If you’re the type who likes to make the most of your ingredients, streamline your time in the kitchen, cook more efficiently, read on. Today, we’re looking at expert kitchen tips that can help make our lives in the kitchen more successful and enjoyable.
To avoid strings on your bananas, peel them the way monkeys do: instead of peeling them from the stem end, pinch them at the bottom to open them, peel from that end, and enjoy your stringless banana. This didn’t matter much to me until I had toddlers, and then it suddenly mattered more than ANYTHING.
Amp up your morning eggs with vinegar: cook an egg sunny side up in butter or ghee , plate it, then drizzle a bit of vinegar into the hot pan (I like sherry vinegar here). The vinegar and remaining butter mingle and make a delicious sauce to pour over the egg.
Use dry vermouth in place of white wine when cooking. It keeps longer and is usually more economical, and in many cases, it tastes better. Just keep in mind it is has a higher alcohol content than standard white wine, so if you like to sip while you cook, go lightly.
Keep your good knives out of the dishwasher. They’ll keep their sharp edge longer if you simply hand wash and dry them with a soft towel after use.
Save money- a lot- by making your own vanilla extract. Buy vanilla beans in bulk, souse them in a large bottle with cheap vodka, and let it sit somewhere dark at room temperature for about six weeks before using. If you want a real treat, try it with Mexican vanilla beans.
Make salad dressings in mason jars. No need to break out a bowl and a whisk, plus a container to store any excess vinaigrette. Just shake all of the ingredients together in the jar for a perfect emulsification and store it in the fridge when you’re done.
If you constantly find yourself throwing out excess fresh herbs, try using them in compound butter, flavored oils, or flavored vinegars. You can also use them to make tisanes and flavored water, juice them with your green juice, pair them with fresh fruit or as a savory counterpoint to sweet desserts, as a garnish to something bubbly, and soft herbs can often be used en masse in salads.
To clean burnt stains from your stainless steel pots and pans, simply fill the pot with water (even just a few inches should do the trick) and boil for 10-15 minutes. This helps loosen the gunk from the pot, and you can often just wipe clean with a rag. If you need a little more help, scrub with a paste of baking soda and water (my preference), or use Bar Keeper’s Friend.
Save your broccoli and cauliflower hearts to make quick pickles. It sounds weird, but they’re delicious. Simply slice the trunks/cores of the vegetable thinly and submerge them in a basic brine, let them sit for a couple of hours to a couple of days before using, and then use as a crunchy condiment for sandwiches, burgers, or even on a cheese plate.
Find uses for your fresh fruit before it goes bad. All that fruit your kids/spouse/you totally thought you’d eat getting a wee bit wrinkly on the countertop? Salvage it in ways that can be saved for later. Harvest the zest and juice from citrus and freeze them (separately) for future baking projects and salad dressings. Make a simple quick stovetop jam or oven jam with berries or stone fruit and sugar- it’ll buy another week or two of time in the fridge, or you can store it in the freezer longer. Use apples for apple sauce (pears, too). Grapes can be frozen for a cold treat or roasted until a bit jammy and served with roasted chicken (roasting the grapes will buy you more fridge time), and you can even pickle them for a surprisingly tasty party snack.
Don’t throw away stale bread. Use it for breadcrumbs, croutons, bread puddings, and French toast, because French toast is ALWAYS better when made from stale bread.
Have a lot of milk that’s about to go bad? Make cajeta.
Get more out of your green onions. When you cook with green onions, leave about 1 inch of their root ends in tact, then replant them in a small pot. It will regrow!
If you have the option, buy your roots with the greens still attached. Things like beets and turnips are often sold with their edible green tops, giving you another healthy ingredient to use in the kitchen.
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