Whether you love or hate cooking, it's always fun to learn a few tricks to make the job a little easier. From peeling to slicing and dicing, a few fun tricks will make cooking a little more fun and save some time.
Using a few of these tips can save you money (you waste less when you know how to peel something properly) and eat a little healthier (when you know how to remove excess fats from food quickly). Keep reading to check out some of these surprising cooking hacks.
Prevent water to boil
Hate it when boiling water spills over from the pot? Luckily, there's a simple solution to prevent messes. Just place a wooden spoon over the boiling pot.
Instead of frying bacon on the stove, cover a cookie sheet with foil and cook it that way. You'll still crispy bacon (more evenly cooked) and avoid the mess of splattered grease.
Keep herbs fresh longer
When you need to preserve an abundance of rosemary, basil, sage, thyme or oregano, all you need is an ice tray and a bottle of olive oil. By placing chopped herbs in the tray dividers and freezing in olive oil to make cubes, you create frozen flavorful gems that can be stored for up to six months.
Remove egg shells with wet fingers
Accidentally break a few egg shells into the cake batter? Remove the shell from the bowl by dampening your fingers with water first.
Clean cutting boards the natural way
If you have a wooden cutting board, use salt and lemon to clean it. Sprinkle salt over the board and scrub over it with half of the lemon, squeezing gently so the juice runs out onto the board. Let it sit until a gray liquid forms on the board. Scrape off the liquid and wipe the board with a wet cloth to remove any residue.
Use a bundt pan to remove corn on the cob
Corn on the cob is tasty, but it's a pain to eat (especially if you have braces). Make it easier to enjoy the farm-fresh taste without the pain by sticking the cob in the hole in the middle of a bundt pan. Slice off the kernels from the top to the bottom. They'll land in the pan for easy transport to the stove.
Prevent microwave dryness
A microwave can often dry out leftover food. To combat this, put a cup of water in the microwave next to the food you're heating. The water will absorb some of the radiation and will release steam.
Ice cream saver
Keep ice cream from getting freezer burned by trimming down the top of the container as you eat. The lid will still fit and there will be less air in the container so your ice cream won't get ruined.
If you accidentally burned the cookies, hide your shame by using a microplane grater (the side that's really tiny) to shave off the thin burnt layer.
Make your own cooking spray
This may be the best tip ever: If you run out of cooking spray (or you don't want to spend $4 on a small can), combine 1 part oil with 5 parts water in a squirt bottle. Shake and spray as needed.
Plastic wrap mastered
Plastic wrap is fantastic – except when it's not. If you have trouble managing this sticky storage solution, you're not alone. To make it easier to handle, store plastic wrap in the fridge or freezer. If you can't get it to stick, wet the edge of the bowl or container you want to cover with a little water first.
Remove seeds with an ice cream scoop
Save time when you're removing seeds from pumpkins, watermelons or zucchini by using the edge of a small ice cream scoop (or melon baller) to scrape the seeds out of the flesh.
Get more juice from lemon/limes
To maximize the juiciness of lemons or limes, store them in the fridge. Before squeezing, toss the lemon in the microwave for 20 seconds.
How to deep clean cast iron
Believe it or not, it's okay to wash a cast iron pan with mild soap and water. Whether it's brand new (and you need to prep it for seasoning) or it's older and needs freshening up, use steel wool dipped in water and mild soap to scrub the skillet inside and out. Rinse with water and scrub again with a tough sponge. Water means rust, so make sure you dry the pan with a towel. Place the pan on a burner, turn it on and allow the heat to remove all of the remaining moisture. Once it's completely dry, remove it from the heat. Coat with oil and heat it again to seal in the oil.
Satisfy your sweet tooth in less than five minutes
In the mood for a cinnamon roll but don't want to wait for it to bake? Put an unbaked roll in a waffle iron and cook for three minutes. Then apply the frosting (which will seep into the crevices).
How to easily peel eggs
Hard-boiled eggs seem to be a fast and easy dish with limited cleanup, but peeling eggs in a clean manner sometimes blows that theory. Boil eggs as normal and then place them in a jar of water. Shake the jar. In a few moments, the peel will come right off!
Keep cakes flat
If you're trying to get a perfectly flat round cake for your next party, try this tip. Take an old rag and cut it int a strip long enough to go around the entire outside of the pan. Get the rag damp and secure it around the edge of the pan. Pour in the cake batter and bake as usual.
Use a straw to vacuum seal storage bags
Vacuum seal veggies or pieces of fruit before tossing them in the freezer by inserting a straw into a zip lock bag. Seal the bag around the straw, and suck the remaining air out of the bag. Remove the straw and finish closing.
Quickly peel tomatoes
Cut an 'x' into the bottom of the tomato but not too deep. You want to break the skin but not cut through the fleshy meat. Submerge it in boiling water for about 20 seconds. Once cooled, you will be able to easily peel away the skin.
Quickest and easiest way to shuck corn
Shucking corn can be a simple, clean process that requires very little effort. All you have to do is cut the end of the corn about one inch above the last row of kernels. Put the corn in the microwave for a couple of minutes, and the steam allows you to simply squeeze the corn out of the husk. It's that easy!
Place ice cube on top of patty to bring grilled burgers to the next level
Believe it or not, ice works really well for keeping meat moist on the grill. Simply place an ice cube in the middle of the patty as it cooks for a tasty, juicy result. If you prefer, you can use a bit of butter instead.
How to make the perfect basted egg
Crack eggs into a heated pan. Pour in a teaspoon of water and cover the pan with the lid for about 45 seconds for over-medium eggs. The water cooks the eggs perfectly, and no flipping is required.