It’s fun to watch Master Chef on TV and you can learn some new recipes and techniques on the show but you could be missing tricks you can use in the kitchen that make home-cooking easier, safer and faster. Cooking shows on TV are produced for entertainment, more than anything else. If you really want to be a master in your own kitchen then try practicing some of these kitchen hacks starting today.
Make tomatoes last longer – By the way, tomato is a fruit, not a vegetable
Tomatoes can rot quickly if you don’t take extra precautions. One of the misconceptions of keeping food fresh longer is to stick everything in the fridge. Yes, this sure applies to some items like dairy products meat and so on. The same does not apply to tomatoes. Keep them out of the refrigerator and store tomatoes in a basket with the stem end facing downwards if possible.
Overripe bananas – Never make eye contact while eating a banana!
Bananas usually come in clusters of 8 to 10 pieces and it can take a while before you can eat all of them. Unfortunately, most of the last remaining bananas will rot before you can consume them. A good way to preserve and stall the ripening process is to cover the ends of the bananas with plastic wrap. If you wish to do the opposite and make your green bananas turn yellow quickly, store them in a paper bag.
Check eggs for freshness – Rotten eggs are nasty!
The best way to find out if eggs are still safe to eat is to place them in a bowl of water before cracking the shells. Edible eggs will sink to the bottom of the bowl while rotten ones will float. This is a great way to identify the bad eggs from the good ones before you cook or mix them with other ingredients, preventing food poisoning and a bad stomach.
Remove fat from stews and soup – Save your arteries
There are several ways to remove unhealthy lard from soups and stews. One way is to use ice cubes wrapped in cheese cloth and skimming it along the surface. You can also remove floating fat with a ladle or spoon during or after cooking. This technique is easier to do if the lard has solidified on top of the food after storing it in the fridge overnight.
Slicing onions – Don’t cry for me Argentina!
One of the most common cooking problems is crying when preparing onions. Although the solution to this has been discusses many times in the past, some cooks say that only a few techniques actually work. So far, the best way to avoid crying over onions is to quickly peel off the skin of an onion under running water and immediately soaking it in a bowl or glass of cold water. Other tips suggest biting a piece of bread with the most part of it sticking out of your mouth while slicing the onion (I don’t think so!) or cooling the onion in the freezer for ten minutes before peeling and slicing. If all else fails, toss the onions in a food processor and step back or wear goggles!
Slicing and grating cheese – Cheesy solutions
Before grating cheese such as mozzarella or other semi-soft cheese, place the block of cheese in the freezer for half an hour. This hardens it a little bit and produces neatly grated cheese. To slice soft cheese neatly into a platter, use dental floss instead of a knife to prevent crushing pieces and slices of chèvre or brie.
Fastest way to peel garlic – Shake it Baby, Shake it!
If you need a few cloves of garlic, the most convenient way to get the skin off them is it to whack the pieces of garlic under a kitchen knife. This instantly makes the skin come off in one second. If you need a lot of garlic for a party dish, you can also place whole garlic bulbs in a jar with a lid. Shake the jar for a minute and the skin peels off like magic. The garlic cloves also stay intact and whole.