5

votes

Any tricks to reduce washing up?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 23, 2013 at 3:48 AM

I've switched to paleo/primal type eating (and my partner has somewhat). Now that we are cooking everything from scratch there is so much washing up. As I have constant fatigue I have trouble keeping up. I do like to do a big cook up on the weekend so I have enough food for the week. However, I figure I need all my nutrients (am recovering from long term illness) so rather than bunging things in the microwave I have to transfer food to a pot or pan to reheat. It just seems I can't find a way to not end up with a stack of pots and pans at the end of the day that we're both too tired to wash up.

I'm cooking some bone broth for the first time today - hoping to have 1 cup morning and night each day (hoping to help mend osteopenic bones). I've been toying with ideas like a coffee-warmer - wondering if I could pour a mug of bone broth and heat it sufficiently on that. Or, I've also thought of getting a stovetop sauce pot and rather than washing between each use storing it in the fridge (uncleaned) between uses and washing it at the end of the week.

I know this sounds lazy but the more tired I am the harder it gets to eat well and I skip too many meals due to being overwhelmed with the cleaning up.

So, just hoping others have developed some short cuts to share and would appreciate thoughts on my ideas above. Thanks!

D5d982a898721d3392c85f951d0bf0aa

(2417)

on January 28, 2013
at 04:36 AM

Justin, have you ever tried the kosher salt technique? Let's say you cooked a steak. While the pan is still hot, maybe run it under the faucet for a moment to sizzle off excess debris or wipe it with a paper towel or rag. Pour in a handful of kosher salt. Use rag or paper towel to scour the pan. I usually do this while the pan is still warm. Rinse out or thoroughly wipe out the now scuzzy brown salt and either wipe the pan dry or put it back on a burner for a moment. You're building up a nice surface over time. I find the gunk comes off easier when the pan is still warm.

705e66484ed64fe8e188123de398413e

(1013)

on January 28, 2013
at 01:48 AM

I must be doing it wrong because my cast iron never really seems clean. I'd rather scrub my stainless steel skillet then go through the odd cast iron cleaning process.

1f711e2d8bb0a91c5f64f5db04aba01c

(40)

on January 26, 2013
at 01:51 AM

Don't think I'll ever see dishes as an opportunity for meditation - even when all I'm doing is trying to meditate my pain issues trample all over my efforts. (It works for me with yardwork though - warms up my muscles, helps my pain, makes me feel meditative). You raise a good point about heating food too slowly - so will avoid the coffee warmer. I really like that idea with the gelatin cube- maybe could just pour boiling water over a cube and make it up like a cup of coffee. Will have to experiment - my first bone broth attempt has been a bit dismal but will try a chicken broth this week.

1f711e2d8bb0a91c5f64f5db04aba01c

(40)

on January 26, 2013
at 01:45 AM

We do try to avoid excess waste but actually that's not a bad idea for those few times of year where it all gets really out of hand - like when I'm doing exams and other half is doing heaps of overtime. I can see that sometimes it could be justified just to get around the hygiene issues. I can't see us using it as a long term fix though.

1f711e2d8bb0a91c5f64f5db04aba01c

(40)

on January 26, 2013
at 01:44 AM

No dishwasher sadly :(

1f711e2d8bb0a91c5f64f5db04aba01c

(40)

on January 26, 2013
at 01:42 AM

We mainly avoid this due to water restrictions and preferring to only fill the sink once for the day.

1f711e2d8bb0a91c5f64f5db04aba01c

(40)

on January 26, 2013
at 01:41 AM

We're using all stainless steel cookware (made the change over from teflon coated a while ago). I'm not familiar with the benefits of cast-iron - I'll have to read up on it.

1f711e2d8bb0a91c5f64f5db04aba01c

(40)

on January 26, 2013
at 01:38 AM

I don't have a dishwasher - it would really make a huge difference if I did. (I rent and can't afford the prices of places that have luxuries like dishwashers). I know what you mean about some items being awkward to wash - those are the ones that sit out on the bench for 2 days whilst we wash up around them. It's a really good point - think I'll start purging those ones. I love the spray bottle idea too - as someone else mentioned in another reply its easier if you wash as you go but not really viable whilst you're on water restrictions but the spray bottle would be very water wise.

1f711e2d8bb0a91c5f64f5db04aba01c

(40)

on January 26, 2013
at 01:35 AM

Sounds like a great trick but I don't have a dog :(

1f711e2d8bb0a91c5f64f5db04aba01c

(40)

on January 26, 2013
at 01:34 AM

Fonda, what sort of climate do you live in? I'ts often close to 40 degrees C here in summer and have been raised to believe that all food substances spoil easily in this heat if left out at room temperature. Nemesis, I like that idea but have avoided it so far for fears of aluminium leaching into the food during cooking. Does anyone have thoughts on whether that's a valid fear?

