Remember our post about the kitchen being the heart of germs in the home? Read it here. This post is all about getting it right and healthy in the home. And again, we will look at the kitchen.
Shopping for culinary tools and gadgets is fun. However, no one wants to wind up with a bunch of stuff they regret buying. Cleaning out forgotten, expired, mismatched, and flavorless items from your kitchen allows you to optimize storage in an organized manner. It also lets you give empty cabinet shelves and drawers a thorough cleaning before restocking them with fresh goods. The following list shares common kitchen items that are a waste of your hard earned cash and reveals the essential things you should buy instead.
01: Nonstick Cookware
Unhealthy Element: Teflon coating that keeps food from sticking emits toxic fumes when heated above 500 F.
It’s no wonder why nonstick cookware is a kitchen favorite. It’s easy to clean and trims the amount of fat needed when cooking and baking. Unfortunately, the Teflon coating that keeps food from sticking can emit toxic fumes when heated above 500 F. Scratched nonstick may release harmful gasses at a lower heating temperature. Not only can the fumes cause flu-like symptoms in people, but it’s also highly toxic to birds.
Buy This Instead: Stainless steel cookware is a better way to go. It’s durable, dishwasher safe and there are plenty of low-cost options. To prevent food from sticking use a nonstick cooking spray.
02: Food Storage Containers
Toss These: Hazardous plastic containers that take up spaces
The most common cause of a “kitchen avalanche”: food storage containers, especially plastic containers. Edit jumbled piles of plastic containers to free up cabinet space and make storage operations run more smoothly. Pull out all your plastic containers, matching lids to their containers, and tossing out unmatched components. Throw out plastic containers labeled 3, 6, or 7, which are made of hazardous plastics.
Keep This Instead: Keep those coded 1, 2, 4, or 5, which are safer for humans and the environment. Organize the containers by size to see what’s what; store only those you really need and are likely to use. Recycle any that are mismatched, damaged or excessive. Same goes for heaps of water bottles and lunch boxes.
03: Juice Extractors
Needless Item: Juice Extractors
Trendy as they may be, a high-performance blender can stand up to berries, apples, or even sturdy kale just as well as a juicer — plus you’re not tossing the pulp (and its health benefits … and your money) down the drain. Not to mention juice cleanses aren’t such a great idea anyway.
Use This Instead: Use a regular blender instead. A blender can do very much what a juice extractor would do.
Toss These! Old and expired spices
Spices come with expiration dates, which should be checked a few times each year to ensure the seasonings you’re sprinkling are at their flavor peak. Can’t find an expiration date? Pinch the herb or spice between your fingers; if it no longer has a distinctive scent, it’s past its use-by date.
Try This Instead: Dump or toss out the expired seasonings; clean and dry the jars, and then refilling them with purchased-in-bulk organic herbs and spices. You’ll save money, enjoy tastier seasonings, and reduce landfill waste.
05: Grill Pans
Needless Item: Ridged grill pan
Meat only browns where it’s in direct contact with a pan’s grates — so when you use a ridged grill pan, you lose 50% or more of this crucial surface area. Results? Less-than-optimal flavor and potentially soggy hamburgers.
Buy This Instead: Next time you’re searing a steak or grilling fish or vegetables, fire up your barbecue or use a flat-bottomed skillet on the stovetop instead.
06: Pantry Staples
Toss this: old pantry staples
Empty food cabinets and use your sense of smell or taste to take stock of pantry staples. Smell pantry items (i.e. flour, nuts), or do a quick taste test and dispose of anything rancid. Keep a running list of items you need to replace [and] get rid of items you didn’t or won’t use. Look for expiration dates on packages and cans, and dispose of anything that is old. Finally, be ruthless: If you have six cans of creamed corn and your child has developed a corn allergy, you can safely donate the creamed corn.
Restock Smartly: When restocking the cabinet, think like a grocer and place items with the nearest expiration dates in the front so you will remember to use those staples first.
Needless Items: Sandwich Toaster or Pop-up Toaster
A toaster is one of those kitchen must-haves. However, a toaster oven will give you more value for your money compared to a conventional pop-up model or sandwich toaster. Sure, the latter may seem like the best thing since sliced bread, but it can only toast it. A toaster oven can do that and more including warming leftovers, melting cheese and broiling burgers. And unlike, pop-up toasters, mice can’t climb inside them to snack on breadcrumbs — unless you leave the oven door open.
The same goes for sandwich toaster. It holds measly amounts of food, is bulky, and frankly a waste of good kitchen space.
Buy This Instead: The replacement for a pop-up toaster or sandwich toaster would be either a regular toaster oven, or a regular oven which mostly comes with a grilling function. If you’re not so big on using toaster ovens, you can forgo that as well, and simply toast your bread in the oven. Save space by tossing out or donating the two to a charitable home.
08: Pots and Pans
Unhealthy Elements: Damaged pots and pans with peeling or scratched surfaces
Sort through all of your cooking and baking pans to determine what needs to go and what can stay. Throw out any pots, skillets, and baking pans that have peeling or scratched surfaces, as they are no longer safe to use. Toss pans with baked-on gunk that won’t come off; donate specialty pans that you never use.
Try This: Organize the pots and pans by size, and only keep the ones you use on a regular basis. See if every lid has a pot—if not, out goes the lid. If you can, get new pots and pans.
09: Cutlery, Cutting Tools and Egg Slicer
Toss These: Never used cutlery, cutting tools and egg slicer
Clean out drawers that hold your gadgets, silverware, knives and egg slicer. Get rid of mismatched silverware pieces, never-used tools, and lesser-quality knives. An egg slicer not only takes up space, but its usage is rather restricted to slicing hard boiled eggs. Unless you find yourself needing to slice plenty of eggs on a daily basis, toss this utensil out and use your knife as a replacement.
Try This: Keeping only what you need and use regularly ensures that you’ll be able to quickly find what you need when you need it.
Toss This: Grocery bag
It’s time to clear your cabinet! We cannot overemphasize the need to toss reusable shopping bags or stash them in your car instead of a cabinet or drawer—this will open up a good deal of cabinet space for storing more important kitchen gear. Paper grocery and shopping bags piling up?
Try This: Keep only those you’ll need for a week or two and recycle the rest. Or check with local food pantries or homeless shelters to see if they can use your extra baggage.