Cooking is a necessary task, but it can be a daunting one, especially when you’re feeling hungry. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. To make your cooking experience less stressful, we have compiled a list of kitchen hacks with the assistance of responses from an online forum.
1. Mise en Place
Like any task, cooking requires planning. Thankfully, mise en place can help. This multi-step technique requires reading the recipe thoroughly and preparing your workspace, equipment, and ingredients. Doing so will save much more time.
According to one, prepping ingredients can include cutting or chopping veggies first, putting them into prep bowls, and then adding proteins. “That way, the thing you need next is always ready, and you’ve minimized the risk of cross-contamination with bacteria.”
2. The Rag Race
The placement of rags and washcloths is much debated in the culinary community. According to a user, you should have your cleaning rags on hooks above the sink area. Having the washcloth on the sink makes it get in the way while being constantly wet. Similarly, another member suggests hanging your kitchen towel on a heightened reel so it’s never in the way, dries quickly, and can be reached super fast.
3. Stocking up on Stock
When one member makes chicken stock, they freeze it in ice cube trays and store the cubes in a freezer bag. Whenever they want to add extra depth of flavor to any sauce or dish, these stock cubes save the day. One-time prep goes a long way.
Another member recommends saving anything you can use in stock in a stockpot and making it yourself for your recipes. It’s easy, cheap, utilizes scraps, and has many uses.
4. Timely Cleaning
When cleaning the kitchen, how often have you thought, “Oh, I’ll save the work for one long go at the end; I like that way more.”? Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Many members swear by cleaning as you go along so you don’t have a messy kitchen.
Plus, a dirty kitchen only hinders your cooking, inevitably slowing you down. “It’s impossible to clean dishes in the sink when it’s piled up to the faucet,” points out a member. Hence, for a smooth cooking experience, one person always starts with a clean kitchen and an empty dishwasher.
5. Functional Placements
Organizing isn’t simply about making clutter vanish. It also means developing a handy system that improves your existing habits in the kitchen. You would want to keep objects where you use them.
For instance, a member recommends keeping a roll of waxed paper in the drawer by the microwave where you’re likely to use it instead of on the other side of the kitchen in the drawer with the foil and Saran wrap.
Another commenter finds that it may sound like the simplest thing, but it’s often forgotten: If you keep a bowl next to your cutting board or working area to put all food scraps in, you’ll end up cutting down on time for cleaning.
6. Declutter Diaries
The kitchen can become a black hole, sucking in numerous miscellaneous items and absurd gadgets you never use. This is concerning since you find everything but the very thing you need. Decluttering is the ultimate strategy. Getting rid of the access means you’re left with high-quality items you use regularly. Less clutter, more clarity!
7. Categorical Containers
Organizing your kitchen items and ingredients can save time in the long run. There are countless ways to do it. One member uses baby food jars for small amounts of spices and Looza juice jars for beans, tea, or herbs. Another person uses cheap ketchup squirt bottles with Teflon tape wrapped around the threads for cooking oils.
When discussing staples such as flour, a user mentions sorting them by type. To do so, they open and put the label inside the container instead of the outside. They find that sticking labels to the exterior is risky since the glue gives up, and you’re left wondering which is which.
8. Breaded Business
Many have found some curious ways of using gadgets to ease culinary complexities. One member’s Zojirushi breadmaker “can’t bake worth spit” but “kneads excellently well.” They prefer it over their Hobart-era Kitchenaid mixer for breadmaking. What’s impressive is that this appliance can be easily found cheaply at a garage sale, thrift store, or Craigslist.
Another member shares how they use a dough blender with blades to mash potatoes and smush cooked ground meat to “get the lumps out for things like tacos, sloppy joes, sausage gravy, etc.” Sounds much more convenient than doing it by hand!
9. Getting to the Grind
Speedy cooking is hardly possible without effective choppers and grinders. One commenter swears by their ChefPro dry/wet grinder for making ground spices, chutneys, and pastes. Though it handles small amounts, it performs much better than a blender for wet items and a coffee grinder for dry items.
Another one can’t stop raving about the Borner V-1001 V-slicer. It now takes them less time to slice onions than to peel them. “Hash browns are a regular thing with the thin julienne slicer.”
10. Out of Sight, Out of Mind
Many of us may end up stashing away helpful tools into that one godforsaken drawer. To avoid this issue, a commenter keeps the measuring cups, can opener, and jar opener separately, not tossing them into the utensil drawer along with the jumble. This makes it easier to lay hands on them.
11. Trust Issues: A Race Against Time
Time mismanagement isn’t just confined to office work. House chores and cooking are no exception. A member recommends using timers to prevent yourself from brooding or being carried away while cooking. Never trust yourself. One’s sense of time can be a fleeting affair.
12. Choppy Chops
Not all hacks are immediately applicable. Some things will take time to learn but will make your life easy in the future. Countless commenters recommend honing your cutting skills. Different techniques for cutting vegetables, fruits, meats, and more exist. Such knowledge will save you time while making cutting a safer experience.
13. Tomato Tragedies
Speaking of cutting, did you know there’s a right way of peeling a tomato? Yes, it is possible, and no, you don’t have to make a deal with the devil to learn this skill.
Fortunately, a member bestows us with the ultimate secret: To peel a tomato cut an “X” on the bottom and drop it in boiling water for a few seconds. Then, take it out and into an ice bath, and the skin slides right off.
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