29 great kitchen tips to make your life easier

cooking secrets and tips
cooking secrets and tips

29 great kitchen tips to make your life easier

  1. Add a little zest. When a recipe calls for a “zest” of a citrus fruit, it’s referring to the colorful and vibrant outer part of the skin, not the inner white part, which is referred to as the pith. The zest includes all of the aromatic citrus oils and provides a hint of citrus flavor to the recipe. A simple method of getting a great zest is by rubbing the fruit against the smallest holes of a cheese grater.
  2. Don’t hesitate to experiment. Great chefs are never afraid to deviate from a recipe and add their own flair. Whenever you make a substitution or addition, be sure to make a note on the recipe so you remember next time whether you liked the change or not.
  3. Salted butter vs. unsalted butter. Butter is available in both with and without salt. The salt is added for additional taste and to help preserve it so it has a longer shelf life. What if the salt in the butter is more than a recipe needs? Choosing unsalted butter gives you more control over how much salt your dish has. If you only have salted butter, the best thing to do is leave out roughly about 1/4teaspoon of salt per 1/2 cup (one stick) of butter used in the recipe.
  4. Use your kitchen scissors. Right now you probably use your kitchen scissors for opening product packaging and bags of milk. But next time you’re cutting fat from a roast, opening pitas or cutting chicken into strips, consider using your scissors! Chefs use them all the time for cutting meats and various other food items. It’s probably best to designate a pair as food scissors only. And make sure you clean them very well after each usage because they do have holes where the bacteria can hide.
  5. Keep your recipes organized. Nothing absolutely is more frustrating when you’re ready to start cooking and do not find your recipe. Keep things organized by finding a system for filing your recipes that you can keep them handy in the kitchen. A wonderful option is to buy one of those photo albums where you peel off a plastic sheet and underneath is a sticky surface. Doing this will make it easy to find and at any time you can remove or replace them!
  6. Stop foods from sticking to that pan. To keep food from sticking to the bottom of your pans, try to avoid putting cold foods into a hot pan. Also, don’t put food into a pan that is not clean, otherwise the resulting build up can lead to burnt food.
  7. Stop water from boiling over. To keep pans from boiling over when cooking, add a thin layer of butter around the rim of the pan. This works well for rice, pasta and potatoes.
  8. Prevent oozing egg whites. This is due to the fact that every egg has an air pocket at the larger, rounded end. When placed in simmering water the air pocket expands and develops a higher atmospheric pressure within the egg in the water. The fragile shell fractures from the built-up pressure. Prevent this problem in the future by removing eggs from the refrigerator and piercing the larger end with a pin. This will provide the air a hole to escape through!
  9. Get more juice from your citrus fruits. When a recipe requires the juice of lemons, limes or oranges, see to it you squeeze every last drop by first rolling the fruit under your palm on a hard surface. Press down as hard as you can while you roll. Then simply cut it in half and squeeze. You’ll get substantially more juice to add lots of flavor to your dish.
  10. Peel garlic quickly and conveniently. Peeling garlic can be frustrating and irritating unless you know this little tip that the pros use. Lay a clove flat on a hard surface press down hard on it with the flat side of a large knife. As soon as you’ve pressed hard enough you’ll hear a “pop” that tells you the peel has separated. Despite this trick your fingers will undoubtedly smell like garlic. Remove that odor by washing well with salt.
  11. Repair fractured eggs. If you have an egg that fractures while boiling, just add a cap full of vinegar to the water and watch as the eggshell seals itself. However though, if the whites have begun to ooze out this technique won’t work.
  12. Ensure that the oil is hot before frying foods. Although, not the healthiest choice, fried foods sure do taste good. The secret to perfect frying is to heat the oil prior to putting the food in. (Not so hot that it is smoking though, be careful!) If you don’t heat the oil hot, your food will absorb excessive oil and the food tastes greasy. To check whether the oil is hot enough for frying, throw in a drop of water or perhaps a small piece of what you’re cooking. If it bubbles swiftly you’ll know it’s ready.
  13. Cut breads and cakes flawlessly every time. It may seem strange but dental floss can be used to slice bread and cakes for a perfect piece every single time. This is also the simplest way to cut a layer cake in half so you can add a filling. For ideal results freeze the cake prior to cutting it.

