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Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Get your RV kitchen ready for Spring

The RV Kitchens Newsletter recently published these ideas to get your RV kitchen ready for another year of extra-ordinary meals! This is a terrific newsletter and website, packed with great cooking ideas.

Update your spices
Most spices can be stored for no more than six months before losing their flavor and aroma – especially the ground ones. (Hint: If your spices don't smell fresh they probably aren't!) Now that many of your spices have been rattling around for a year or more, consider replacing at least those with the shortest shelf lives. Specifically check the ground allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg. You will also find that spice blends (such as chili and curry powders) quickly lose their pungency. Treat yourself and your traveling companions to a few new jars.

Check "use by" dates
Baking powder and baking soda, self-rising flours and cornmeals, yeast, and many other basic ingredients don’t last forever – most lose their power in just a few months. The good news is that most items in this category are cheap. Check “use by” dates and replace any that are even questionable.

Refresh your cookbooks
We love cookbooks, but the limited space in our RVs makes it impractical to travel around with books in the "we might decide to use it some day" category. Cookbooks we haven't used in the past year are donated to our local library or to a book drive . . . and that makes space for some of the new books we've had our eye on!

Replace some stuff
We hear about microwaving kitchen sponges to get rid of that dank smell of decay. The fact is that sponges are so cheap that it just doesn’t make sense to haul around a funky sponge. Go out and buy a couple of new ones. Same goes for kitchen towels and dishcloths. After a season or so of service, toss the stained ones and replace them with some which are bright and new. A set of six white restaurant-quality bar towels can be purchased for under $10 at Linens-N-Things and at Bed Bath and Beyond. Think about a new chopping board or two. (While you are thinking about chopping boards, consider dedicating one to onions and garlic so that other flavors aren't contaminated.)

Inventory Disposables
Inventory your supply of paper products and other disposables.

Fire safety
Last in this list, but first in importance, inspect your RV's fire extinguisher . . . and consider purchasing a small one specifically to keep in reach in your kitchen area.

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