As the leaves start to fall and the nights draw in, gardeners are busy cutting back greenery and planting bulbs ready for a show next spring. Garden furniture gets cleaned and stored away, and BBQs wheeled to the garage or shed. But what about your outdoor kitchen? Fixed in place either under a gazebo or exposed to the elements, how can you prepare your outdoor kitchen for whatever a British winter will throw at it?
There are three key reasons why we ensure our customers know how to winterise their outdoor kitchen:
- Ensuring the kitchen stays clean and accessible in case you decide to have an impromptu winter or spring cooking session!
- Protecting the materials of the kitchen itself from the elements so that the kitchen stays looking and working as it should.
- To protect the appliances, fixtures and plumbing from freezing conditions.
Here at CENA, we have put our heads together and come up with 5 steps people can take to prepare their outdoor kitchen for winter, ensuring that it’s kept in perfect condition and ready to go when the sun comes back out. We also find that many of our customers love to use their outdoor kitchens for midwinter celebrations. From cooking hotdogs on the grill for bonfire night to New Year’s Day pizzas on the wood-fired oven, it sure sounds fun! So, let’s get started…
1. Thoroughly clean the kitchen
As we mentioned in the intro, whether you are shutting your garden down completely until spring or hope to cook in the winter months, starting off with a clean kitchen is an excellent idea. That way you can audit all the appliances and check it over after a busy summer of use and get it in ship shape before the winter. Cleaning the grill, sear plates and side burners will help prevent any rust building up and ensure longevity too.
2. Invest in a cover
The easiest way to keep the outdoor kitchen clean and protect from the elements is a cover. A custom fitted cover is the gold standard. It will prevent water ingress, stay put in windy conditions, fit around appliances such as grill lids and keep out wildlife and bugs. A cover which you can lift off at a moment’s notice means that with a quick wipe down, you could be ready to cook in moments! Even if your outdoor kitchen is located under a shelter or gazebo, it may still be worth considering a cover to help prevent bird droppings or sideways rain leaving unwanted marks and residue.
3. Drain and shut off the water supply
To protect the appliances from the damaging effects of freezing weather, you need to be able to remove water from the appliances such as taps and water heaters, which will require a shut off valve and water to be able to be drained from the system. Ensure this is completed well in advance of the first ground frosts in your area so avoid issues and make the process easier.
4. Clear out fridges and check cupboards
No one wants to head out to their outdoor kitchen or bar on the first sunny spring Saturday to find mouldy fridges. Plus any food left in cupboards will attract mice and rats. Take some time this autumn to clean the fridge thoroughly and remove any perishable items. The same applies to any drawers and cupboards if you have them. Remember that napkins and other fabric items may go mouldy if left exposed to the damp environment of a British winter too!
5. Check appliance manuals for information
It’s worth checking your manuals for your fridge, freezer, grill and any other appliances before you shut your kitchen down for the winter. They may well have included some instructions or tips for how to prepare them for shutdown. This could be key to help prevent mould and grease being an issue in the spring and extend the lifetime of your appliances.
If you have any questions about how to prepare your outdoor kitchen for winter or would like help sourcing a bespoke cover, please drop the CENA team a line