The kitchen is really the castle itself. This is one of the places where we spend our happiest moments and where we find the joy of being a family. It is also a place where we could easily get frustrated after burning up some of our favorite meals or making a mess of the whole kitchen space. That could really be a pain especially for someone who is not a fan of the cooking. So, here are some amazing kitchen tips and tricks to make cooking easier and a much more pleasant experience:
- When wooden spoons and plastic lunch boxes don’t exactly look (or smell) like they used to, boil them in a pot of water with lemon juice and leave them lying in the sun to dry. For aluminium pans that are looking dull, just boil some apple peels in them. This will brighten
up the aluminum and make your house smell yummy.
- To banish ants from the kitchen, find out where they are coming in and cover the hole with petroleum jelly (Vaseline). Ants won’t trek through the jelly. If they are coming under a door, draw a line on the floor with chalk. The little bugs also won’t cross a line of chalk.
- To make your electric kettle shine again, rub it with foil paper dipped in a mixture of lime, water and baking soda.
- Use salt in cleaning your cast iron utensils to prevent rusting. When storing empty airtight containers, throw in a pinch of salt to keep them from getting stinky.
- Do you have plastic bowls with tomato stains? To avoid that in the future, rub some vegetable oil in the bowl before pouring in your tomato. To revive the old ones, place the bowl in the sun for a few hours, it would reduce the tomato appearance significantly.
- If you happen to over-salt a pot of soup, just drop in a peeled potato. The potato will absorb the excess salt.
- When boiling eggs, add a pinch of salt to keep the shells from cracking.
- To reuse cooking oil without tasting whatever was cooked previously in the oil, cook a chunk of ginger in the oil and the taste of what was previously cooked will be gone.
- If you cannot finish your fruits or plantain in one seating, spray lemon juice over the top and put in the fridge. This prevents rotting. Also, to prevent avocados from browning, place in a bowl of onions or squirt with lemon juice.
- To prevent grinded pepper, milk or water from spilling over while boiling them, place a long wooden spoon in or over the top of the vessel and the contents will not spill over.
- To make sure your okro/okra does not lose its resilience (to ensure it draws), do not cover the pot when cooking it. Same goes for your ewedu soups
- Never put citrus fruits (Oranges, Lemons, limes, etc.) or tomatoes in the fridge. The low temperatures degrade the aroma and flavor of these fruits.(That’s why our tomatoes don’t last in the fridge)
- If you are making gravy (stew or soup) and accidentally burn it, just 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.
- Burned a pot of rice? Just 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 the rice.
- If you aren’t sure how fresh your eggs are, place them in about four inches of water (enough to cover the eggs). 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, it’s past the fresh stage.
- Don’t store your bananas in a bunch or in a fruit bowl with other fruits. Separate your bananas and place each in a different location. Bananas release gases which cause fruits (including other bananas) to ripen quickly. Separating them will keep them fresh longer.
- If you manage to have some leftover wine, cocktail drinks at the end of the evening, freeze it
in ice cube trays for easy addition to sauces (white wine works wonders in sauces) in the future.
- Place boiled potatoes in cold water to remove skin easily. To keep potatoes from budding in the bag, put an apple in with them.
- To keep yams and potatoes white, slice and place them in a bowl of water before cooking. After boiling pasta or potatoes, cool the water and use it to water your house plants. The water contains nutrients that your plants will love.
- When defrosting meat from the freezer, pour some vinegar over it. Not only does it tenderize the meat; it will also bring down the freezing temperature of the meat and cause it to thaw
Every woman should have vinegar in her kitchen. You can use white vinegar to clean kitchen counters and steel cookers.
- Do you get teary while peeling off onions? Then try this. After peeling off your onions, refrigerate the onions for, at least, 5minutes, then dice it. You will be glad you did.
- If your salt is becoming lumpy, put a few grains of rice in with it to absorb excess moisture.
- Always keep an aloe Vera plant in your kitchen. It’s invaluable when you scrape your arm or burn your finger. Just break off a leaf and rub the gel from the inside on the injury. If you do not have aloe Vera, you can also use natural honey for this purpose as it is a great antibiotic.
- When making a soup or sauce that ends up too fatty or greasy, drop in an ice cube. The ice will attract the fat which you can then scoop out. This works wonders.
- If your milk always goes bad before you can finish it, try adding a pinch of salt to the carton when you first open it. It will stay fresh days longer.
- If two drinking glasses become stuck together after stacking, it’s not impossible to unstick them. Just put ice in the inner glass and dunk the outer glass in warm water. The warm glass will expand and the cold glass will contract, making the glasses separate easily.
- To squeeze out more juice from lemons, first place them in warm water for 20 minutes or microwave them for 1 minute.
- Wash your salad leaves with ice cold water to retain their crunchiness as well as their nutrients. If you use hot water to wash any vegetable leaves, the nutrients in them leech out into the water.
- To make your eggs look yellow and not white from outside, shake them vigorously before boiling them.
- Put chopped bitter gourd in salt water for at least 20 minutes before cooking it to do away with the bitterness.
- While making a dish, cook ingredients in this order: onion, garlic, ginger, tomatoes, and spices. It is based upon the time required in cooking them. Always put aromatic spices like cinnamon, mace and clove at the end of a recipe to retain the aroma of the spices. Red chili powder should also be put in the end to retain the rich color.
- To remove the smell of onion and garlic from your hands, rub them against a stainless steel vessel or your steel sink.
- To get crystal clear ice, boil water before freezing it.
- To prevent bananas from ripening quickly, cover their stem with a foil paper.
- Make homemade fruit and vegetable wash by mixing 2 tablespoons each of lemon juice and soda in a cup of water. Store veggies in air tight plastics inside the refrigerator to prevent their drying up.
- You don’t need to invest in an expensive garlic press to peel garlic, which is also mostly useless if you know these two tricks. Put the garlic in a jar and close its lid. Shake vigorously and you will be surprised to see that most of the skin gets removed in this process. You can also individually remove skin by rubbing the garlic clove against the kitchen slab and then peeling off the loose skin.
- To retain the freshness of nuts, refrigerate them. It also keeps their vitamins and oils intact.
I do hope this tips and tricks are helpful for you as they have been for me and others. If you would like to add more tips to this list, kindly note them in the comments section below. Knowledge is best when shared. Thanks!