While it’s not even Halloween yet, many of you may already be pre-planning your holiday to-do list. If your to-do list involves hosting a feast, do yourself a favor and self-clean your oven now – don’t wait until the week of Thanksgiving or Christmas.
Without fail, service departments like ours get frantic calls right before a holiday every year from customers whose oven isn’t working properly as a result of the self-clean feature. If you don’t self-clean regularly (about every 6 months or so), your oven may be susceptible to needing repairs once you finally activate the self-cleaning feature. If repairs are needed, they are much easier to correct or order parts for now, than the week of or day before the holiday.
When self-cleaning an oven, always read and follow the instructions in the Use & Care Guide. Even if you have a new oven or range, it is best to self-clean twice while in the warranty period. This conditions the appliance and if anything does happen, they still have warranty coverage.
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 few tricks about a few key appliances.
Don’t self-clean your oven before HOLIDAY dinner!
Appliance repair service companies (like Bekins) 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!
Good luck and Happy Holidays, from the Bekins family!
Thanks to our sponsors at Sub Zero and Wolf Appliances for their continuing support of Bekins Cooking School.
These select recipes, from their website, feature everything you need to complete a traditional holiday dinner.
Traditional Roast Turkey
Cornbread Apple Stuffing
Garlic Fine Herbed Mashed Potatoes
Green Beans Almondine
This morning was the annual Easter Egg Hunt in our Grand Haven store! The staff scoured the store to find brightly colored eggs filled with candy and prizes peeking out from under ranges, hiding inside microwaves, and balanced on the tops of refrigerators.
Robin found one!
Hmmm… that doesn’t belong there, does it?
So many hiding spots!
Michelle making friends with Nugget!
The prize bag of goodies went to Lou who won the tie-breaker for finding the most eggs. As you can see the pink bunny ears fit him just perfectly and he readily made friends with Nugget, the office chick.
Pink bunny ears for Lou!
Lou and his new chick!
Not to be left out of the fun, earlier this week the appliance and electronics installation teams had their own Easter Egg hunt in the warehouse. Looks like Doug claimed the chocolate bunny in that one!
Hunting for eggs in the warehouse
So many places to hide eggs in here!
Thanks for the candy!
Doug wins the chocolate bunny!
Have you ever wondered exactly how hunting brightly colored eggs came to be associated with Easter? Although Easter is a Christian holiday, the beloved tradition of egg hunting has no association with the religious history of the Easter holiday. According to the History Channel, the Easter Bunny legend started long ago in Germany with an egg-laying hare named “Osterhase.” German children made nests and left them outside for the hare to lay her eggs in. Easter Egg Hunting began in America when German immigrants brought their Osterhase tradition to Pennsylvania in the 1700s. The festivity soon spread across the nation, and baskets replaced nests. Eventually, the game evolved into a treasure hunt, and the prizes expanded from just hard-boiled eggs to include chocolate, candy, toys and coins. So there you have it!
From all of us at Bekins, we wish you a very Blessed and Happy Easter!