The holiday season keeps quickly approaching, and appliances play a huge role in our holiday dinner. They can make or break a successful feast. Avoid a potential disaster by learning a a few key holiday appliance tips.
DON’T SELF-CLEAN YOUR OVEN BEFORE HOLIDAY DINNER!
Appliance repair service companies (like us) are inundated with service calls the Tuesday or Wednesday before Thanksgiving every year. Why? Malfunctions from customers self-cleaning their ovens for the first time in a long time – or ever. If an oven’s self-cleaning feature hasn’t run at least once every 6 months, it could damage once you activate the self cleaning.
Fixing or replacing your oven the day before Thanksgiving or Christmas certainly hinders your dinner plans. While it’s certainly a good idea to clean your oven before the big day, do it in October, while there’s plenty of time to make any necessary repairs.
The same goes for chemical oven cleaners. These usually leave a chemical residue, which can take many oven cycles to properly burn off. You certainly do not want to feed the family a Thanksgiving dinner with a little flavor of oven cleaner.
If you haven’t cleaned your oven by now, we recommend removing all burnt food residue, then wiping down the oven’s interior with a damp cotton cloth.
BE GOOD TO YOUR DISHWASHER
Your dishwasher is your post-dinner workhorse, so treat it kindly by doing a few things:
- Using the proper amount of soap – too much doesn’t get dishes cleaner, but bogs down the machine with excess suds.
- Scrape off all food scraps – you don’t need these clotting jet streams.
- Do not over-rinse plates – enzymes in dishwasher detergent need some food residue present to activate.
Bonus Tip: if you want your dishware to get an extra hot, sanitizing wash, run the hot water in the sink closest to the dishwasher before activating it. This will make sure your dishwasher’s water is as hot as possible.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO USE YOUR OVEN’S CONVECTION SETTINGS
Many people own a convection oven, but never use the convection settings because they never learned. Convection heat makes food cook faster, more evenly, and with better browning – which is perfect for roasting a turkey, baking pies, etc. Using convection requires a few changes.
- Most appliance manufacturers recommend either lowering the temperature by 25-30 degrees Farenheit, or by cutting down the baking time by 25%.
- For smaller pastries, like cookies, you should reduce the time less – by 10-15%.
- For larger roasts, like stuffed turkeys, you should reduce the time more – by 30% or so.
If you have convection but haven’t used it, take out your owner’s manual and learn about your oven’s proper settings. We recommend testing it out on one or two dishes before you attempt the Big Holiday Dinner.
ORGANIZE YOUR REFRIGERATOR STRATEGICALLY & STORE LEFTOVERS PROPERLY
A variety of reusable containers and a clean, tidy refrigerator helps after-dinner leftover storage. Keep these tips in mind too while loading your refrigerator.
- More food means airflow will be more limited.
- Foods that can freeze should go closer to the back of the refrigerator, where the cold air duct is located.
- Foods that shouldn’t freeze should go closer to the door, where the air will be warmer.
EMPTY OUT OLD ICE, THEN MAKE AND STORE ICE AHEAD OF TIME
Unless you have a separate ice machine (which we recommend if quality ice is important to you – but that’s another topic), you might find yourself quickly running out of ice at holiday dinner.
Just as importantly, the ice in your refrigerator’s ice maker becomes polluted with flavors from all the food in both the freezer and refrigerator (unless your refrigerator and freezer have separate climate controls). As air moves around both compartments. Water sublimates from the ice cubes, leaving behind concentrated impurities, resulting in smelly, chalky, shrunken ice cubes.
Avoid gross ice and running out of ice by following these tips a few days ahead of time:
- Completely empty out your ice compartment. Allow it to refill with fresh ice.
- Empty all the fresh ice into sealed plastic bags. Then store the sealed ice (now protected from circulating air) on a freezer shelf.
- Rinse and repeat step 2 as many times as you feel is necessary!