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Spring clean your way to a safer kitchen

Many people have been homebound due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As the green grass begins to pop up outdoors, we often feel energized to do some projects. After a long winter, tackling a “spring cleaning” of our refrigerator and kitchen cupboards might be a good place to start.

Check out the foods in your refrigerator. Could some of the foods become your dinner? If any of the foods are moldy or well past their “best if used by” date, toss them. Visit www. ag.ndsu.edu/food/food-preparation to learn how to make soup, casseroles, omelets and other foods with the leftovers in your refrigerator. Check out the “Pinchin’ Pennies in the Kitchen” series.

Sort the foods in your cupboards. Are your cupboards arranged in “first-in first-out” order? Are similar items (tomatoes, canned fruit) grouped together? Do you write the date of purchase on the foods you buy? Check out the new “What’s in Your Home Food Pantry?” handout (available at www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/yf/foods/ fn1706.pdf) for some ideas of foods to keep on hand.

Try these kitchen

cleaning tips

Harmful bacteria such as salmonella, staphylococcus, E. coli and listeria can lurk in our kitchens. Try these tips from the national Fight BAC campaign: Clean surfaces. Wash countertops with hot, soapy water, then sanitize them. You can use a commercial disinfecting kitchen cleaner or make your own “sanitizer” with 1 teaspoon of chlorine bleach per quart of water. Put the bleach mixture in a spray bottle or wipe it on with a clean rag. Finally, blot dry with a clean paper towel or allow to air dry.

Disinfect dishcloths. Bacteria love to grow on dishcloths because they often are moist and provide some “food” for them. Use the hot water cycle of the washing machine and dry them in the dryer.

Clean your refrigerator. Wash the refrigerator surfaces with hot, soapy water and rinse with a damp cloth. Do not use a chlorine-based sanitizer in your refrigerator because it can damage seals, gaskets and linings.

Clean the kitchen sink drain and disposal. Pour a solution of 1 teaspoon of chlorine bleach in 1 quart of water down the drain once or twice a week.

Disinfect frequently touched areas. To “disinfect” surfaces such as door knobs, handles, toilets and faucets, follow the directions on the disinfectant container. See the guidance at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/disinfecting-your-home.html

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