37 Sanity-Saving Kitchen Tips

kitchen tips

Over the years I have gathered a lot of tips and tricks to use in the kitchen. I love anything that makes the considerable time I spend in my kitchen easier, cheaper and more efficient. Here are a few I’ve posted about in the past: The Secret To Perfect Shredded Chicken In SecondsHow To Soften Butter Quickly (Without Using The Microwave), The World’s Easiest Way To Cut A Mango, How To Keep Sliced Apples Fresh Longer, and Crafting The Perfect Cinnamon Roll.

Whether you’re a beginning cook or a home chef pro, we could all use a little help in the kitchen from time to time. These 37 kitchen hacks are some of my favorites and will save your time and your sanity.

 

kitchen tips

  • Neutralize garlic and onion smelling hands by rubbing them with lemon juice, baking soda, or simply rub them on a stainless steel spoon (or on your stainless steel sink). When you touch the material, the molecules in the steel bind with the stink-causing molecules (such as sulfur from garlic).
  • If you accidentally add too much salt to the soup, just drop in a peeled potato. The potato will absorb the excess salt.
  • To clean an electric kettle with calcium buildup on the heating element, boil a mixture of half white vinegar and half water, then empty.

 

kitchen tips

  • To test the freshness of your eggs, place them in about four inches of water. Eggs that stay on the bottom are fresh. If only one end tips up, the egg is less fresh and should be used soon. If it floats, throw it out.
  • If you accidentally burn the gravy, pour it into a clean pan and continue cooking it. Add sugar a little at a time, tasting as you go to avoid over-sugaring it. The sugar will cancel out the burned taste.
  • To rescue a burnt pot of rice, place a piece of white bread on top of the rice for 5-10 minutes to draw out the burned flavor. Be careful not to scrape the burned pieces off of the bottom of the pan when serving.

 

kitchen tips

  • Soak your popcorn kernels in water for 10 minutes before popping, drain the water, then pop as normal. The additional moisture helps the popcorn pop up quicker and fluffier with fewer “old maids.”
  • Store bananas separate from other fruit and separate from each other! Bananas release gases which cause fruits (including other bananas) to ripen quickly. Separating them will keep them fresh longer.
  • To keep potatoes from budding in the bag, put an apple in it.
  • Save the water after boiling pasta or potatoes, allow it to cool, and then use it to water your houseplants. The water contains nutrients that plants will love.

 

kitchen tips

  • When defrosting meat from the freezer, pour some vinegar over it. It tenderizes the meat and brings down the temperature of the meat, causing it to thaw quicker.
  • The substance in onions that causes your eyes to water is located in the root cluster of the onion. Cut this part out to reduce the amount of eye discomfort.
  • Activated charcoal is much better at absorbing fridge and freezer odors than baking soda.
  • To clean vases and pitchers, which are impossible to reach with a scrub brush, fill with water and drop in two Alka-Seltzer tablets. The bubbles will do the scrubbing.

 

kitchen tips

  • Next time you burn yourself, spread mustard on the affected area. After a few minutes it will begin to ease the pain and prevent blistering.
  • Keep lettuce fresh by wrapping it in a clean, dry paper towel and storing in a resealable plastic bag in the fridge.
  • Remove excess fat from stocks, stews, and sauces by skimming a few ice cubes (wrapped in a paper towel or cheese cloth) along the surface of the liquid. The ice helps the fat solidify, making it easier to remove with a spoon or a piece of toast.
  • Try adding a pinch of salt to your milk carton when you first open it. It will stay fresh days longer.

 

kitchen tips

  • If two drinking glasses become stuck together after stacking, put ice in the inner glass and submerge the outer glass in warm water. The warm glass will expand and the cold glass will contract, making the glasses separate easily.
  • Toss a dried lasagna noodle into a sauce that is too runny. The pasta will absorb the extra liquid without changing the taste or consistency of the sauce. Discard the wet noodle before serving, of course!
  • Keep mashed potatoes warm for up to two hours by placing them in a heatproof bowl and setting the bowl over a pot of simmering water. Cover with a lid or foil. The steam from the water will keep them warm, with no risk of burning.

