20 life-changing genius kitchen hacks
When it comes to meal prep, short cuts are all the rage; from Jamie Oliver’s 15 Minute Meals to the 4 Ingredients cook book, we are all so time poor we’ll buy anything that claims to truncate the dinnertime cooking process in some way.
There are also a million and one ‘kitchen hacks’ going around the internet. Some are just elaborate alternate usages for innocuous kitchen items (coffee ice cubes, anyone?) and others involve bringing bathroom accessories into the kitchen in a way that may initially seem alarming (see points 17-19 below).
The point is, I have separated the wheat from the chaff and tried them all. Here, from me to you, are …
20 road-tested kitchen hacks
1. Melted marshmallow icing for cupcakes
Sometimes the icing thing is just a bridge too far; there’s the extra mixing bowl, the cleaning of the beaters only to use them again and then individually icing each cupcake.
But did you know you can just melt a marshmallow on top of the cupcake? If you’re feeling lazy, try this one at home.
Here’s the video as proof:
2. How to line a circular cake tin with baking paper
Usually I get out a pencil and trace around the base of the tin, then I cut that out and by that time, I’ve lost the will to live. Here’s a nifty trick that’s much simpler and doesn’t involve the frantic search for a pencil that isn’t a blunt nub.
Now here are five quick hacks collected together (with a video at the end)
3. Grate hard butter
So you’re making a cake and the recipe says, ‘Cream butter and sugar together’ and you look over and you realise you forgot to take the butter out of the fridge first. Guess what? You can grate it. It softens up really quickly and it’s easier to beat.
4. Oil the spoon when measuring out honey, molasses or golden syrup
That thing where you need to measure out a tablespoon of honey and then most of it sticks to the spoon. Oil it baby.
5. The best way to keep onions and garlic stored so they don’t go mouldy
A brown paper bag with holes punched into it, will keep them fresher for longer. Go figure?
6. Make frothy milk for your coffee (without a fancy coffee machine)
Got a jar with a lid? That’s all you need. Handy for when you go on holidays and the facilities are a bit ‘basic’.
7. The thing you need to know about your cling wrap box
This will change your life. There’s something you should have been doing, that you probably haven’t been doing and it will make cling wrap easier to dispense. (Watch the video to find out what.)
5 fruity hacks to try today
8. Use a drinking straw to hull strawberries
Makes sense: straw, strawberries. Why didn’t I think of that? (See the video for proof that it works.)
9. The best way to peel a mandarin and put it in lunch boxes
Creates a strip of mandarin pieces kids can eat without a fuss. Anything that makes them eat their fruit is worth that little bit extra. (See the video below).
10. How to stop apples going brown
No, it doesn’t involve lemon juice (because who wants an apple with lemon juice all over it?) It’s much better than that and it works. (See the video below.)
11. Lemon juicing tip #1
Use a cheese grater to catch all the pips and pith.
12. Lemon juicing tip #2
Use tongs to squeeze that sucker dry.
See them all in the video below.
And while we’re on fruit hacks, here’s this revolutionary ‘cut grapes in half’ tip that’s been going around. The same nifty trick goes for cherry tomatoes too.
13. The best way to cut a bunch of grapes in half
Three new ways to use your ice cube tray
14. Freeze chopped up herbs in olive oil for later use
Great for when you’ve splashed out on a sleeve of super-exxy herbs from the supermarket but only need a sprig.
15. Freeze stock to add to recipes a little at a time later
Good for leftover wine. If you ever have any, that is.
16. Make bite-sized frozen treats
There were many variations on this theme but here’s the best one, which I tweaked and perfected for you here.
17. Use a (clean and unused) showercap to cover bowls of food
I was dubious about this one. When I told my sister I was going to try it she looked me square in the eye and said simply, “Please don’t do that”. But I’ve always been a trailblazer, so I tried it and it was AWESOME. I don’t know why, but something about covering a bowl of food with a showercap is very satisfying and surprisingly functional. Here’s proof that I did it.
Two alternate uses for dental floss
18. Cut a sponge cake in half
Admittedly I really wanted to personally road test this, but alas I could not get my cakes to ‘rise’ high enough to create a cake that actually could be cut in half, sensibly, unless you count this abomination below that was supposed to be a sponge cake.
But if you can cook properly, cutting the sponge in half with dental floss looks totally nifty. See this clever lady (not me), who can clearly bake a mean sponge, do it below.
19. Use dental floss to cut soft cheeses
You know how it sticks to the knife? Apparently you can get ‘cheese wire’ to do that (go figure?) but it’s veryexpensive. So get all thrifty and use a piece of (fresh, unused) dental floss. See a demo below.
So you make some homemade cookies as a gift (translation: I was too cheap to buy you something) and then because you’re cheap you don’t want to give away one of your nice Tupperware boxes to ‘gift’ the cookies in, do you? So, make a little gift basket out of a paper plate! Try it, I did.
This article was written by Penny Flanagan for our sister company Kidspot.com.au and has been adapted for Kidspot.co.nz.