Cooking at home is great, but sometimes it can be a hassle, both for your precious time and your precious dollars. Follow these genius tips to help you save both, so you can focus on what you really love to do.
Break It Off
It’s a great idea to stock up on ground beef when it’s on sale to keep stored in the freezer. Before throwing the whole package in, cut the meat into equal sections so you can easily just break off what you need when you need it.
Get the maximum use out of your vegetable peeler by using if for more than just your carrots and potatoes. It is also super handy to make small curls of butter, cheese or chocolate, and also works nicely to peel off the outer layer of limes or lemons as a fun garnish for your cocktails.
Don’t Pitch It, Reuse It
When you finish that jar of pickles don’t just drain the juice! You can use the leftover brine to pickle your own veggies (cucumbers, green beans, etc.). Simply par-boil, place in the jar and let sit in the refrigerator for a few days.
Accidentally over-bake those cookies just a bit? Instead of wastefully throwing out the whole batch, use your trusty microplane to remove the burnt bottoms. No one will ever know.
Bye Bye Hull
Instead of lopping off the top of the strawberry with a paring knife, quickly and easily hull the strawberry using a drinking straw. This produces the least waste and keeps the shape of the fruit in tact.
Measuring and serving thick and sticky ingredients like peanut butter, syrup, or honey can leave you with a big mess. To get rid of the stick, simply spray your measuring cup first with a thin layer of non-stick cooking spray.
Get It Right
We all love our microplanes, but chances are you may not have been using them to their fullest potential. Instead of furiously scraping back and forth, flip the microplane over so the underside is facing you and zest upward. Not only will you neatly keep the zest together instead of all over your counter, but you will also preserve that precious citrusy oil so that it ends up in your dish for added flavor instead of all over your hands or cutting board.
Store bought cooking sprays can often contain a list of extra ingredients that you may want to avoid. Plus it’s just one more thing you have to buy. You can easily make your own by placing 1 part olive oil (or oil of choice) to 4 parts hot, boiling water in your own spray bottle. Just make sure to shake well before each use.
Break The Mold
Those little heart-shaped molds are nice for Valentines Day, but not much else. If you want a unique and rustic looking mold, you can use brown sugar! Pack the sugar into a pan, indent with the object of your choice, then pour in the melted chocolate. Voila!
Butter It Up
Ever walk into the kitchen to start baking only to remember you forgot to take out the butter early to soften it? A quick solution is to grate your cold butter! It will soften much faster and incorporate more easily. Grated butter also works wonderfully in recipes that call for you to “dot” the butter.
Revive and Re-crisp
Got some celery going a little limp? Crisp it back to life by simply trimming the top and bottom and placing it upright in a jar of ice-cold water. This method also works great to re-crisp broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus and spinach.
Ripe To The Point
Got a bunch of nearly-green bananas but you just have to make that banana bread RIGHT NOW? Get those suckers ripe fast by placing them in the oven at 350 degrees for about five to seven minutes. They will be perfectly ripe and ready to go.
Store And Pour
Buying out of the bulk bins is great, but all those loose plastic bags can be a hassle. Instead of spending a ton on plastic containers, you can “MacGyver” your own bottle top for easy storage and pouring. It’s also a great way to reuse those old plastic bottles. Airtight Seal For Plastic Bagged Foods
Master The Wrap
Sometimes plastic wrap does not want to be your friend. Make it easier to unroll by storing it in the freezer; this will make it much easier to control. If you’re having issue getting it to stick to a bowl, try wetting the rim first with a little water to help it cling on.
Grating your own cheese is not only cheaper, it TASTES better too. Though, grating a block of cheese can be a serious workout for your arm. To make the job easier, spray your grater with non-stick cooking spray first to help the block of cheese effortlessly slide back and forth.
In The Pits
If you want to quickly and easily pit cherries but don’t want to waste the money or deal with the hassle of a cherry pitter, all you really need is an empty bottle and a chopstick. Place the cherry on the bottle with the stem facing up. Remove the stem, and with the wide side of the chopstick gently push the pit into the bottle.
Suck It — DIY Vaccuum Sealing
Save money on preserving produce and/or dropping hundreds on an expensive vacuum-seal machine with this super easy tip. Simply place your food in a Ziploc bag, seal up most of the way, then suck out the excess air with a straw. Quickly seal and you’re good to go!
Tried And True
Have a container of baking powder or soda on your shelf that you’re not sure how long it’s been there? To make sure that it is still fresh (and active) you can test it by adding a quarter tsp to a half cup of boiling water. If it quickly bubbles, you are good to go. It if only slightly frizzes or doesn’t react at all, its time to pitch it.
To quickly defrost meat try placing it on an aluminum tray. The metal is an excellent conductor of heat and can help cut your defrost time by up to 30%, which is much faster than leaving it on a ceramic plate or a cutting board.
Hang It Up
Save counter space and keep that precious cookbook clean from splatters by using a two-clips pant hanger to hold it up. This will also make it easier to read as well.