 

kitchen tips

  • Press a piece of wax paper onto the top of your ice cream before you put the lid back on the pint. This will help prevent condensation from forming an unpleasant icy crust on your Haagen Dazs.
  • Rejuvenate softened sliced cucumbers, radishes, celery and carrots by tossing them with ice cubes and a pinch of salt and placing them in a colander fitted inside a bowl. Chill in the refrigerator for an hour or so, then pat dry and enjoy your crunchy veggies.
  • To prevent bread from going stale, put a piece of fresh celery in the bag and close it back up.

 

kitchen tips

  • To help ensure freshly baked cakes don’t stick to the bottom of the cake pan, let the pan cool on a damp towel for a few minutes just after it comes out of the oven. Then loosen the sides and invert onto a platter; your cake should slide out easily.
  • Almost every baking recipe calls for eggs and butter at room temperature. To speed this process along for eggs, place them in a bowl of warm water for 5-10 minutes and you’re ready to get cracking.
  • For the butter, cut the butter into tiny pieces and leave them out on the counter for about an hour. Or, place a whole, wrapped stick of butter in a re-sealable plastic bag. Float in a bowl of hot water until soft.

 

kitchen tips

  • When you’re out of buttermilk, make your own by combining 1 tablespoon of lemon juice with 1 cup milk. Stir and let stand for 10 minutes.
  • If your baked good recipe calls for nuts or berries, toss them with flour before adding to the batter to keep them from settling to the bottom of the pan.
  • If you have spare egg yolks or whites and need a whole egg for a recipe, either mix 2 egg yolks with 1 tablespoon water, or mix 2 egg whites with 4 tablespoons vegetable oil.

 

kitchen tips

  • Instead of plastic wrap, use shower caps to cover bowls, loaves of bread, plates, etc. Rinse (if necessary), dry, and reuse!
  • When making toasted sandwiches place two pieces of bread in a single toaster slot for a slice that’s crispy and warm on the outside yet soft and chewy in the middle.
  • Scoop up bits of broken eggshell from batter or a bowl of cracked eggs with half of an eggshell. The shell acts as a magnet to draw up shell pieces without wasting too much egg.
  • When roasting items such as French fries and veggies, pre-heating your cookie sheet eliminates the need to flip halfway through. NOT suggested for baked goods like cookies.

 

kitchen tips

  • Sour cream and cottage cheese have a short shelf life, usually 7-10 days after being opened. But if you want to store one of them for longer, then all you need to do is invert the container and keep it in the fridge.
  • Avoid plastic wrap frustration by storing the roll in the fridge. Chilling the wrap makes it easier to handle and transport from the roll to your bowl.
  • When wooden spoons don’t exactly look (or smell) like they used to, boil them in a pot of water and leave them lying in the sun to dry.

 

What are your favorite kitchen tips and tricks? 

 

 


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Comments

  1. Joanne says

    holy cow…I’d never heard of many of those and if they actually work (and i can remember them all) they will make life much easier/cost effective/efficient. Thank you!

  2. linda says

    I have found that undressed cut salad stays fresh if you line the storage bowl with a paper towel and also cover the top with paper towel before sealing with the lid. Stays crisp and fresh , even if there are cukes and tomatoes in the salad.

    • Becky says

      Oh cool! I know that is the best way to keep strawberries fresh for ages, so I should have thought of this! Thanks!

  3. Sandi says

    I love household tips……some of these I’ve used but many are new to me……saving these in my file …..thanks

  4. Susan D says

    I use clothes pins on anything in a bag…cereal, crackers, chips etc. Keeps them much fresher and neater. How many times have you looked in a box of cereal and the bag is not folded over tight and now it’s all stale?!

