A Few of my Favorite Kitchen Tips

by Elizabeth on October 19, 2012

Here are a few of my favorite kitchen tips gathered over the years…some were passed down through family recipes, others I learned in culinary school, and the rest came from my favorite cookbooks and magazines as noted.

Image via Onceuponachef.com

1. Getting rid of a harsh oniony taste. If you (or your breath) are not a fan of raw onions, soak them in cold water for 10 minutes. You’ll be left with a milder taste and you’ll get some extra crispness too.

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2. Prolonging the shelf life of berries: This is one I use constantly. We’ve all experienced how quickly berries mold (sometimes you even find one or two in a brand new package) so this natural add-in will do the trick and ensure that your berries last a week. Rinse berries in a ratio of anywhere between 1:5-1:10  ratio of vinegar to water (I usually use white or apple cider vinegar). The ratio doesn’t have to be exact-I eyeball a tablespoon or so and fill the rest with water. Let them soak them for about 15 seconds before transfering them to a colander and rinsing well. There’s absolutely no residual vinegar taste and the shelf life will be extended. For best results store them in a paper towel-lined air tight container. *Washing produce in a mild water/vinegar solution is useful when preparing food for people with compromised immune systems. The vinegar will remove more bacteria than water alone. 

(image via enjoyeverydaygourmet.blogspot.com)

3. Getting rid of fruit flies: While we are on the subject of vinegar, here’s another one. If you have fruit flies, put a small bowl of vinegar mixed with a few drops of dish soap in the area where you find them.  I learned that fruit flies should more aptly be named vinegar flies as they’re attracted to the vinegar created when fruit ferments. I use apple cider vinegar but I think any kind should work. The vinegar attracts them and the dish soap prevents them from escaping. Source-Cooks Illustrated

(image via umamigirl.com)

4. How to make perfect hard boiled eggs – There are a lot of different techniques out there but this one works for me every time. Cover the eggs with two inches cold water and bring to a boil. As soon as it boils, turn off the heat and cover the pot. Set your time for 8 minutes and when the timer goes off they are done! Perfect consistency with bright yellow egg yolks. To make the peeling easier, crack the shells on the counter and place in a bowl of cool water for ten minutes. The water gets under the shell and loosens it. Another option is to cut the hard boiled eggs in half and peel.

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5. Shredding semisoft cheese. Anyone who has tried to shred soft cheese knows it can be a frustrating (and painful!) task. To make life easier, put the cheese in the freezer for 30 minutes before grating. Source-Real Simple Magazine

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6. Prevent your cutting board from sliding around on your counter. Take a sheet or two of paper towel and run it under the faucet. Lay the squares down on the counter and set your cutting board on top.

(image via the veggiemistress.blogspot.com)

 7. The easiest way to clean your greens. At Natural Gourmet we were taught to clean leafy greens by submerging them in a big bowl of water, then transfer them to another big bowl of fresh water and sometimes even to a third. It was thorough but a lot of work.  At home I find a good short cut to save time and equipment is using a salad spinner.  Put the greens in the salad spinner and fill with water until covered.  Remove the lining of the spinner with the greens and dump out the water remaining in the bowl. Rinse and repeat until the water runs clear. See a short video demo here

(image via Marthastewart.com)

8. Chill your white wine in a snap. When you get home at the end of a long day and need a glass of wine yesterday but don’t have any chilled, run a kitchen towel under the faucet and wrap it around the bottle before sticking in the freezer. The cloth will freeze and within minutes it will be ready to go. Source: Ramona Singer

(image via pearsgourmet.com)

9. Extend the shelf life of nuts. The oil in nuts oxidizes and turns rancid quickly when stored at room temp but will keep for months in the freezer. Store in an opaque airtight container. 

(image via Louisemellor.com)

10. An even faster (and more fun) way to prepare a pomegranate. The water method works well but I like this technique to remove the seeds. Just cut the pomegranate in half and place it cut side down into your upward-facing palm. Use a wooden spoon to hit the top of the pomegranate so the seeds pop out through your fingers and into the bowl. Your hand prevents the juice from splattering.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Megan October 19, 2012 at 4:14 p10

That’s a GREAT tip about the berries! I never thought of that….especially if it cleans them better since raspberries are more difficult to get clean than other berries!

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admin October 19, 2012 at 4:14 p10

Thanks Megan! I couldn’t believe Id never heard of it before either…enjoy!

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