By: Elisheva Blumberg, Lubicom Staff
If there’s any time of year we’re in sore need of some good life hacks, it’s Pesach!
We’ve spoken to women who’ve been around the Pesach block, and compiled these six hacks guaranteed to make your Pesach more efficient, productive, and all-around joyous.
1. Be trigger happy
Crumbs aren’t chametz. Still, you may find yourself coming across a particular crevice into which grubby little crumbs have settled… and they’re driving you absolutely nuts! In my case, it’s the narrow spaces where the countertops meet the oven — there’s always something stuck in there, and since it’s where I do my cooking, I want to be sure those crumbs are blasted to bits.
Stop spending obsessive hours bent over said crevice with a toothpick, a miner’s light on your head, and a look of desperate madness on your face. Instead, go trigger crazy!
With a spritz of bleach or powerful commercial cleaning solution, crumbs can be rendered inedible, and therefore completely un-chametz.
When wielding that Windex bottle, you’ll feel as slick as a Mossad agent. Face it, chametz. You’re toast.
2. Shelf it
Many sets of Pre-Pesach bleary eyes can be attributed to kitchen switching. Yep, turning over the kitchen — moving the year-round dishes to the garage, lining your shelves in fresh paper, and setting up the Pesachware — is a mega time-sapper.
What if there’s another way?
Cuz there is. Appoint an inexpensive shelving unit as your new, year-round, Pesach storage system. Throughout the year, use it to store your Pesach dishes, pots, and pans. Come the holiday, bring it into the kitchen… and keep it there! Granted your kitchen won’t look as pretty with all the extra equipment, but you’ll save hours of time not just before Pesach, but also when it’s time to put everything away.
With a dedicated shelf for your Pesach implements, the only prep you’ll need to do is tape your year-round cabinets shut.
3. Counter talk
Did you know aluminum foil leaves behind a noxious smell if you use it to cover your countertops for 8 days?
Everyone has their own favorite counter-covering method. My absolute favorite material, which leaves behind no residue or smell, is Duck Smooth Top Easy Liner.
I purchased a few rolls of the Duck shelf liner years ago, and it’s still going strong. After cutting and measuring out the liner to fit each of my countertops and my kitchen table, I used a Sharpie to note on the underside of the shelf liner the location where each piece of liner belongs (left side of the sink, right side of the oven, bar counter, etc.). Then, all I gotta do is secure the pieces down with tape.
I love this material because it’s grippy (helpful when cooking), super easy to wipe down, and machine washable (though I’ve never actually tried that). Also, it comes in ultra-cute patterns.
4. Desserts first
The best time to get your baking on? After your oven is kashered and spanking clean!
Here’s why you should start off your cooking marathon with baking:
- It’s faster. It’s always more efficient to knock out one entire category of food at a time. Once all the baking ingredients are out, the bowls and measuring cups are in the sink, and your counters are all Jackson Pollocked up with chocolate syrup and vegetable oil, it makes super sense to bang out all your baking in one furious, chocolate-smeared session.
- It’s smarter. Once you know you’re set with desserts for the rest of the holiday, you’ll feel uber accomplished being able to check that one very big chore off your to-do list.
- It’s parve. After your oven is kashered, it’s 100% pareve according to even the strictest halachic opinions. Doing your baking ensures your cakes and cookies can be both enjoyed after meat meals and in the morning with a glass of milk or a mug of coffee.
5. Potato kugel “par” excellence
Do you realize you can par-bake potato kugel?
Here’s how: Bake your potato kugel or yapchik for 40 minutes on 450 degrees Fahrenheit, and then freeze. When you need it at a later date, sprinkle some water on top of the frozen kugel and bake covered at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about three hours. For a crispy outer layer, uncover the kugel for the last 20 minutes of baking.
By par-baking, you can get that fresh-from-the-oven flavor even during the most hectic days of Passover.
6. Crockpot o’ gold
Instead of being a short-order cook, set up a crockpot or two in your kitchen for round-the-clock food availability.
Especially for families whose members keep varying schedules, or if you have little ones who need to eat early in the evening, having ready-to-eat soup and stew bubbling away at all times will be a hack that’ll come extraordinarily in handy.
For recipe ideas, try Pesach While You Sleep author Julie Hauser’s crockpot vegetable soup and pepper steak.