  5. Jenna says

    Freeze fresh ginger root:
    Place your unpeeled ginger in a freezer-safe container; label it; and pop it in the freezer. It’s really that simple.
    To use your ginger:
    Simply remove a piece from the freezer, and grate as much as you need. There’s no need to thaw it first; in fact, frozen ginger is actually easier to grate than fresh.

  6. Nerida says

    Hi Jillee,

    In your post ’37 Ways To Keep Food Fresh Longer’, you say:

    “Avoid separating bananas until you plan to eat them – they spoil less quickly in a bunch. Store bananas at room temperature until they ripen. Freeze over-ripened bananas for use in banana bread and other baked goods.”

    But in this post you say:

    “Store bananas separate from other fruit and separate from each other! Bananas release gases which cause fruits (including other bananas) to ripen quickly. Separating them will keep them fresh longer.”

    Have you tried both methods? Which one works best? I’ve always stored any fruit on a stem, including tomatoes, on the stem until I use them and I’ve found they usually last longer. But I’ve never thought to separate bananas from the stem to slow the ripening.

    • liz says

      They spoil more quickly in a bunch, unless you manage to cover the stems. The stem is where the gas is released. Ever notice how organic bananas have their stems covered? And seem to last forever? Yeah, that’s why. I just used a plastic grocery sack and wrapped it around the stems and tied it off. It helped some. I bet if u dipped them in wax or something it would help alot. But, seriously, who would take the time or effort to do that? So, i just buy smaller bunches more often and I don’t have that problem.

    • says

      Thanks for pointing that out Nerida!! I didn’t even realize that I’d posted contradictory tips. I think the method in today’s post is actually the best :-)

      • BaseballMomOf3 says

        That explains why when you get a fruit basket delivered the bananas always have no stem and last like plastic ones!

  7. Kathy says

    Instead of Alka-Seltzer, I use Denture Cleaning Tablets to clean everything from vases to baked on food. It’s really good for cleaning baby bottle nipples and straws for covered water bottles.

    • Janet Urquhart says

      I too like to use denture tablets to clean my travel mugs from tea stains. I used to use hot water, dish soap, bleach and let sit overnight. Rinse in the morning, let air dry & then use.

      Now all I do is fill with hot water, plop in a tablet, let sit overnight. In the morning I lightly run a bottle brush in it, rinse and use. Absolutely love it! I even use it on my regular tea cups.

    • Janet says

      I use denture cleaning tablets to clean my travel mugs to clean off . .. . I used to fill with hot water, soap, capful of bleach and wait overnight. Rinse really well in the morning and let air dry.

      Now all I do is fill with hot water, plop a denture tab in and wait overnight, give a little swish with a bottle brush and use.

      • CTY says

        Sorry to leave the kitchen—Denture tablets will also clean the toilet bowl. Flush to make sure the whole bowl is wet. Crush a tablet and sprinkle on the bowl stain areas (sometimes a whole tablet in the standing water part too). The wet surface should be enough to start the fizzing (if not mist plain water on it). I let it bubble a bit & then use the toilet brush on it. This is particularly effective after a clog has been cleared and the plunger/snake has left marks. I have also dissolved a tablet in the tank part to clean it.

  8. Mari says

    Wow! This is my new kitchen bible. I can only remember a few tips right now and they’re not as awesome as the ones in this list but:

    •We keep cereals in the fridge instead of the pantry. This keeps them fresh for AGES without going stale. Don’t even need a clip.
    •Whenever I have to peel a tomato I cut a shallow “x” on the top, boil for under a minute and dunk in ice water and the peels come right off.
    •To keep weevils from appearing in your grains or flour, store them in the freezer for at least 5 days before moving to their usual location.
    •If your stainless flatware ever rusts, leave submerged in lemon juice for less than an hour and the rust will be gone.

    Sorry for the length but I hope this does some good!

  9. liz says

    For the pasta water tip, make sure you don’t salt the water! If you pour salted water on your plants, it will kill them. Also, you can put used really bags in cold water and use the diluted yea to water them

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