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on January 24, 2013
at 12:15 PM

OP asked for tips to make cleanup easier, s/he didn't specify whether those tips needed to be ecologically responsible. YMMV

705e66484ed64fe8e188123de398413e

(1013)

on January 24, 2013
at 03:39 AM

Not only is this amount of avoidable waste Not Paleo, it's downright irresponsible.

9beda76f4e91faedc8fa70ecdc01251e

(298)

on January 23, 2013
at 03:17 PM

I second the cast iron--just use a scrubby brush, or I've heard, scrub with salt.

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on January 23, 2013
at 02:27 PM

Line your baking pans and casserole dishes with aluminum foil, so that food doesn't get burned onto the glass/metal. If you use the heavy duty stuff, most of the time all you don't even have to rinse out the pan!

75bf87379aa119821e3f6f4115f1145a

(224)

on January 23, 2013
at 01:33 PM

Awesome, thanks for confirming. I'll be savi g a good amount of fat , water, and time - 3 of my favorite things :)

3fe2bf1367970868757ddf7ed7c62531

(817)

on January 23, 2013
at 07:57 AM

I only wash mine if I have cooked fish in them. All other meats I uses the same pan over and over. I think the fat adds flavour. I probably do a wash/rinse 1x a week.. or if we have company since that seems to freak people out.

75bf87379aa119821e3f6f4115f1145a

(224)

on January 23, 2013
at 04:21 AM

Good question! I've wondered about whether pots/pans which are coated with beef/lamb fat can be placed in the fridge and used for cooking later on that same day?

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7 Answers

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6
D5d982a898721d3392c85f951d0bf0aa

(2417)

on January 23, 2013
at 05:25 AM

Another fan of cast iron. While it's still hot, wipe it out. It doesn't have to be scrubbed with soap (and shouldn't be).

Get rid of things that are just awkward to wash. If you have a dishwasher, purge the weird mugs/bowls that don't fit well and clean well. Ditch the plastic that holds onto grease (and isn't healthy anyhow). I started handwashing more stuff in a "clean as you go" way, and all the sudden I saw my dishes and bowls and such in a new light. Some items are almost a pleasure to quickly swipe and rinse. Those, I keep! The rest goes to Goodwill.

I also make my life a bit easier by putting my detergent (Dr Bronner's Sal Suds) into a spray bottle, diluted. Quick spritz is faster and a lot more cost efficient than sloshing detergent into a lot of water.

1f711e2d8bb0a91c5f64f5db04aba01c

(40)

on January 26, 2013
at 01:38 AM

I don't have a dishwasher - it would really make a huge difference if I did. (I rent and can't afford the prices of places that have luxuries like dishwashers). I know what you mean about some items being awkward to wash - those are the ones that sit out on the bench for 2 days whilst we wash up around them. It's a really good point - think I'll start purging those ones. I love the spray bottle idea too - as someone else mentioned in another reply its easier if you wash as you go but not really viable whilst you're on water restrictions but the spray bottle would be very water wise.

705e66484ed64fe8e188123de398413e

(1013)

on January 28, 2013
at 01:48 AM

I must be doing it wrong because my cast iron never really seems clean. I'd rather scrub my stainless steel skillet then go through the odd cast iron cleaning process.

D5d982a898721d3392c85f951d0bf0aa

(2417)

on January 28, 2013
at 04:36 AM

Justin, have you ever tried the kosher salt technique? Let's say you cooked a steak. While the pan is still hot, maybe run it under the faucet for a moment to sizzle off excess debris or wipe it with a paper towel or rag. Pour in a handful of kosher salt. Use rag or paper towel to scour the pan. I usually do this while the pan is still warm. Rinse out or thoroughly wipe out the now scuzzy brown salt and either wipe the pan dry or put it back on a burner for a moment. You're building up a nice surface over time. I find the gunk comes off easier when the pan is still warm.

5
Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on January 23, 2013
at 03:51 AM

Get a dog.

Ours does the pre-wash & makes cleaning up a breeze!

1f711e2d8bb0a91c5f64f5db04aba01c

(40)

on January 26, 2013
at 01:35 AM

Sounds like a great trick but I don't have a dog :(

2
61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on January 23, 2013
at 05:06 AM

Clean as you go. Do not pile dishes in the sink for later. It's much easier to clean a freshly used pot than one that has dried. I also keep baking soda and steel wool on hand to make quick work of problem spots.

