If you’re like most people, when a grease spill happens in the kitchen or there is hardened cooking residue on an oven grill, you break out the degreaser. It’s a harsh chemical that makes short work of fat and grease and it is then washed off the grille or pan or surface with water or paper towels. In the process you’ve just introduced more chemicals to your municipal water system and more paper with chemicals to a landfill. It’s so common a behavior, most of us don’t even think about the ramifications.
However, a common commercial kitchen trick for dealing with grease on a cooking surface is to use pickle juice. Most restaurants get loads of the stuff since pickles are often used as a garnish or topping. To keep them preserved, they are contained in a bucket of water and vinegar. The mixture actually works extremely well as a natural degreaser as well. Many cooks use it during cleanup to break down the carbonized grease and leftover residue on flat grills as well as to break down fat on cooking instruments. The same method can be easily used at home.
Most pickle containers sold in the store have plenty of extra water and vinegar mix, or a home cook can produce the same mixture at home with vinegar and water. However, there is something about the pickles that seems to add an extra mix, not to mention it smells better. Again, this is an alternative way to clean a kitchen cooking surfaces as well as reduce harmful chemicals being introduced to municipal water. It also ensures that paper towels used can instead be put in recycled paper versus thrown away. The chemicals are no longer present in the waste paper, so there’s no issue recapturing the paper again.
For thousands of years people have used natural goods to effect cleaning in the kitchen; chemicals have only been used for cleaning in the last 50 years. An easy way to be green is to go back to our roots and cut down on uses of poison. See Mopfrog of the Hamptons for more tips and advice on a personal green guide for daily living.