? I did use up a couple of cans last time. We love your blog!!

    • Nope, kept the breadcrumbs. I need you to make meatloaf & meatballs every single time you visit. Really. I will always keep them on hand just for that!
      And, I know your kitchen. You will never be messy & could never be messy like I am =)

      • Mary Brown says:

        You should have seen the “outdated” cans of food that I threw out before we left for Japan! Do you think a can dated 2006 might be a little bad?????? I haven’t even started with “corn syrup” items!

  4. Meemaw says:

    I concur with Mary – we will be up and just mess it up again. What a job! and what courage to show it all online. Jim and I just cleaned out a few kitchen drawers yesterday and threw away a bag full of trash but there are so many more to go. Great job, Meg!

  5. Inder says:

    So inspiring!! I just got down on my hands and knees and scrubbed my kitchen floor yesterday, and was appalled to find that my floor is actually all shades of Southwest Pastel! Who knew? I think I liked it better dirty (not really) … Next, the FRIDGE. Anyway, good job!

  6. Meemaw- amazing how it all accumulates isn’t it!
    Inder- I’m afraid of our floor….and am pretty sure a solid-hands&knees-scrubbing is in my near future. Nice job getting it done! Too funny on the color!

  7. cookie monster says:

    Wow, our kitchen never looked so good! You’ll have to explain the ring thing when I get home.

  8. littlehousesouthernprairie says:

    And you’re coming to my house next, right?

  9. Libby says:

    You did a great job, I should follow your lead. My kitchen needs some serious help!

  10. Barbara says:

    I love your kitchen challenge! And you have a beautiful kitchen, even if YOU think it was a mess. Inspired, I took a quick peek at the back of our refrigerator, threw out a bottle of yellowish barbecue sauce expired last summer (and most certainly full of corn syrup – great criterion), and then quickly closed it again. I’ll be looking forward to your gadget assignment.

  11. littlehousesouthernprairie- Of course! I’ll be right there! =)
    Libby-Thanks! It was somewhat therapeutic in the end!
    Barbara- Thanks- we love the kitchen too! The mess/random places of disorganization-not so much! It is good to go through the process. Going to start on those gadgets tomorrow!

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