Something you will find in almost every kitchen – well-equipped or not — is a kitchen towel or two. In my case, there are too many to count! I have a whole drawer of them as I rarely toss them, keeping the older and rattier ones for certain messier jobs like some of those listed further down and my nicer ones to display. But, kitchen towels aren’t just for clean-up time – they are a great little sidekick to making your meal prep easier and a lot tastier, too. Come check out these simple tricks to do just that and a bit of advice on how to best care for them as well to prevent spreading unwanted illness at your house!
10 GREAT USES FOR KITCHEN DISH TOWELS
Get skillful with those humble towels and try some of these tricks to make your meal prep easier as well as tastier:
1. Don’t water it down.
Make those zucchini or potato pancakes or those yummy spinach pies your best! Wring out excess water from those veggies and here is how: place your shredded potatoes or zucchini or cooked greens in the center of the kitchen towel and roll up and twist each end in opposite directions over your sink. Squeeze out excess water that could ruin the taste and texture of your dish.
2. Stop the slide.
Place a towel under your cutting board to keep it from sliding around and the knife from cutting the wrong thing . . . like your finger!
3. Make your salad much crisper.
Place your just-washed greens in a towel and store in the fridge until dinnertime. They’ll turn extra-crunchy as they dry.
Don’t miss this: A lot of great healthy salad choices to create tonight.
4. Get a better whip.
Whip the towel around in the air to form a snake and wrap it around the bottom of your mixing bowl to keep it from rocking around when whisking is called for in your recipe such as in a salad dressing, cream, etc.
5. Make your best pot of rice.
Cooking grains ahead a bit? Off the heat, drape a dish taut over the pot of cooked grains and put the lid back on. The towel will absorb the excess moisture that can form so that your rice or other grain does not get gummy or watery.
6. Serve it warm.
Wrap your fresh baked bread or tortillas in a towel to keep it warm at serving time.
7. Add a nice touch.
Wrap a gift (cooking related, of course) in a new kitchen towel tied with a pretty ribbon.
8. Get the most rise.
Drape a towel over a bowl of rising bread dough.
9. Cook like the pros and make clean-up faster.
Ever notice chefs clean-up their prep boards as they go? And did you note they were using kitchen towels to do just that? Every time you finish a task on your cutting board, wipe away with a slightly damp towel all the crumbs so that you are ready for the next task. Same goes for your knife – using a towel folded several times to wipe the blade. Carefully, please! This is not a good idea with any contaminants such as meat or poultry or fish, etc. That requires a clean cutting board and disposable towels.
Don’t miss this: Here are 21 other great tips for making kitchen clean-up go a whole lot faster so that you can spend time doing more fun things.
10. Presentation counts.
Kitchen towels that are in better shape are great to line a breakfast tray or use as napkins for an outdoor messy barbecue or casual party.
11. Make dry-time effective.
Can’t forget drying all those dishes you created, of course! But, don’t forget to throw the towel in your washer after the task right away. See more about why you’ll be glad you did below!
HOW TO CARE FOR KITCHEN TOWELS TO AVOID GETTING SICK
As shown by their many uses above, kitchen towels — great! The bacteria they can harbor — not so much! Of all the towels we use each day, the kitchen towels should get the most careful care. Dirty kitchen towels, studies like this show, harbor lots of harmful bacteria you do not want to ingest. Here are some guidelines and easy solutions to keeping those useful towels from harming you:
1. Change daily.
The answer is simple: after use, throw your towels in the laundry pile and reach for a new one. Put out fresh towels each day.
Don’t miss this: How to do your laundry toxin-free.
2. Buy in bulk.
All that towel changing requires a lot of towels and can get expensive so, if you like, keep your decorative or fancy towels for looks, but the workhorse kitchen towels that actually dry your hands and help you cook can be purchased inexpensively in bulk. That is why I rarely throw one away. I keep my older ones for cooking tasks that I use frequently and take out a fresh from my pile of clean towels to prepare the meal I am working on.
Don’t miss this: Buy a bunch of towels through the mail or at your local warehouse store for an inexpensive solution to having a clean towel ready at all times.
3. Separate tasks.
Keep the towels you use to wash your hands separate from a towel you use for a cooking task. A lot of bacteria can be transposed from your hands to the towel and you don’t want to, in turn, transpose that onto your food and into you! Perhaps different towel locations in the kitchen or various colors or patterns could help differentiate the uses.
4. Reach for another tool.
Use a sponge or paper towel to clean your sink as the kitchen sink is one of the germiest spots in the kitchen. And, while we are speaking of sponges, after use, sponges should either go right into the top rack of the dishwasher or get zapped in the microwave to kill harmful bacteria.
Use disposable towels for meat, poultry and fish residue. The risk is just too great for salmonella or other harmful bacteria exposure and you don’t want to spread that in your washing machine either.
If you use harsh cleaning products to clean your kitchen, use disposable options as well as you do not want to inject cleaning chemicals as well into your food or you.
Don’t miss this: Think about non-toxic ways to clean your kitchen like these, too.