By Annie Tremblay
Cooking is no joke, especially with three balanced meals a day, every day. Even meal prepping doesn’t necessarily equal “no cooking” or “less cooking”. There are, however, ways you can make daily actions in the kitchen easier, efficient, and time-saving. Here are 11 tricks or hacks anyone can do in the kitchen to make the task just a little bit easier.
Wooden Spoon for Anti-Spillage
Cleaning the hot mess from the stove top takes much longer than the two seconds required for putting a wooden spoon on top of the pot. We don’t know the scientific explanation for it, but as long as it stops overspilling while boiling anything, then it’s worth doing.
Ice Tray Efficiency
If you didn’t know already, ice trays are such versatile items in the kitchen that can be used in a variety of situations. For example, freeze cubes of espresso to use in your iced coffee without it tasting watered down. Freeze cubes of wine or milk or just about anything else for the same effect!
Boil with the Peel
Are you peeling your vegetables before boiling them? There’s no need to. Boiling and then peeling is a much more efficient method since the skin softens significantly after cooking. Leave the vegetables to cool down for a few minutes and then peel it off with ease just with your hands, no tools are necessary.
Parchment Paper Muffins
You or the kids are craving muffins, or cupcakes, but don’t have any liners left? You can still get the job done by lining the muffin tin with parchment paper instead. After all, parchment paper is a kitchen essential for cooking that everyone has on hand. Neatly spread it on the slot and pour the batter like normal. If anything, you’ll get a much more aesthetically pleasing cupcake by the end of it.
Peel Garlic Like a Pro
If you’ve ever struggled with peeling garlic until your thumbs grow numb, then you’ll be glad to hear this one. Garlic peels can easily be removed by throwing several of them in a glass jar and giving it a good shake. The peels will separate from the garlic with ease. Also, if you’ll be mincing the garlic in a mincer, you don’t need to peel it at all since the peel will get left behind in the mincer either way.
Ice Bath to the Rescue
Leaving out a bar of chocolate or butter longer than intended happens to the best of us, especially on those warm summer days. Don’t worry though, there’s a quick workaround to this. Shock the butter in an ice bath and it’ll harden up again. For chocolate, put it in a tupperware container and then in the ice bath. It won’t look as neat and appealing to the eye as before, but it’ll be good to use.
Freeze Your Cups
No ice, no problem. Next time you’re running low on ice, put your cups in the freezer for about 10 minutes and then pour your desired drink in. This is a game changer for sodas and beer.
Don’t spend forever thawing out an assortment of frozen fruits for your next smoothie. Prep them in advance by putting various assortments in separate baggies and freezing them. This way, you can simply dump the entire contents of the bag into the blender and not worry about thawing separate portions.
Only using your apple corer from occasion to occasion? Add another occasion to the list, which is whenever you want to make potato wedges or fries. Easily slice through an entire potato at a time and produce even slices. Others who have tried this method are confident that this is how restaurants and cafes get their signature potato dishes to fry to perfection each time. Give it a try!
Foil for Size
We can’t have sheet pans of all shapes and sizes handy at home, so what to do if you want to bake something smaller than the sheet pan you have? There’s a smart solution to this and all it requires is tin foil. Choose how much of the sheet pan you wish to use and then cut out a thick piece of foil (you may need to fold it according to size). Then, place the foil as a divider on the pan to separate the empty space from the space you wish to fill with batter, dough, or anything else.
Oil Spray for the Win
Spray-on oil is not only an optimal lubrication method for your pots and pans, but can be put to use for smaller tasks in the kitchen. These seemingly simple and small changes will actually make your life much easier. Spray it on measuring cups or spoons whenever you want to dip it in honey or molasses to ensure it doesn’t stick to the surface. Additionally, you can give a light coating to your grater to keep cheese from sticking to it as you grate.