1. Avoid plastic wrap disasters. Plastic wrap is by far my most despised kitchen product. To avoid putting up a fight every time you have to cover leftovers, store the roll of plastic wrap in the refrigerator. Chilling it will make it easier to handle!
2. Poke holes in oil bottle seals for better control. Ever go to drizzle a bit of oil in a pan or over a dish and end up with a puddle of grease? Next time you buy a bottle of oil, leave the safety seal on, and poke a few holes in it with a fork or toothpick. Easy, controlled pours will be at your fingertips (literally).
3. Peel potatoes without a peeler. Thanksgiving just got 100x easier. Next time you have to peel potatoes, boil them first, then plunk them in a bowl of ice water. The skin will separate from the insides, and you can pick it right off!
4. Remain tear-free while chopping onions. I’ll be the first to admit I’ve gone to some pretty extreme lengths to avoid bawling my eyes out every time I have to chop an onion (plastic wrap around the head, anyone?). Finally, a solution that works: freeze your onion for about 15 minutes before chopping. That’s it! The theory here is that the cold inhibits the release of eye-irritating chemicals.
5. Cut berries, olives, or cherry tomatoes in half with ease. To save time cutting large numbers of small, round foods, place them between two lids (large yogurt container lids and Tupperware tops work well) or plates. Gently slice horizontally between the two surfaces while pressing gently to keep the food in place. Voila!
6. Reheat pizza & baked goods without drying them out. Microwaving leftover pizza and other baked goods can often zap the life right out of what was once a delicious treat. To avoid drying out these types of foods, place a cup of water in the microwave when reheating them to add moisture to the air. When reheating bread, set the microwave to a low power setting, and drape the bread with a moist paper towel.
7. Double whammy: De-crust your microwave AND disinfect your sponge. Soak a sponge in water and pop it in your microwave for one minute. The moisture will loosen any crusty messes stuck to the inside of your microwave, making it easier to wipe clean. Plus, your sponge will get a free disinfecting and deodorizing treatment!
8. Remove food odors from your hands. To get rid of the lingering smell of garlic or onions on your hands, rub them with lemon juice, baking soda, or stainless steel. Stainless steel, you ask? The molecules in the steel bind with the odor-causing molecules on your hands to lift the stink right off.
9. De-crystallize honey. Honey often granulates and solidifies over time, rendering it almost useless. To bring it back to life, just place the container in a bowl of hot water for five to 10 minutes.
10. Peel ginger with a spoon. Fresh ginger, with all its twists, turns, and nobs, can be a real pain to peel. Turns out using a spoon rather than a traditional peeler will save you time and a headache!
11. Use floss to cut soft foods. For perfectly sliced soft cheese, fluffy cakes, or rolled dough, ditch the knife and instead turn to unscented dental floss!
12. Freeze fresh herbs in olive oil. This one’s my personal favorite of the bunch. If you know your herbs are destined to die (like when you buy an entire packet of Thyme only to use a half teaspoon in the recipe you’re making), give the herbs a rough chop, place in an ice cube tray, and cover with olive oil. Put the tray in the freezer and pop out individual cubes to add instant flavor and freshness to sauces, pastas, soups, and all sorts of dishes. The oil will keep the herbs from browning and getting freezer burn, and the individual cubes make it easy to portion out just what you need.
Don’t you just feel wiser already? I know I do. Stay tuned for another post next week, and until then, happy cooking!
Sources: http://greatist.com/health/kitchen-tips-hacks, http://lifehacker.com/tag/kitchen-hacks, http://www.howdoesshe.com/18-kitchen-hacks-youll-wish-you-knew-before/, http://www.likeaboss.com/food-drink/boss-chef-101-up-your-cooking-game-with-10-kitchen-life-hacks/