The sun has finally arrived and the long summer holidays are fast approaching. This can only mean one thing: it’s time to look at preparing your kitchen for extra visitors.
Whether it’s an impromptu barbecue, children’s playdates or a full-scale family get-together, the kitchen remains the heart of your home throughout the summer.
Here are some tips to not only ensure you’re ready for the busy times, but that you also enjoy the space and atmosphere a summer kitchen can provide...
Declutter and Clean
It sounds obvious, but by decluttering and cleaning you’ll create a lighter, brighter, more pleasant space. The summer breeze will circulate more easily, and by ridding the nooks and crannies of crumbs and the work surfaces of sticky marks, your kitchen won’t attract ants or any other unwelcome visitors!
Clean the windows inside and out - sunlight highlights dirty windows (as well as dust!) and either wash the curtains or invest in a new lightweight blind to make the most of all the precious daylight.
You can then use your clean, clear surfaces to display some summer blooms or bowls of fresh fruit to add extra colour and vibrance to your kitchen.
Defrost/Clear Out Your Freezer
Plan to do this in advance so you have a chance to consume as much of the food stored in there as possible before you begin filling it with barbecue delights and appetizers.
Put any food you want to keep in cool bags with ice blocks, out of direct sunlight. Switch the freezer off and allow the ice to melt, ensuring there are plenty of towels on the floor. Wash any trays or shelves, and once all the ice has melted, dry the inside as thoroughly as possible.
Ensure your ice maker is working properly (if you have one) or stock up with extra ice cube trays. It’s amazing how much ice you can get through if you entertain a large crowd on a hot day!
Then, it’s time to fill the freezer back up with ice-cream, lollies and barbecue favourites.
Organise Your Summer Crockery and Utensils
Hunt about at the back of your cupboards to find all your outdoor/picnic crockery, wash it and put it somewhere within easy reach. You could even buy some colourful napkins and put everything in a picnic basket so you’re ready to go when the time comes.
If you need to stock up, all the supermarkets have really lovely ranges of outdoor tableware at the moment.
It’s a good idea to prepare for all the barbecues you’re hoping to have. How? By stocking up on skewers for homemade kebabs and easy-to-seal freezer bags to marinate meat, fish and vegetables in.
Buy two sets of barbecue tongs - one for raw meat and one for cooked meat - to stop cross-contamination. Gather up as many large oven-proof serving dishes as you can, and don’t forget the matches!
Time To Try Something New
Summer is a great time to try out some new recipes. If it’s particularly hot, you might want to find some ‘no cook’ recipes, to limit the amount of time you have to spend slaving over a hot stove.
For example, a huge cobb salad is simple to prepare, looks fantastic and will feed a crowd. Be experimental - add some seasonal fruit (such as peaches) to your salad, or create a cool salsa to serve with your grilled meat, rather than relying on tomato ketchup!
Summer is also a time to taste different drinks - swap your usual glass of red wine for rose wine with elderflower and lemonade or a non-alcoholic mojito.
Prepare for your new summer taste adventure by tidying your store cupboard and stocking up on ingredients you’re likely to use in summertime recipes.
Ensure stocks of sparkling water and lemonade for long cool drinks. The last thing you want is to run dry on a swelteringly hot summer’s day!
Grow An Indoor Herb Garden
You don’t even need outdoor space to create this kind of garden! A selection of herbs in pretty china cups or terracotta pots on the windowsill looks fantastic (though they need good drainage so you may want to put standard plant pots inside the decorative containers).
The vibrant greens brighten the whole room and the smell pervades the house. Look after your herbs carefully, and you’ll be able to add a continuous mix of vibrant flavours and textures to your food.
For most herbs, you can plant the seeds directly into the pot that the mature plant will be homed in. However, the seeds may take a few weeks to germinate, so you may want to use seedlings or young plants for quicker results.
Even if it rains tomorrow, hopefully these tips and ideas have brought some brightness, serenity and inspiration to your kitchen. Enjoy your summer...
Looking for more kitchen design inspiration? Check out more of our blogs, full of interior design tips, tricks and techniques, here:
- How to make your kitchen more environmentally friendly
- The 5 best ways to add colour to your kitchen
- Small kitchen design and layout ideas
- Top 4 kitchen layout styles