    best way to cut bread evenly
    best way to cut bread evenly
  14. Get the ideal temperature for deep frying. Always wondering about temperature of oil! The simplest way to figure out if your oil is hot enough is to use a bread crumb. If the bread turns brown in a minute, the oil is between 350 and 365 degrees, 40 seconds (365 – 382 degrees), 20 seconds (382 – 390 degrees). Or, if you have one, use a thermometer. Just make sure that it is a metal thermometer specifically designed for deep fryers.
  15. A replacement for eggs. Two tablespoons of mayonnaise can be a substitute for a large egg in any recipe. Be sure not to use whipped salad dressing though unless you want the extra salt that it contains.
  16. Fascinating uses for apples. You might have heard that it’s best to keep apples stored separately from various other fruits and vegetables because they release gases that accelerate ripening. Well those very same gases are in fact beneficial for some things. An apple wedge in the bag will soften clumped brown sugar over night. It will also keep your potatoes from sprouting.
  17. Get rid of the fat from soups. Get rid of the fat from homemade soups by tossing in four ice cubes. The fat will harden around the ice, which can then be removed. You may need to reheat after completing the process as this will cool the soup.
  18. Serve a perfect punch. When serving punch it is generally kept on a buffet table for everyone to help themselves to. So it’s important to keep it cold. However, instead of ice, which dilutes the punch, freeze some of the punch itself beforehand and use that.
  19. Stop pre-made sandwiches from going soggy. To prevent lunch sandwiches from becoming soggy, spread both pieces of bread to the edges with butter, mustard or mayonnaise. Wrap the sandwich in wax paper or cling wrap. Or if feasible, assemble the sandwich just before eating. Simply pack the bread and filling separately.
  20. Always use glass or ceramic dish to marinate foods. Most marinate sauces contain an acidic ingredient such as lemon juice, vinegar or wine that can react with metal and cause flavors in your food. To save on cleaning, try marinating your fish or meat in a large zip bag. Set the bag on a plate or in a shallow bowl and refrigerate, turning the bag periodically to distribute the marinate sauce.
  21. Reduce oil splatters. A couple of things are messier than splashing oil. It can be painful if the hot oil gets on your skin. Reduce oil splatters by sprinkling hot oil with salt before adding the food to be fried. If this is not completely effective, you can buy oil splatter guards at kitchen stores.
  22. Grate your cheese quickly. Quickly grate cheese in a snap by tossing your cheese into the freezer for an hour before shredding. Cheese gets hard enough to grate without compromising the taste or texture.
  23. Make that perfect gravy for turkey. That perfect gravy to have with your holiday turkey? A wonderful suggestion from the pros is to use tea! Boil a large pot of water and while placing the turkey in the oven add two orange pekoe tea bags. Allow the tea steep on top of the oven until the turkey is done then add it to the juices in the pan. Thicken with a mixture of flour and water or cornstarch.
  24. Keep chicken broth handy. Not only is the chicken broth an easy way to add flavor to sauces, it can also be used to add moisture to dry stuffing. Over salted gravy can be tamed by using the unsalted variety without diluting the flavor.
  25. A delicious alternative to sour cream. Looking for something different or may be out of sour cream? Consider a quick crème fraiche, which can be made from one cup of buttermilk and three cups of whipping cream. Mix well and let it sit for about three days. Store for up to two weeks in the refrigerator.
  26. Reduce the power of garlic and onions. Get a milder flavor by sautéing them in butter or olive oil for a couple of minutes prior to adding them to other foods. This will release their natural sweetness and give a wonderful taste.
  27. An easy way to peel ginger root. To easily and conveniently peel ginger root, place it in the freezer for an hour before use remove the skin with a sharp knife. Or, try using the edge of a spoon when peeling room temperature level ginger root.
  28. Use caramelized onions to add flavor. A delicious way to add flavor to mashed potatoes, vegetables, soups and sauces is by adding caramelized onions. The good news is they can be made in advance and kept in the refrigerator so they are readily available when you need them. Chop onions fine and add them to melted butter or margarine. Cook at a very low heat till the onions turn brown. Be sure there is always lots of butter or the onions will end up being crispy. Transfer it to a plastic container while the butter is still liquid and store them in the refrigerator. When solidified its easy to take a spoonful whenever you need it!

    how to saute onions and garlic
    how to saute onions and garlic
  29. Fix the lumpy sauces. Is your sauce too lumpy? Put it in your food processor to smooth out the lumps and blend the flavors. Add some hot water if needed to help remove the lumps. Then reheat and serve!

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