Summer Dining Made Easy
Many will say the best meals of the summer are prepared around the 4th of July weekend celebrations. It's when family and friends get together to prepare an outstanding meal for each other. Foodies are not just stuck outside grilling and smoking ribs, they are also inside heating up things in the insta-pot, air-fryer, crock pot, on the stove and inside the oven. No matter what you're cooking up, it all requires a cleanup before, during, and after the party.
Many different challenges occur when cooking outdoors for large numbers of people. Guests must pay special attention to protecting food from insects, critters, and pets, preventing food safety hazards, spills, and everyone must be mindful of COVID-19 safe-social distancing practices.
We have compiled a few helpful tips to keep things organized, helping to speed up cleaning chores before, during, and after the celebration.
Preparation Before Hand
- Start with a clean slate. Soak or run all your cooking utensils, trays, serving platters, table cloths, and cleaning cloths through the washer or dishwasher, primarily if they haven't been used in quite some time.
- Assign one food preparation utensil for each dish your preparing.
- Clearly labeled containers and sort your forks, knives, and spoons. Be sure to turn the handles upside, so when guests grab a knife, they aren't touching the blade or the fork spikes that will enter someone else's mouth. Choose a napkin holder that keeps them locked down, so they don't blow away in the wind.
- Line all your platters with foil, it will make the clean up faster.
- Invest in condiment bottles to serve all sauces and keep them stashed in a bucket of ice, so they stay fresh. Refill from the larger bottle when necessary; otherwise, keep the excess bottles stored inside a cooler or refrigerator.
- Post a sign at the front door reminding guests to wash their hands as soon as they arrive.
- Best places to keep hand sanitizer are the table for picking up plates, utensils, napkins, and the front door.
- Make a wash bucket for cleaning counters and surfaces like benches, tables, and countertops.
- Make a soak bucket for dropping dirty dishes into when guests are done with their meal. Label each bucket, so guests aren't guessing where to place dirty plates, silverware, and cups.
- Remind guests ahead of time and explain your recycling efforts. Set aside clear designated food and trash dumping stations not far from your recycle bins.
- Place 3 or 4 extra clean bags at the bottom of the trash bin so that when one bag is full, the next one is already sitting at the bottom of the container and ready for use.
- Consider taping or tacking down tablecloths, so they don't fly away in a gust of wind and possibly spilling food or beverages.
- Encourage guests to write their name on their cup or a wine tag using a sharpie to prevent wasteful habits or having to toss drinks because your not sure who is drinking from it.
- Make a wash bucket and have a spray bottle filled with plain water ready to rinse surfaces. Keep plenty of microfiber cloths on hand for both washing and drying surfaces.
Tidy Up During The Party
- Keep a concentrated mixture of Powerizer handy to immediately pretreat stains from spills or drips. Powerizer can be used to remove stains from table cloths, furniture, rugs, or garments. The stain removing ingredients in Powerizer stays active for up to 8 hours.
- Customarily in a restaurant, a sanitize bucket must be replaced every 2 to 4 hours. Powerizer has not been tested as a Disinfectant or a Sanitizer. However, it does contain Sodium Percarbonate, a powerful ingredient that converts to Hydrogen Peroxide when mixed with water. The CDC recommends it as a safer choice non-toxic choice for killing the corona virus and other bacteria.
- Allow your cleaning rags to sit in the Powerizer soak buckets when you're not using them. The best tool for cleaning surfaces is a Split-Fiber Microfiber Cloth. When dry, a split-fiber Microfiber cloth is capable of absorbing up to seven times more liquid than its dry weight. For scrubbing surfaces, use the cloth damp. For dusting, use it dry. It's split-fibers have tiny pockets that trap in the dust, debris, bacteria, and viruses until they are rinsed clean.
- When cleaning with Powerizer Complete, you must always remember to rinse the surface to remove residues. Also, to polish stainless steel surfaces, start with a clean rag and mist the surface with minimal water to buff away fingerprints, water spots, and detergent residues.
Clean Up After the Party
- Hopefully, all those pans lined with foil are an easy cleanup, and the foil is tossed in the recycle bin by now. If not, sprinkle the powder or add a concentrated solution of Powerizer to your pots and pans, grille, oven, smoker, insta-pot, crockpot, or whatever else you dirtied. Add just enough hot water to cover the surface then give the detergent a little time to penetrate your food messes. Trust us, it will speed up the clean process tremendously.
- Powerizer works fast to dissolve starch, proteins, and grease. During and after the party, coach your guest to place dirty plates, cups, and utensils in the soak containers filled with Powerizer. When it's time to wash them, most food will have dissolved in the water. All you have to do is simply wipe them down with a microfiber cloth, rinse them under the faucet and dry them using a dry split-fiber microfiber cloth. If you're not feeling the handwashing routine, simply stack them in the dishwasher, with 3/4 scoop of Powerizer. If crumbs, drinks, or grease spills accumulate on the cement, pretreat the stains with Powerizer, add a little elbow grease and rinse the stains with water from the garden hose.
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Check out these other Blogs with helpful information that expand on more summer dining clean up duties.