Invaluable kitchen hacks
From time to time kitchen toil becomes a real hell; the oil bubbles and splashes, the milk runs over and the frying pan becomes encrusted with burnt offerings which stubbornly refuse to be cleaned. To crown it all, you can’t see because the onion has brought tears to your eyes.
We’ve gathered together some life-hacks for preparing food, cleaning and organizing your cooking space. Some of them you may previously have never suspected.
1. How to remove seeds from vegetables quickly
To quickly remove seeds from pumpkins or zucchinis, use an ice-cream scoop. Its sharp edge easily scrapes out seeds from veggies. You can also use it to make a thinly sliced salad.
2. How to remove excess fat from cooked food.
If a dish you’ve cooked turns out to be unexpectedly rich, you can easily remove excess fat using a couple of ice cubes and a paper towel. Wrap the ice in the towel and wipe it over the top of the food. The ice will act as a magnet, drawing floating fat towards it to congeal on the tissue.
3. Use film wrap like a professional chef
Does your plastic wrap stretch unevenly and rip? Keep it in the fridge, like professional chefs do. Cold food wrap behaves better, sticking and tearing less, leading to less of that familiar feeling of exasperation.
4. Peel Citrus Fruits Easily
Is peeling oranges, lemons or satsumas too much of a fath? Don’t want to ruin your manicure digging into that hard, thick rind? Stick them in the microwave for 20 seconds and it becomes much easier to separate these fruits from their wrappings.
5. Make peeling boiled eggs easier
Add soda or vinegar to the water you boil the eggs in. These substances get inside the shells and make it easier to peel them off.
6. How to squeeze more juice out of your citrus fruits
To squeeze the last drops out of a lemon, first cool the fruit in the fridge, and then zap it in the microwave for 15-20 seconds.
7. How to grate soft cheese with less mess
Bung it in the freezer for half an hour before grating. The cheese hardens, and doesn’t stick to the grater. It’s easier to sprinkle it too.
8. How to cut onions without tears
The freezer will help you here too. Put the onions in for 30 minutes before chopping them. Bear in mind that it’s only worth doing this if you plan to cook the onions; don’t subject them to this treatment if you want to make a salad with them or they’ll lose their crunch.
9. The smart way to boil pasta
If you don’t want the pot to boil over while you’re not watching it, put a wooden spoon or stirrer over the top. The wood will stop the foam from going over the edge.
10. How to roast a whole chicken
When your roast a chicken (or other bird) whole, lay it on its breast. This is because the breast contains most of the meat; the closest it is to the source of heat, the quicker it will cook through.
11. Parchment paper for cupcakes
If you don’t have special molds for cupcakes, use parchment paper instead. This method has the added benefit of producing non-standard cupcakes, which look much more interesting.
12. The right way to warm up baked items
When warming up pizza or other baked items in the microwave, put a cup of water in alongside it. The moisture will stop the pastry from drying out too much and preserve crunchy crusts.
1. How to keep cooking herbs
If you freeze herbs in an ice-cube tray, their vitamin content is preserved. Try freezing them in water or olive oil.
2. The right way to store shelled nuts
Freeze shelled nuts to preserve their nutritional properties, taste and aroma. Pack them into sealed containers before placing them into the freezer. It isn’t worth roasting the kernels first, or they’ll be no good for anything. The nuts must be raw and unprocessed. Nuts kept this way won’t acquire the bitter aftertaste of shelled nuts which have been hanging around at room temperature for a while.
The right way to clean a cast iron frying pan
To stop a cast iron frying pan from rusting over time, avoid washing it using regular dishwashing liquid. Use table salt instead. This method will also rid the pan of persistent odors from spices used during cooking.
2. How to rid your hands of unpleasant odors
To remove stubborn garlic or onion oders from your hands use table salt or lemon. Just rub them into your hands and rinse with water.
3. How to return metal kitchenware to its previous shine
To restore sheen to stainless steel kitchenware, wash it in a mixture of vinegar and water. If there are no metal parts a better effect can be achieved by soaking overnight in the same mixture.
4. Restoring wooden spoons to life
Over time wooden spoons and spatulas lose their looks and acquire an unpleasant odor. It would seem that the only thing to do is to chuck them out. However, if you are loath to part with your favorite kitchen helper, there is a way out. Boil the wooden spoons in plain water and leave them to dry in the sun. This will remove unpleasant odors and give them a new lease of life.
5. The right way to clean wooden chopping boards
To remove odors and food residues from wooden chopping boards rub them with coarse grain salt and leave for 10-15 minutes. Then wipe with half a lemon and dry. This procedure is guaranteed to get rid of unpleasant smells.
7. How to keep your recipes clean
When we cook, we often use a recipe book or our own notes. It can be a bit difficult to put the book on the worktop open on the right page without getting it splashed and stained. To protect cook books from this fate, use a regular trouser hanger to keep the book open on the page you need and suspend it over the work surface, where it’ll be quite safe.