No matter how experienced you are as a chef, chances are there are some tips out there that could still make your life just a little bit easier. You could be a great cook and still want to learn methods to streamline your process, to get things done a little faster or just have things run a little more smoothly. If this sounds like you, we’re going to use this opportunity to step in and help out.
With no further ado, here are 10 simple kitchen secrets that help you become a pro chef.
1. Use your ice trays to freeze all kinds of leftovers.
If you’re like most of us, you’re only using your ice trays to keep water frozen. Still, you can use them for so much more! If you’re feeling creative, pour some chopped herbs and olive oil into each one of the ice trays for ready-made portions of herbs to add while cooking. You can even do the same with cooking wine or chicken broth as well.
2. Throw your bananas in the oven to ripen them faster.
As you may already know, banana bread often turns out better when the bananas are extremely ripe and falling apart. But what if you want to make banana bread and don’t have any near-rotting bananas on hand? To quickly ripen them, throw some bananas in the oven at 325 degrees for 25 to 35 minutes. When they come out, they should be soft enough to use right away.
3. Freeze your meat for easier dicing.
Many recipes call for finely chopped bacon or steak. Still, trying to trim these meats when they’re warm is tricky (and even trickier if you don’t have a super sharp knife). To get around this, throw your meat in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes before cutting it to firm it up. It should be much, much easier to slice when it comes out.
4. Use a wine bottle as a rolling pin.
Don’t have a rolling pin handy? An empty wine bottle can accomplish the exact same thing, no problem.
5. Try a glass as a cookie cutter.
Although some of us probably have all kinds of decorative cookie cutter shapes, sometimes you’re in a pinch and you don’t have any handy. In these cases, you can make some basic cookies with a glass and a little bit of flour. Just make sure you dip the rim of the glass in a dish of flour before cutting cookies and everything should turn out perfectly.
6. Grate your cold butter for easier use.
If you like to keep your butter in the fridge, you may notice that it’s often too hard to spread or use right away in many different recipes. To fix this problem quickly without microwaving, try grating your hard butter onto a tray. It will spread more easily onto bread and the finer chunks also mix better into certain baking recipes.
7. Test your eggs’ freshness using water.
Do you have an old carton of eggs hanging around that you’re not sure about? If so, you can always do the water test. Get a glass of water and carefully drop an egg in it. If it sinks to the bottom, that egg is good to eat. If it floats to the top, that egg is no good.
8. Make simple creamy popsicles.
Do you buy any of those pre-packaged. single-use yogurt cups? If so, you’re well on your way to an easy and delicious dessert. Simply get a plastic spoon and stab a hole through the yogurt foil with it to submerge it in the yogurt. Throw the whole thing in the freezer for a few hours. When it comes out, you’ll have your own delicious popsicle ready to eat.
9. Peel garlic the easy way.
Let’s face it: nobody likes to manually peel each clove of garlic. Fortunately, there’s a simple way to get around this that not enough people know. To make your life easier, throw your garlic in a sealable container, peels and all, and vigorously shake it for a minute or so. When you open it up, all the peels will be magically separated from the cloves.
10. Try microwaving your citrus before juicing it.
As you may know, juicing lemons and limes can be pretty challenging because the rinds are so hard. We often feel like we’re wasting juice whenever we buy them. To fix this, try microwaving these fruits with their peels on in the microwave for about 30 seconds before juicing. This will loosen everything up and make the process much easier.
Have you given any of these tricks a try? Leave a comment and let us know what you think.
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