This marks a shift from my usual recipe sharing—a compilation of my cherished kitchen hacks. My culinary journey has been peppered with shortcuts and time-saving strategies that have seamlessly integrated into my routine. The genesis of these insights often stemmed from a heightened awareness of wastage. Discarding food due to spoilage or being rendered unusable pains me deeply. Additionally, the pursuit of time efficiency has birthed some of these kitchen revelations.
Distilling years of gathered wisdom into a mere ten was an arduous task! I anticipate this being just the inaugural unveiling of a series dedicated to the art of kitchen hacks. So, here they are, presented in no particular hierarchy:
- Shield Unused Burners with Aluminum Foil While Cooking
As a self-confessed messy cook, my culinary escapades often involve splattering. Instinctually, I place a quadruple layer of robust aluminum foil over my burners, tailored to fit the back and front ones. While I cook on the front burner, these foil shields adorn the rest, facilitating expedited post-cooking clean-ups. A swift wipe down of the foil, a deft fold, and it’s stowed away, reusable for multiple rounds.
- Employ Baker’s Grease for Effortless Cake Extraction
Traditional oil sprays or butter didn’t quite meet my standards, especially in the realm of Bundt cakes. Enter Baker’s Grease—an enchanting kitchen elixir that aids in effortlessly greasing my pans for various cakes, including the decadent chocolate ones. Its simplicity in preparation and shelf life in the fridge for months have made it a staple. A blend of equal parts of all-purpose flour, vegetable shortening, and vegetable oil, stored refrigerated in varying quantities as per necessity.
- Accelerate Onion Browning with a Pot Lid
For sumptuous curries like Indian Chicken Curry, achieving that perfect deep golden hue for onions, garlic, and ginger is paramount. While browning demands time, I’ve discovered that covering the pot expedites the process, albeit requiring vigilant stirring to prevent rapid burning. Experience taught me the perils of neglecting this task—what was meant to save time could swiftly spiral into an unexpected waste.
- Neatly Slice Brownies with Disposable Plastic Knives
Ever encountered the plight of attempting to cut brownies with a regular knife, only to witness their disintegration? To salvage the presentation, I now rely on disposable plastic knives stashed in my utensil drawer—a game-changer for achieving clean, presentable brownie squares.
- Preserve Herb Freshness in a Half-Filled Glass Jar
The woeful fate of wilted and soggy herbs stored in the refrigerator no longer plagues me. Embracing the method of retaining basil, cilantro, and other fresh herbs in water-filled glass jars has prolonged their freshness, steering clear of forgetful oblivion.
- Substituting White Vermouth for White Wine in Recipes
Invariably, an open bottle of white wine poses a preservation challenge. Opting for white (dry) vermouth as an economical and efficient substitute in recipes requiring white wine has been a revelation. The cost disparity between a bottle of quality vermouth and white wine significantly tilts in favor of the former.
- Prolong Mushroom Freshness in a Refrigerated Paper Bag
Mushrooms, while delightful in dishes, possess a precarious shelf life. My solution involves housing them in a sealed paper bag within the refrigerator’s produce drawer—a moisture-absorbing sanctuary that extends their lifespan beyond the confines of standard containers.
- Craft Buttermilk with Milk and Vinegar Fusion
Times when buttermilk reserves run low during weekend baking sprees call for a quick fix. A tablespoon of white vinegar added to milk, left to meld for approximately 10 minutes, produces a suitable substitute for culinary endeavors.
- Employ a Bread Piece to Soften Hardened Brown Sugar
The travails of using hardened brown sugar in recipes led me to experiment. Inserting a piece of bread into the container alongside the sugar, sealed airtight, worked wonders in revitalizing its texture—eliminating concerns of mold formation, as the bread merely dries out and can be replaced.
- Opt for a Silicone Spatula for Flawless Scrambled Eggs
For years I used a regular spatula or a large wooden spoon to make scrambled eggs. These utensils would leave behind a thin layer as I scrambled the egg, and there would be dried up bits of scrambled egg left on the pan. A silicone spatula does a much better job of lifting and folding the eggs and leaves the pan super clean. Less work and less waste!
Embark on your kitchen adventures with these hacks, and do share your go-to tips with us!