When it comes to taking care of an oven, it is sometimes all too easy to overlook the one action that could be the most important–keeping it clean. Keeping an oven clean is vital for health and sanitary reasons. Not only is there a risk of contaminating food with old, baked on grime, but an oven with a lot of food debris and char can cause smoke; which will give the dishes cooked inside an unpleasant flavor.
A clean oven is important for basic safety reasons. Grease spills left to sit can ignite, if not taken care of promptly; causing dangerous grease fires and oven damage. Some spills can smolder in an oven making fumes and smoke that can cause eye and lung irritation for those cooking, or in the vicinity of the kitchen. Keeping an oven clean can not only keep a kitchen, and the food prepared in the kitchen sanitary, but can help keep cooks safer in the kitchen as well.
How clean an oven is can affect everything from how even the internal temperature of an oven remains during cooking, to how long it takes to preheat. An oven coated in char and grime from previous meals will have to work harder to achieve and maintain the correct temperature while cooking dishes.
It’s a good idea to clean your oven at least once every few months. In between cleanings, wipe down big spills each time they occur (once the oven is completely cooled). How to clean an oven really depends on personal preferences. Most ovens come with a self-cleaning feature that cooks food and residue off at a very high temp leaving a char that can be vacuumed, or swept out after the long, intense cleaning period. This method is popular because it allows an oven to do most of the dirty work on its own and doesn’t use harsh smelling, or dangerous chemicals in the process.
Cleaning with standard chemical cleaners sold in stores will achieve a clean oven with a little time and elbow grease. Unfortunately, the harsh chemicals and noxious fumes can create irritation and breathing concerns for many. If you’re going the chemical route, make sure you know what type of oven you have. If you have a self cleaning oven, make sure the product you buy can be used in a it. Not all oven cleaners are safe for self cleaning ovens.
For a clean oven -- the safe, and natural way -- without nasty fumes, or the damage caused by the heat of the self-cleaning feature, try using a baking soda and water paste. Spread in a thin layer inside your entire oven and leave overnight. It will work wonders on spills and caked on food. Just scrape the grime away the next day with a rubber spatula and final wipe with a damp sponge. Liberally spraying an oven heated to around 130 degrees with vinegar and then sprinkling salt, or baking soda on spills is another natural cleaning alternative. Just wipe the mess and grime away once the oven is completely cooled.
No matter how you choose to keep your oven clean and working at its peak performance, preparing foods with Bellisari’s Gourmet Spreads and Sauces will help you serve deliciously easy but amazing tasting dishes. Check out all our recipes on the site at bellisaris.com!