In today’s world, we all strive to make the perfect meal, to organize the perfect dinner, to impress our guests with the perfect ambient. Our kitchens are our getaway sanctuaries, our hideouts, places where we create delicious pieces of art whenever we have the chance.
Having a perfectly organized kitchen with a properly developed system for meal creation takes time and experience and a lot of trial and error. One of the universal truths in this life is that you can improve in many aspects whenever you learn and improve step by step.
That’s why here at Kitchen Byte, we decided to make a useful and interesting infographic for you guys. We covered several aspects of kitchen organization, food preparation, and storage to help you improve your kitchen experience.
Our Kitchen Optimization Hacks is made with love, taste, and good intentions; share it, print it and stick it to your counter, and use the info to improve your kitchen today!
Kitchen Cheat Sheet
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1. Storage Times for the Refrigerator and Freezer
The food we store in our refrigerators and freezers has a different lifetime period before it gets spoiled. This is one of the first areas where many people don’t pay enough attention and just keep the food until it is used or wasted. Not caring enough can lead to the latter much more often; your food has an expiration date, and we’ve made a table for you to use and stick to the refrigerator.
As you can see, there is a difference between opened and unopened packaging alongside the refrigerator/freezer times. Many people make a mistake by assuming that food can be stored there for an unlimited time – this leads to wasted food. The average value in the lifetime table section is the best for food usage. Look at the higher value period as a maximum time allowed for usage or storage.
- For example, steaks are best used within a 3-5 day period and can stay in a safe state frozen within six months to one year period. Of course, the sooner you use your food, the better.
One of the most common mistakes people make while storing the food is caused by not being able to decide which meal to prepare, or changing the decision.
- For example, when you plan a meal for guests, sometimes you change plans or ingredients, and just toss the previously picked ones back in the fridge. Don’t do this; plan your meals accordingly and if a change happens, make sure to put your food in the freezer if you’re not going to use it immediately.
Also, don’t re-freeze food many times; it lowers its quality significantly. Take care how long you’re keeping your food in the storage, and use our table to your advantage.
See also: Guide for storing mushrooms
Related: Learn more about food storage times
2. How to Organize Food in the Refrigerator
The next area where you can improve your storing is the actual placement of food inside of the fridge. No matter which type or model of refrigerator you own (mine is a counter depth refrigerator), there are areas designed for different food types by consistency, structure, and form.
This mostly implies on the temperature, the measurements of the food you store, and if you’re storing used food or raw ingredients. When storing food, use the simple rule: ready-to-eat foods go up, food that needs to be prepared goes down.
There is a simple reason for this organization; raw food that needs to be processed by heat (e.g, using countertop convection oven) can leak fluids and smells, which might contaminate everything below it.
- Besides the ready-to-eat food, top areas of the fridge are good for leftovers because they are warmer in general. Separating your food with plastic containers is very useful if you don’t want smells mixing and leakage to lower shelves.
- The drawers and the door are areas where you should pay special attention to what food is stored there. These are designed for vegetable and fruit compartments, followed by alcoholic drinks. The refrigerator door is the perfect area for condiments, drinks, sweets and water.
The fridge organization maximizes your food usage and practicality and ensures proper storing. Keeping your fridge tidy and organized will always help you know where is everything so you can be productive creating an excellent dinner for your guests.
- Don’t stuff your fridge with too many foods; it will create the perfect environment for wasting because you won’t be able to keep track which food’s lifetime period is expiring. Many people love the sight of the jam-packed fridge, as it reminds them of abundance, but there’s no actual benefit in this.
Organize your food, use compartments and shelves with productivity and usefulness in mind.
3. How Long to Cook Fresh / Frozen Vegetables
Now that we’ve mastered storing and supplying let’s proceed to food preparation.
Cooking vegetables is the area where many people can definitely improve on. Again, we’ve covered an important aspect of vegetable preparation by letting you know there is a big difference in preparing frozen and fresh food.
As you can see, frozen veggies usually take at least a quarter of the time more than fresh ones to prepare correctly. An important aspect of vegetable preparation is the vegetable’s gentle structure which changes during direct heat exposure.
That’s why the perfect way to preserve the vitamins and fibers in vegetables is by steaming.
When preparing veggies for your next meal, make sure to have the perfect timing to start and finish, alongside the best possible conditions for tender vegetables. There are special rules for roasting, baking, sautéing, boiling and steaming, each requiring special care and equipment.
Preparing your vegetables perfectly will require patience, knowledge, and experience, but you’ll attain all of that in time.
- The universal rule for cooking vegetables is to follow the meal recipe and keep veggies soft and healthy to enrich the meal. You do need to get informed on which vegetables are suitable for different types of preparation, like roasting/boiling/baking/sautéing.
A good chef will always know that you can’t prepare every vegetable the same way, and with some practicing and study, you will attain this knowledge and be a much better cook. Your meals will improve, and your guests will enjoy your cooking.
4. Meat Cuts & Cooking Recommendations
Now we’re getting to the meaty part of our Kitchen Cheat Sheet – the area where you’ll improve the most.
Handling the meat is the primary skill in the kitchen, and as long as you’re improving in choosing, storing, and cutting the perfect slices of meat, your skill as a chef will rise. Meat is the center of a lot of meals, and a properly prepared slice will make your (and your guest’s) mouth water.
There is a lot of different meat on the market and an endless stream of possibilities for meat lovers to enjoy it. If you’re a good chef and a kitchen enthusiast, your knowledge (and experience) of meat should be extensive.
First and foremost, you should always know which type of meat goes well with the different types of meals so you can combine them to achieve the perfect synergy of taste and texture. To help you with this, we’ve used five of the most common meat sources: pork, beef, lamb, chicken, and fish.
Using our Kitchen Cheat Sheet, you’ll be perfectly informed and prepared on how to dissect and choose parts of the animal for the meal you’re cooking, and know how to make the selected part of the meat perfectly.
- For example, lamb loin meat is best for roasting or grilling, while the beef chuck is best served cooked or in a stew. This resource alone will improve your cooking & kitchen game significantly.
Always have in mind that preparing meat takes three stages:
- and the Heat Processing
To achieve the perfectly cooked meat, you have to be careful and thoughtful throughout the whole process, including every stage.
Be a meat cutting and preparing master, and upgrade your knowledge with our Cheat Sheet!
Related: Read the full Meat Cutting Guide
5. Cooking Measurements Conversions
The quality is in the details. With the global expansion of the internet and kitchen enthusiast network, food blogs, recipe sites and much more, there is an abundance of resources, recipes, guides, tips and tricks that will help you enhance your kitchen performance.
With the global network, you’re able to try recipes and make delightful meals from different cuisines all over the globe. What an impressive feat is that; you can surprise your guests with fantastic meals from various cuisines around the world.
A good chef knows to read every single measurement and understand every abbreviation in the worldwide recipes. Also, a good chef knows how much every measurement unit weights and measures in other units. Even though this might seem strange, we’ve invested some effort to provide all the information for you to take advantage of while cooking.
- Units, measurements, capacities, American/British liquid measurements, length measurements and Celsius/Fahrenheit comparison are very helpful info to make you understand every recipe in this world. With this information, you’ll be able to make the most of on the knowledge and practice to make yourself a perfect chef.
Handy Guide For Precise Measuring:
Your kitchen will be optimized, you’ll store and prepare food like a pro, and you’ll have some tricks up your sleeve.
We wish you a happy cooking and a perfect kitchen! 🙂
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