1f711e2d8bb0a91c5f64f5db04aba01c

(40)

on January 26, 2013
at 01:42 AM

We mainly avoid this due to water restrictions and preferring to only fill the sink once for the day.

2
78fcdeee6ac4ee7d071bbac56b9e359f

(1035)

on January 23, 2013
at 04:44 AM

I'm camping full-time this winter in Tucson and cooking for myself and 2 kids. Doing dishes is an even bigger PITA than normal, so my secrets are as follows.

For stainless steel cookware/all other dishes: paper towels. I used to be totally against paper products, and I only used cloth cleaning wipes in my house. That was when I had running water and a washing machine. Paper towels are amazing for saving water, and if you can get to your dishes before the food dries, it's that much easier.

Cast-iron: I've found cast-iron really requires no cleaning. Just scrape with a spatula when you're done cooking. Wipe with a fatty paper towel as needed.

9beda76f4e91faedc8fa70ecdc01251e

(298)

on January 23, 2013
at 03:17 PM

I second the cast iron--just use a scrubby brush, or I've heard, scrub with salt.

1f711e2d8bb0a91c5f64f5db04aba01c

(40)

on January 26, 2013
at 01:41 AM

We're using all stainless steel cookware (made the change over from teflon coated a while ago). I'm not familiar with the benefits of cast-iron - I'll have to read up on it.

0
705e66484ed64fe8e188123de398413e

on January 24, 2013
at 03:51 AM

I always struggle with keep meals and dishes down too.
It sounds like you're on the right path with setting aside weekend time for weekly food prep. As you continue you will find ways to make cooking more dish efficient.

Perhaps a change in mindset is necessary. Dishes are not a chore but an opportunity for meditation!

The slow-cooker also helps with making high serving output meals that can last for many meals.

I've been toying with ideas like a coffee-warmer - wondering if I could pour a mug of bone broth and heat it sufficiently on that.

I've also thought of getting a stovetop sauce pot and rather than washing between each use storing it in the fridge (uncleaned) between uses and washing it at the end of the week.

Be careful of food safety issues when food stays too long at room temperature while it's either eating up or cooling down. I think that danger zone is between 46F and 145F.

One specific broth shortcut is to keep it in small enough containers so that you can heat one meals worth at a time. Another is to reduce the broth down into a gelatin cube that can be stored at room temperature and then add water when reheating.

1f711e2d8bb0a91c5f64f5db04aba01c

(40)

on January 26, 2013
at 01:51 AM

Don't think I'll ever see dishes as an opportunity for meditation - even when all I'm doing is trying to meditate my pain issues trample all over my efforts. (It works for me with yardwork though - warms up my muscles, helps my pain, makes me feel meditative). You raise a good point about heating food too slowly - so will avoid the coffee warmer. I really like that idea with the gelatin cube- maybe could just pour boiling water over a cube and make it up like a cup of coffee. Will have to experiment - my first bone broth attempt has been a bit dismal but will try a chicken broth this week.

0
1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on January 23, 2013
at 02:30 PM

If possible, cook more food on your grill. Use disposable bamboo skewers. Eat on paper plates. We're super lazy (well, I am at least lol) so we use plastic cups, cutlery and paper plates unless we're having a fancy dinner.

The waste it generates isn't very Paleo, but it's better than having dishes piling up in the sink growing god-knows-what strain of moldy scum.

705e66484ed64fe8e188123de398413e

(1013)

on January 24, 2013
at 03:39 AM

Not only is this amount of avoidable waste Not Paleo, it's downright irresponsible.

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on January 24, 2013
at 12:15 PM

OP asked for tips to make cleanup easier, s/he didn't specify whether those tips needed to be ecologically responsible. YMMV

1f711e2d8bb0a91c5f64f5db04aba01c

(40)

on January 26, 2013
at 01:45 AM

We do try to avoid excess waste but actually that's not a bad idea for those few times of year where it all gets really out of hand - like when I'm doing exams and other half is doing heaps of overtime. I can see that sometimes it could be justified just to get around the hygiene issues. I can't see us using it as a long term fix though.

0
089dd41b18fbb95ebb5347cded708d98

(5635)

on January 23, 2013
at 04:25 AM

btruck, i have the same problem. just too tired to do dishes most of the time. luckily, my stepdad has OCD and hates seeing anything dirty (anywhere) so he gets fed up and does them. on days that i feel up to it, i do them, but i don't stress about it.

do you have a dishwasher?

1f711e2d8bb0a91c5f64f5db04aba01c

(40)

on January 26, 2013
at 01:44 AM

No dishwasher sadly :(

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