Reviving stale cake with a hot water bath? Flipping a fresh pineapple upside down to make it juicier?
Designed to streamline the cooking process and/or get the most out of one’s ingredients, these are but 2 of the following 20 Quick and Simple Kitchen Hacks compiled by the team at Chef Works, the leading supplier of culinary apparel for professional chefs and home cooks alike!
1. Use dental floss to slice cheesecake. The secret to slicing cheesecake perfectly can be found…in your medicine cabinet. Really! Hold the floss taut, as you would to floss your teeth, and gently, with a slight sawing motion, slice through the cake. Clean slices! For best results, use plain (unscented) floss.
2. Spray or oil a measuring cup before measuring sticky ingredients to ensure easy release. Make sure you get all of the honey, molasses, or other sticky ingredient out of your measuring cup by spraying it with non-stick spray before measuring. It will ensure an easy release of sticky ingredients.
3. Store avocado with a sprinkle of lemon juice to keep it from turning brown. It’s as easy as sprinkling lemon juice on top of exposed surfaces of avocado or avocado slices. It will keep them looking green and tasting fresh for far longer.
4. Wrap the top of a bunch of bananas in plastic. Seriously! Wrapping the top of a bunch of bananas with plastic will prolong their life by a few days, and will slow down the browning process.
5. Run a knife under hot water for perfect bars, brownies, or cake slices. Run a knife under hot water, then dry using a kitchen towel or paper towel before slicing. The warmth of the knife will help it glide through the cake easily, for clean slices. Repeat, drying and cleaning off the knife between cuts.
6. Make cookie dough in advance and freeze it. Most cookie dough containing butter can be made in advance and frozen. For drop cookies such as chocolate chip, you can pre-portion dough into circles. For slice and bake cookies, you can form dough into logs then slice and bake as desired.
7. Combine herbs and oil or butter to make your own bouillon cubes. Start by combining butter or olive oil with enough herbs to form a thick paste. Form them into balls or cubes, wrap individually, and freeze or refrigerate. Voila–you have bouillon cubes ready to go when you are.
8. Bring stale cake back to life by placing it in a steam bath. Place a slightly stale cake, either by the slice or whole, above a pan of simmering water. Let it steam for a couple of minutes, not so much as to melt the frosting, but to add moisture to the cake. Serve immediately after doing this.
9. Freeze your broth in individual servings. If you’ve made homemade broth, separate it into common servings such as 1 or 2 cups, store in freezer bags marked with the amount or empty yogurt containers, and freeze. It will keep for months, and you’re ready to roll next time you want to make a soup.
10. Flip natural peanut butter before you open it to help the oil incorporate. If you love the taste of natural peanut butter but don’t care for the messy mixing of the nut butter and separated oil, flip the jar for several hours or overnight. It minimizes the annoyance of stirring to combine, meaning less fuss and mess for you.
11. Soften brown sugar with a slice of apple. Place a slice of apple in an airtight container with hardened brown sugar. Within hours it will soften the sugar. Once softened, use the sugar immediately.
12. Use a plastic bag with the end cut off for easy piping of icing. No piping bags? Not a huge problem. You can use heavy-duty freezer bags instead. Simply fill with frosting, cut the tip of the bag off in whatever size you’d like to pipe, and get to work. It won’t be as fancy as if you have a fancy decorating tip, but it will do the job for simple piping work.
13. Make your own confectioners’ sugar by grinding granulated sugar. You can make your own confectioners’ sugar at home with regular granulated sugar. Simply put granulated sugar in a blender, and blend for up to 30 seconds. It will grind the sugar into a super-fine, confectioners’ sugar consistency.
14. Use a bottle opener to open jars. If you’ve got a tough jar to open, use a bottle opener. Use it to gently pop the seal on top, making it much easier to open.
15. Combine vinegar and milk to make instant buttermilk. If you, like many, don’t use enough buttermilk to warrant buying an entire container, there’s an easy way to make it on command. Add 1 tablespoon of vinegar to a measuring cup and then fill with milk until the mixture totals one cup. Wait until it curdles for an easy DIY solution. Using the same ratio, you can make any quantity.
16. Store lettuce in paper towels. Storing fresh lettuce between paper towels will not only keep lettuce fresher far longer than just keeping it in the bag, but it will remain crisp and won’t get slimy.
17. Microwave citrus fruits for 10 seconds before juicing to release the most juice. Lightly warming citrus will help it soften and release more juice. Microwaving it for 10 seconds will help you get more juice out of each and every lemon, lime, or orange.
18. Store pineapples upside down. Store pineapples upside down for the best flavor: it helps the sweet juice which has sunk to the bottom of the fruit travel back up the fruit, making every single slice juicy and flavorful.
19. Pour hot milk into the “empty” peanut butter or Nutella jar for a tasty drink. Don’t throw out that nearly empty jar! Those hard to reach bits can still be employed to make a delicious beverage. Simply add warm milk, shake or stir, and enjoy.
20. Make your own yogurt by combining a few tablespoons of yogurt with cream or milk. Using the last few tablespoons of a container of yogurt as a “starter” you can combine it with a cup of cream or milk to create more yogurt. Use a bit of that yogurt as a starter for your next batch.