10 timeless kitchen tips from the past we still use today

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Nothing is better than grandma’s cooking. Well, maybe a few things, but it’s toward the top of the list. I don’t know what it is about them, but grandmothers just seem to know more about making delicious meals and keeping a perfectly running kitchen than anyone else.
Is there some secret book of kitchen tips that they’re not telling us about? Or have they simply learned through decades of trial and error? Or maybe, there’s no secret. Maybe they’re just waiting for you to ask if you can learn from them. And I have no doubt that if you’re willing to listen, your grandmothers would love nothing more than to teach you the tricks of the trade.
1. Paper bags ripen fruit
Whether you buy fruit from the grocery store or grow it yourself, you occasionally end up with some fruit that isn’t quite ripe enough. While there are multiple ways you can attempt to speed up the ripening process, the most tried-and-true method involves putting your fruit into a simple paper bag. After the fruit is in the bag, seal the top, and ignore it for a few days. When you open the bag again, your fruit should be ready to go.
2. Testing eggs for freshness in water
If you no longer remember when you bought that carton of eggs in your refrigerator, don’t automatically assume they’re past their prime and throw them away. Instead, place the eggs in a bowl of water. If they sink to the bottom and lie on their sides, they’re still fresh. If they stand up straight on the bottom, you should hard-boil and eat them as soon as possible. But if they float to the top, they’re no longer fresh and shouldn’t be eaten.
3. Lemons in hot water for more juice
There are several ways to maximize the amount of juice you can squeeze out of a lemon. You can microwave them, cut them a certain way, roll them on the counter, etc. But the quickest way to get more juice out of a lemon is to place it in warm water for about a minute. This will make it softer, which allows it to produce more juice. Just make sure you take it out of the water as soon as the skin feels warm.
4. Water prevents dessert from burning
Do you have trouble getting your desserts to bake perfectly? Do you tend to burn pie crust, or frequently have to scrape burnt-on cake out of the pan? To avoid burning your baked goods, fill a bowl with two quarts of water and place this in the oven during baking. Just make sure the bowl can be used safely in the oven.
5. Add oatmeal for thicker soup
If you want to add a little extra thickness to your homemade soup, try including oatmeal in your recipe. Rolled oats work especially well in pureed soups, as the texture goes completely unnoticed. Along with adding thickness, the oatmeal also boosts the fiber content in your soup.
6. Use hot tea instead of water
Hot tea can be used as a substitute for water in several recipes, especially meat dishes. The inclusion of tea adds a new element of flavor to the dishes as well as highlights the other flavors already present in the food.
7. Clean up grease stains
Cleaning grease off of your stovetop, counters, and backsplash can be a pain, especially if you’ve let it build up for a while. If you just need to quickly wipe down your surfaces, a mixture of dishwashing soap and warm water will do the trick. If you’re in need of a deep-cleaning session, combine warm water and baking soda, or warm water and vinegar, to get the really tough spots. If you notice a grease spot has just appeared while you’re cooking, though, immediately wipe the area with a bit of newspaper. This will help prevent the grease from lingering and staining your range.
8. Freezing food
Do you like to prepare meals early in the week and then freeze them until you’re ready to eat them? This can be a great time-saver, but make sure you know how to package each item before you put it in the freezer. For instance, lasagna, enchiladas, and anything else made with tomato sauce should be first wrapped in plastic wrap before it’s wrapped in aluminum foil.
9. Store plastic wrap in the freezer
Is it possible to rip off a section of plastic wrap without it folding in on itself and refusing to cover the dish in front of you? Surprisingly, yes, it is. If you keep your plastic wrap in the freezer, the cold will help eliminate the static electricity that causes the wrap to attach to itself.
10. Save plastic bags
You know that drawer in your mom’s house that looks like an episode of Hoarders because it’s overflowing with plastic bags? Don’t make fun of her for that. If you’re going to use plastic bags, it’s way more environmentally friendly to save them and reuse them instead of tossing them in the trash. You can use them to store small items, take them back to the store to refill on your next shopping trip, let your kids use them as parachutes when they jump off their beds, etc. And while you’re benefiting from multiple uses, you’re keeping the bags from hanging out in a landfill.
Whether you’re cooking dinner, cleaning up, or just looking for some space- and time-saving advice, it’s obvious that the past has a plethora of tips to offer. So next time you and your grandma are in the kitchen together, ask her to teach you a new trick. And in the meantime, share this with your friends on Facebook to help them step up their game in the kitchen.
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