30 Kitchen Hacks You Should Know

Most people either love or hate being in the kitchen.  If cooking is not something you enjoy, there are tons of ways to mess up that can ultimately make your meal a disaster. Whether the kitchen is your favorite room in your house or a foreign land, it’s always handy to know some simple tricks to make cooking and cleaning go by faster.  These tips will save you time, money, and (for some) from a mental breakdown.

Oh eggs. Eggs are in a lot of dishes and are amazing even when cooked the simplest ways. Here are some ways to make one of the best ingredients to a dish even more delicious!

  1. To make sure an egg is fresh, put it in a cup of water. Bad eggs float whereas good eggs sink. Over time, the liquid inside eggs evaporates through the porous shell, leaving a gas bubble inside. The higher the egg floats, the sooner you should toss the carton out.
  2. Everyone has been there. While cracking an egg, the entire thing busts in the bowl. Rather than scooping out the particles with your fingers, scoop it out with the remaining part of the shell! This way you can avoid putting your fingers  in your food (which is especially gross if you didn’t wash your hands).
  3. Peeling eggs can be a tedious task. To make things easier, add baking soda or vinegar to water when boiling eggs for easier shell removal. Both substances will permeate the eggshells and help the albumen (also known as the egg white) separate from the shell.
  4. Rather than wasting time peeling each individual egg, try putting them in a lidded container and shaking it! This way you can peel multiple eggs at once without as much work. The eggs won’t be pretty, but they will be ready for a salad much quicker than traditional methods.
  5. If you’re looking for a fun, creative way to serve up scrambled eggs, look no further. Rather than putting them in a skillet, cook them in a waffle iron! The eggs will come out in the shape of a waffle without the carbs.
  6. Making a poached egg is often very difficult to do if you aren’t practiced in making one. To poach an egg that’s tasty and looks great, use a metal mesh strainer to get rid of excess egg white. The strainer is also a great tool for gently lowering the egg into the water.

Storing food is sometimes rather difficult, but it doesn’t have to be! Properly storing food is VERY important. No one wants to have a glass of chunky milk or moldy bread. By following these simple tips, you can keep your food fresh for longer and save money!

  1. Keep apples, bananas, citrus, and tomatoes away from other produce—they give off ethylene gas that makes other produce ripen faster which means they will go bad quicker than they actually should.
  2. Most refrigerators now come with a crisper drawer. Learn to take advantage of it! The high humidity levels make vegetables last longer. For leafy green vegetables, set the humidity on high to make them last as long as they should.
  3. When freezing food, make sure the container is airtight! Air can develop into crystals and will cause freezer burn. Also, make sure you label when the food was placed in the freezer to avoid eating the sausage that’s from 2004.
  4. Onions last longer when placed in pantyhose! While your friends might give you some weird looks, this extends the life of your onions by weeks! Just make sure you tie knots between them.
  5. Nothing compares to fresh rosemary or cilantro, but it often goes bad very fast. Herbs often get freezer burn or wilt when placed in the freezer. By freezing herbs in olive oil, you can still have a yummy taste without having to run back to the store.
  6. Tomatoes are great especially during these summer months. While people think placing them in the fridge makes them stay fresher longer, this is not the case! Tomatoes thrive in a warm environment. By placing them in a bowl with a paper towel at the bottom (in order to avoid bruising) and keeping them stem up, this will maximize the life of your delicious, juicy tomatoes.

When it’s finally time to get cooking, there are tons of simple ways to make prepping your meal as stress-free as possible.

  1. If you need to cut a soft cheese, such as brie or goat cheese, cut it with unflavored dental floss! This way you can avoid squashing your delicious treat. You can also cut cookie dough with dental floss!
  2. Cutting onions make everyone feel like they’re watching a video about a sad puppy on Facebook. To avoid the inevitable tears, put the onion in the freezer. Only do this if you’re planning on cooking the onion later (unless you like soggy onions on your burger). If you’re not planning on cooking the onion, put a piece of bread in your mouth. While your family/roommates might give you some odd looks, you can save the tears! The bread soaks up the gas that causes you to cry.
  3. If you’re in the mood for a hard taco and don’t have time to run by the store, reach for a bag of flour tortillas! By putting them in the oven and letting them fall between the bars on the rack, you can create a hard taco shell.
  4. Freeze lemons in a cupcake pan for ice cubes! These ice cubes probably won’t fit in your cup, so throw them in a pitcher of water or iced tea to add a refreshing twist to your drink.

Butter is essential to most dishes, so why not know everything there is to know about this delicious ingredient? From cookies to baked potatoes, butter can be used in everything!

  1. If you don’t have time to soften your butter and don’t want to microwave it, try putting your cheese grater to good use! By grating the butter, it’s easier to use in dishes and saves time. You can also flatten it out using a rolling pin, just make sure you place it in a ziplock bag first!
  2. If you don’t feel like using either of those methods, cut the butter into smaller pieces. It’s a lot easier to make several small pieces get soft rather than one large chunk.
  3. Make your butter too runny? No problem! Place the butter in a bowl, then place that bowl in a larger bowl. Put water and ice in the larger bowl, and the butter will be harder in no time!
  4. Butter is best when fresh. Only buy what you plan to use within a week or two to maximize the flavor potential. If you want to take advantage of specials or find you’re not using it quickly enough, freeze butter to preserve its fresh flavor. If you plan to freeze butter, cut it into small portions and wrap each portion in plastic wrap then in foil or place in a sealed container or freezer bag and place in the freezer. By freezing in smaller portions, this makes it easier to avoid freezing and refreezing the butter.

Leftovers are great for after a late night at the office or when you can’t afford to grab a pizza.

  1. Rather than think you have leftovers, think you have new ingredients! Find a new use for your leftovers. Use your grilled chicken breast for a chicken enchilada casserole or rice for a tasty soup recipe! By putting your leftovers in a new recipe, it’s easy to forget you’re actually eating leftovers!
  2. Nothing is worse than reheating Alfredo and having the edges sizzling hot, but the middle an alfredo popsicle. If you arrange the pasta in a donut shape, it will be evenly cooked.
  3. When placing your leftovers in the fridge, place the containers at eye level. This way you can remember you have them and be sure to eat them before they go bad.

Other tips

  1. If you don’t like your ice cream as hard as a rock, place the container in a plastic bag.
  2. If you’re low on storage space, try pouring your spices into Tic Tac containers!
  3. Buy a bunch of bananas that aren’t exactly ripe yet, but you’re craving one? Try putting it in the oven for five minutes!
  4. If you want a quick fix to brown sugar clumps, place marshmallows in the bag! This will help keep the moisture in the bag.
  5. There’s not much worse than drinking an iced coffee and then not drinking it because it is too watered down by the ice within fifteen minutes. Solution to the problem? Put coffee in an ice cube tray! You can even add sugar and cream to make it just the way you want it.
  6. Cool off your wine or cocktail by putting frozen grapes in your drink! This won’t dilute the drink and you’ll have a yummy treat once you finish it.
  7. Want to reheat your bread and don’t want to break your tooth? Place a moist paper towel over the bread when microwaving it! Make sure your microwave is on a low setting!
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