For many of us, our desire to spend time in the kitchen shrinks exponentially over the summer when we have less time to shop in peace and zero desire to prepare meals over a hot stove.
To make life easier all round for the summer, check out our list of 10 things that will help make your kitchen summer-friendly for hungry kids, easy dinners, lots of visitors, and impromptu guests.
1. De-clutter your worktops
Clear away clutter from your countertops. Get rid of mail and bills lying around, and put important papers away. You don't want to have any type of paperwork lying around while your kitchen is a flurry of activity. Make sure all your surfaces —splashback, counters and floors — are sparkling clean, because parties often gravitate into the kitchen.
2. Make room for treats in the freezer
Empty your freezer and defrost it fully to melt any icy build-up. Do an audit of what’s in there and chuck out anything that’s been there for over a year (less for leftovers, ground meats and chicken). With the extra freezer capacity, you can stock up on ice blocks, ready-to-thaw burgers and other treats for the kids and their friends.
3. Prep fruits and veggies for easy snacking
It takes a bit of organising, but you can save yourself a lot of hassle by washing, drying and cutting fruit and vegetables once you bring them home from the shop and putting them in plastic containers in the fridge. Great for when the kids say they are hungry and to have at hand for when guests come around too. Mix a fresh smoothie or add some fruit to a jug of something cold in no time!
4. Refresh your spices!
You can’t make tasty dishes with stale spices! Be sure to check the best-by dates on all spices you plan to use. When in doubt, throw out all spices over a year old as well as any that don’t have an obvious aroma when opened. Make sure you have condiments, marinades and spice rubs to enhance grilled summer dishes.
5. Stock up on ice
There is nothing worse than running out of ice at parties, or when you are trying to make some super cool drinks or smoothies. Buy extra ice cubes or empty some ice cube trays into a plastic bag to store in the freezer before filling the trays up again. If you have room, a small extra freezer in the shed or garage will be a great asset for storing extra ice too.
6. Freshen your airflow
Ensure you enjoy a cool summer – not to mention a lower energy output – with a few simple air-flow updates. Turn ceiling fans to counter-clockwise (the blades are tilted upward as they spin) to push air downward and create a stronger draft. Replace your air conditioner filter or make sure that sticky window frame is fixed.
7. Invite the summer in
Kitchen interiors can be made summery with sun-kissed windows that have sparkling-clean glass and fresh, breezy window treatments. Thoroughly clean your windows – inside and out. Then decide if you need some new blinds or opt for a sheer drape or a café curtain to make the most of the long hours of daylight.
8. Plant some herbs
If you like to use lots of herbs during the summer, whether in marinades, salads, pesto, potato salad, or pasta salad, you will save a lot of money (and trips to the shops) if you grow your own herbs. Most herbs will thrive in pots outside on the porch or even indoors on a windowsill, and they help your kitchen smell great, too.
9. Stock up on standbys
When the weather is good and you spend a lot of time outdoors, heavy meals are less attractive and you probably want to spend as little time cooking as possible. Make sure you are prepared with some quick and easy foods in your pantry and freezer, like chopped chicken, mince, pasta, burger buns, or wraps so you can quickly whip up something tasty and nutritious.
10. Ban indoor cooking!
When the weather allows, move the dining experience outdoors and use the BBQ instead of the stove! Add some salads and jacket potatoes and enjoy your dinner in the garden or on the patio. Use lightweight outdoor tableware so the kids can help you to get everything ready. Not only will the food taste great outdoors, but your kitchen will stay clean too!
For a stunning collection of summer-inspired cookware, tableware, serving ware, appliances and other kitchen essentials, browse the kitchen and dining range at Spotlight and create the kitchen you have always dreamed of this summer.