To me, the word ‘monsoon’ brings the image of light drizzles and a steaming cup of tea, but that’s not all there is to this season. Unfortunately, this is the same time that your home and surroundings require extra care, and protection from foul smells and dirt.
The kitchen is one of the most germ-filled rooms in the whole house. Those germs and roaches can provoke a variety of illnesses, like the flu and food poisoning. So thorough cleaning is crucial for your family’s health. Monsoon is here and it’s time to beat the kitchen blues with some easy tips.
Here are some quick kitchen hacks to save your favourite things from being damaged during monsoon:
- Glass to the rescue: One thing to always remember is that the rainy season and plastic are not the best of friends. And two ingredients that just don’t get along in the monsoons are sugar and salt. So, if you have been storing your sugar and salt in plastic containers, it is time to ditch that. Sugar and salt attract moisture instantly and turn damp. It’s time to transfer them into glass, airtight containers, and make sure to never leave the lid open.
Throw in some raw rice in the bottle so it can absorb the excess moisture. Store your cookies, biscuits, and snacks like wafers too in airtight glass jars. Dry fruits and nuts can get spoiled or get attacked by bugs during monsoon. Store them in a zip lock bag and put them in the freezer.
Add a few pieces of camphor or a few neem leaves to the container of rice before you store them to prevent them from getting attacked by bugs. Coconut oil often clots during winter and monsoon. Avoid this by adding a few drops of mustard oil to the container where you store the coconut oil.
- Store spices the right way: Spices are prone to fungal growth during the monsoons. In the rainy season, instead of powdered spices, standing spices should be used. These spices do not spoil quickly, at the same time, powdered spices get spoiled quickly in the rainy season. Therefore, you can make powder of spices according to you and use it. Never use a wet spoon to take out the spices from the containers. To prevent the standing spices from getting spoiled, roast them lightly. Put it in a pan or tawa and cook it on low flame. Let the pan heat up and add spices and stir till it becomes slightly hot. With these kitchen hacks, the spices do not get insects and their taste and colour are also not lost.
Spices and condiments like pepper, cinnamon, bay leaf, etc. can lose their flavour during the monsoons. Sun-dry them before storing in a jar to prevent them from spoiling. Spices often turn soggy due to the humidity during monsoons. Add a little salt to your spice jar before storing as sodium chloride helps absorb moisture.
- Vinegar your way out: Vinegar is the arch-nemesis of fungi. To avoid your fruits and vegetables from becoming a hotspot for fungus, wash them with vinegar. Rinse your veggies thoroughly under tap water and then take a bowl full of water and add two tablespoons of vinegar to it. Soak your fruits and vegetables in this solution for ¾ minutes and then, rinse again. Pat dry them and store in the fridge or your fruit basket.
- Get rid of old food: Monsoon is not the time when you should be cooking anything to excess. Fungus is most active during the rainy season, and can easily contaminate the leftover food in the fridge. Thus, the lesser the leftovers, the better it is. Perishable food items such as bread should also be bought in smaller quantities, so you do not store them for longer periods. Should you need to store bread for later, refrigerate it after wrapping.
- Take Care Of Your Vegetables: Vegetables are one of the easiest perishable foods. While veggies such as eggplants, cucumber, green onions, and ladyfinger - should be purchased fresh and must be consumed as soon as possible. If you still wish to store these veggies, do so in a plastic bag or cloth towel, as it keeps the freshness intact. Staple veggies like potatoes and onions should be kept in a dry, cool place, and never in the fridge as it can take away the flavour of the vegetables. Potatoes and onions get spoiled faster as both of them release moisture and gas so it’s best to store them separately. To make potatoes last for a longer time, store them in a paper bag.
- Ward off flies: Moist surfaces and floors are unsaid invitations to seasonal insects and pests. Cockroaches are a particular annoyance in our kitchens in the damp and humid months of monsoon. The KAALA HIT has become a classic roach killer in every household. Apply to deep corners, cracks and crevices when cleaning the kitchen on a monthly basis. Pesky flies can really irritate you. To ward them off, cut a lemon in two and keep it on the window, put it on the door, or on the windows. Cloves too can keep the flies away.
- Maintain hygiene: Clean the kitchen appliances that you frequently use such as refrigerator and oven once a week during monsoon. Most importantly, get rid of the expired food items from the kitchen. Clean your kitchen’s floor and cabinets every day to prevent moisture from accumulating which can be a breeding ground for bacteria. Also, make sure you use disinfectants while you’re at it.
- Ensure sufficient ventilation: One of the good kitchen hacks to get rid of monsoon moisture which can make everything sticky and unhygienic is to ensure proper ventilation in your kitchen. During daytime, open the windows and allow fresh air. If opening the windows is not feasible for you, then you can use a kitchen chimney to prevent kitchen surfaces such as countertops and upper cabinets from getting moist.
- Secure electrical connection: Humidity during monsoons can have a damaging effect on your kitchen’s electrical connection which, in turn, can damage your kitchen appliances. Check and make sure that the electrical connections are secure and properly installed.
Lastly, clean and dry surroundings greatly reduce the occurrence of fungus. Cleaning your kitchen regularly is one way to go about these kitchen hacks if you don't want to deal with mould. We hope you’ve noted these kitchen hacks and are going to apply them soon in your kitchen to avoid a sticky situation this monsoon.