By Josephine Holgado
Before you do your spring cleaning, take a photo of your old kitchen, including the pantry, refrigerator and freezer and take note of what you've found in those spaces. The first step to have a healthy kitchen is to "CLEAN YOUR KITCHEN."
We all know that cleanliness at this time can never be overemphasized. We are told to do hand washing as often as we can and to wash the food that we purchased. But to clean your kitchen is not just about disinfecting or making sure all the cobwebs and possible breeding grounds for cockroaches are gone, especially in your dirty kitchen. It does not only entail getting a broom and a dust pan to sweep the floor as well as wiping the counter top with a clean wash cloth after all the mess that you've made preparing and cooking your food. But it also involves checking the items that are found in your pantry, refrigerator and freezer. It also means you declutter your kitchen of food stuff that you don't really need or use. You do a kitchen makeover like Marie Kondo o Konmari. This can help you save time and money.
Check what is in your pantry, refrigerator and freezer. Do an inventory to find out if there are food items that you have too much of. Look at the expiry date. If there is no expiry date and you are not sure when you store it, make use of your senses to check if they are still edible.
For canned goods, there are 4 basic rules to follow: (1) Inspect the can (If it is damaged or rusted, bulging or leaking, discard it) (2) Open the can (If with hissing sound and/or liquid spurs out of the can, marked change or lack of color, with molds, muddy or opaque liquid or liquid level has dropped significantly, discard it) (3) Smell the food (If with unusual or unpleasant odor, discard it) (4) Taste it (Take extra precaution with this because you may develop food poisoning. Best to discard it if you're not sure about the taste or lack of it). Make sure that the canned goods are stored in a cool location. It is also important to know how long fresh produce will last, whether you store it at room temperature or keep it in the refrigerator. (See table below).
However, it is still best to trust your instincts and your senses. If you have doubts about the safety of using produce that has been stored for quite some time, especially if you're not sure when you purchased it, might as well throw it away or use it as compost.
The table below has been downloaded from The Taste of Home website (https://www.tasteofhome.com/article/heres-how-long-your-fresh-produce-will-really-last/) to serve as a guide as to how long fresh produce will last as well as the tips when fresh produce should be discarded.
The second step to have a healthy kitchen is to "OPT FOR HEALTHY CHOICES". This entails looking for items that you can store in your kitchen to have an optimal diet. The optimal diet is predominantly whole food plant based when you eat less fat, less sugar and less salt.