A Clean & Green Kitchen for Spring

I clean all my food cabinets and refrigerator in my kitchen twice each year, Fall & Spring. They coincide with two Jewish holidays: The Jewish New Year and Passover, which starts on Monday night. While I am not a “religious” Jew who follows all the hundreds of rules that Orthodox Jews follow, I have created my own version of the holidays that keeps me aware of my spiritual side and keeps me in touch with my cultural Judaism. (The Passover Seder is the same as the last supper before Jesus was crucified; thus the two holy days are often in the same week.  Passover starts on Mon. eve & Easter is the following Sunday.)

For Passover, we are told to change over all our dishes and cutlery for the week of Passover, but I don’t focus on that so much as cleaning my kitchen so it is ready for the holiday, which requires certain foods be avoided (anything made with yeast, for example) and recommends special foods made just for this holy day.

So, I clean out my refrigerator and remove some of the food items such as vinegar, oil, etc. and give it away as part of removing foods not kosher for Passover.  Or I place other items that are unopened or otherwise needing to be saved and make them “off limits” during Passover, either on  special shelf or a designated area in the dining room. In this process, I recycle containers, dispose of foods that are “suspicious” (When in doubt, throw it out!), especially because I was away & a couple of items did smell suspicious.

I also rearrange my pantry shelves, using up as many opened pastas not suitable for Passover, grains or beans in open packages, and often changing around my shelves to make items more accessible.  I also come across items I forgot about, like my sun dried tomatoes, and make a note to use them up. When the job is done, which it will be sometime this week-end, I feel much more organized in my kitchen. This year I plan to use a different set of dishes made from glass as my nod to changing over the china used the rest of the year. I also purchased a new cutting board and some bamboo utensils.

The information on the set states:

“Bamboo is a grass that grows to maturity in 5 years.  It does not need to be replanted, artificially irrigated, making it one of the world’s most renewable resources.” (TB-Totally Bamboo, San Marcos, Calif. 92078). (Website: www.totallybamboo.com) The following slogan is below this information:

Do the Earth a favor….Do Bamboo!

Finally, I used a green cleaning product from Trader Joe’s called Next to Godliness, from the saying, Cleanliness is next to Godliness. Not sure I agree with the saying, but the product works well and I will feature it on another Earth Day, Every Day with a posting on green cleaning products not just for the kitchen.

So, for me, cleaning out my kitchen for Passover/Spring cleaning is also a kind of ecological exercise, since I recycle items, use green cleaners and also replace older items with more ecological items such as the bamboo utensils. Therefore, I have accomplished two tasks: a cleaner, more organized kitchen for Spring and Summer and a way of honoring Earth Day, Every Day. (I was tempted to say, I therefore killed two birds with one stone, but as a vegetarian, this would not be “kosher!”)

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