Your kitchen is sure to be in great demand over the festive period, so now is the perfect time to ensure your appliances are up to the task. With relatives stopping by for a mince pie, Christmas parties and the big day itself, the last thing you want is a faulty appliance interrupting the festivities.
In this post we look at a few simple appliance checks and additions that will ensure your festive season goes without a hitch, including tips for saving space in fridge and spotting problems with the oven.
Step 1: Get to grips with the fridge and freezer
Don’t struggle for space in the fridge this Christmas. These simple additions will make it easy to store all the extra food you’ll be buying over the holidays.
Easily store bottles and more…
A simple way to add extra storage space is to fit an additional fridge shelf. These are easy to install and will simply fit in-between the existing shelves. Fridge shelves are usually universal, which means that they will fit all makes and models, and they are often made of plexiglass so they can be cut to size.
If you’re struggling to keep bottles of wine or bubbly chilled for your festive soirée then a refrigerator wine rack may well be the answer. Fringe wine racks fit underneath your existing fridge shelves and can hold up to 5 bottles.
Combat strong odours…
Over Christmas you’ll probably be indulging in festive food treats with strong flavours and aromas like stilton cheese. These maybe delicious but the strong flavours can have an unwanted affect in the fridge.
To prevent your fridge developing an unpleasant odour and the cross contamination of foods you should always store opened food in plastic storage containers and it is worthwhile investing in a fridge deodoriser. This will absorb odours and leave your fridge smelling fresh.
That’s the fridge taken care of, but what about storing frozen food.
Defrost the freezer…
Before you do the Christmas food shop it is a good idea to defrost the freezer. This will ensure that it is working efficiently and that you haven’t lost any of that valuable space due to ‘icing-up’.
Defrosting your freezer is straight-forward but you you’ll need a large bowl and a few towels to soak up the melted ice. Empty the freezer completely and store food in an insulated cool bag.
You should then switch off the freezer, placing the bowl at the bottom of the freezer to catch drips, and the towels directly at the front to soak up any water that runs out. Leaving the door open will speed up the process while a purpose-designed ice scraper can be used to remove large chunks of ice once it has started to loosen.
Step 2: Check your cooker is up to the job
Your cooker is going to be in constant demand so you’ll want to make sure there are no signs of potential problems.
Don’t let a faulty oven spoil the turkey…
In order to get the best results in the kitchen you need your oven to maintain a consistent temperature. If heat escapes from the oven while in use it can lead to uneven cooking and can be a real challenge for keen bakers.
A major cause of heat escaping is a faulty cooker door gasket. The oven door gasket should form a tight seal between the door and the body of the oven. If the seal is loose or damaged it allows heat to escape which leads to improperly cooked meals and higher utility bills. If your oven door gasket is loose then it may be possible to tighten it up, however if this still fails to provide a secure seal then it is best to replace the gasket.
Just like the oven door gasket, it is important that the oven door lines up correctly to provide a tight seal. The oven door should shut tightly to keep heat locked in and maintain a consistent temperature.
A poor fitting door is usually a sign that the oven hinges have broken or bent out of shape. It is possible to purchase replacement door hinges. These are fairly inexpensive and quite straight-forward to fit, so as long as you have a good basic grasp of DIY you shouldn’t have any problems.
Kitchen essentials for a perfectly cooked bird…
The festive period is always very enjoyable, but it can be hectic and most of us could do with a few shortcuts or time-savers when it comes to preparing the Christmas dinner or food for a festive soiree. There are a few gadgets and ‘tried and tested’ essentials that might help you out over Christmas including heavy-duty turkey roasting pans, meat thermometers, gravy separators and electric carving knives.
Step 3: Tackle the dishwasher
You don’t want to spend Christmas evening washing up, so it’s a good idea to check the dishwasher is working properly. There a few things to be aware of:
Empty the filters…
The filters are located at the very bottom of the dishwasher and they can easily become clogged up with bits of food, which is why it is important to scrape dishes properly before loading the dishwasher. Clogged up filters can stop the dishwasher draining properly and can leave dishes dirty especially in the lower racks.
Fortunately, dishwasher filters are easy to clean. Check the filter for large debris, being especially careful of any broken bits of glass. Once clear, carefully lift out the filter and clean thoroughly with warm soapy water.
Tackle grease and prevent Limescale…
It is just as important to clean the parts of a dishwasher you can’t see as it is the parts you can. Limescale can coat the internal parts of you dishwasher making the less efficient and if left untreated can even cause some parts to fail. On the other hand, a build-up of grease can lead to your dishwasher developing an unpleasant whiff. Using a good-quality descaler and degreaser regularly can help prevent faults occurring and stop you getting caught out by a faulty dishwasher at the worst possible time!
Beware of overloading…
You’re sure to have a lot of washing up after the Christmas day feast but it is important to load the dishwasher correctly or you risk causing unnecessary problems. . It is preferable to place the largest, most soiled items towards the bottom and the more fragile items such as glasses and cups in the top rack. Make sure that the spray arm is not obstructed and place all items with the most soiled side facing the water source.
Don’t get tempted to cram everything into one load as too much weight can cause the basket wheels on the dishwasher racks to break! As a rough guide always ensure there is enough room for water to rinse all surfaces.