If you’re looking to step up your culinary game in 2020, we’ve got the dish on the most effective cooking hacks—easy to put in motion, even if you’re a beginner!
Tip #1: Always read (and re-read!) new recipes before you start cooking.
Before you say, “well, duh,” you’d be surprised how often home cooks skip reading over an entire recipe before making it for the first time. Since there’s often intermittent prep work in cooking and baking, it’s a good idea to have a mental blueprint prior to carrying out Step 1.
Tip #2: Store your spices in darkness when not in use.
Herbs, chilies, and spices lose their flavours more quickly when they are exposed to heat, as the flavourful oils can dry out under your bright kitchen lights. We’d also advise you to keep them away from the stove, especially away from overhead compartments that can be exposed to rising steam. Instead, store them in airtight containers or baggies in an out-of-the-way cabinet or your pantry to preserve the integrity of your spices. In this case, we have to fight the heat to keep the heat.
Tip #3: Slice out the core of the onion before you chop to prevent tears.
Much like carving a jack-o’-lantern, hollow out your onion by first slicing off the top root end. Then, using your knife, take out the inner bulb to chop rings or dice with ease! The inner bulb is the culprit behind watery eyes, as it contains a sulphur-based gas, which, when released into the air, makes contact with the moisture in our eyes, creating sulfuric acid. The more you know, right?
Tip #4: Store fresh herbs in a container filled with water in your refrigerator.
For cilantro and parsley that won’t wilt after just a few days, try propping them up by their stem ends in a mason jar filled with water, and cover the leafy ends loosely with a plastic bag. When it comes to basil, make sure it is stored in a room-temperature environment, as coldness can cause damage to this particular herb. And voilà! You’ve got crisp fresh herbs for at least 2 weeks.
Tip #5: Wet your finger with water to retrieve fallen eggshell pieces.
Yup, it’s that simple! Instead of muttering under your breath as you’re fishing for a stray eggshell from your cake batter with a wooden spoon, just dab a wet (clean) finger in the bowl. The water from your fingertip will magnetize to the eggshell. And one and done!
Tip #6: Keep butter and eggs at room temperature for baking.
Bring cold eggs and butter to room temperature at least 30 minutes (but up to 1 hour) before baking. Just take them out of the fridge, and set them aside! Or, if you’re really pressed for time, place cold eggs in a bowl of warm water for 15 minutes, and microwave sections of butter for a few seconds at a time until they’re just malleable.
Tip #7: Toss in an orange peel in brown sugar to prevent clumps.
To avoid chipping away at hardened brown sugar, just store your stock in a jar with an orange peel inside. The citrusy essence adds moisture and will soften the sugar and even sweeten it more, which we didn’t think was possible.
For other useful uses of orange peel, read this: 9 Unexpected Ways Orange Peels Are Way More Useful Than You Think.
Tip #8: Cook grains with tea-infused water for flavour.
Punch up the flavours of your quinoa, millet, brown rice or bulgur by cooking them in tea-infused water. The culinary expert behind this trick recommends smokey black teas, Earl Grey blends and chai flavours for robust taste.
Tip #9: Save a little pasta water to add to your homemade sauce.
After draining pasta, save the last half-cup of water if you’re making a sauce from scratch. The dissolved starch from the pasta water can thin out your sauce if it comes out too thick, and it can even out the consistency.
Tip #10: Store an apple wedge with your baked treats to keep them soft!
Cookies and other treats will absorb some of the apple’s moisture, keeping them soft and ready-to-eat for much longer.
For more cooking tips, stop by our store, and check out our impressive array of kitchen appliances. Whether you’re a novice in the kitchen or a seasoned pro, we’ve got something for everybody!
Amanda, Your Appliance Expert