Kitchen Tips

  • Adding zest. In a recipe “zest” of citrus fruit, it refers to the colorful outer part of the skin, not the inner white part, which is better known as the pith. The zest contains all the aromatic citrus oils and provides a hint of citrus tang to the recipe. A simple and effective method of obtaining a fine zest is by rubbing the fruit against the smallest holes of a cheese grater.

ripe lemons with zest and grater on table

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  • Do experiment. Whenever you make a substitution or addition remember to make a note on the recipe, so you remember next time what you added and whether you liked the change or not.

crop cook seasoning dish in wok

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  • Salted butter vs unsalted butter. Butter is available with and without salt. The salt is added for extra flavor and to help preserve it. Sometimes the salt in butter can be more than what a recipe needs. Choosing unsalted butter gives you more control over the amount of salt your dish contains. If you only have salted butter, the best thing to do is omit approximately ¼ teaspoon of salt per ½ cup of butter used in the recipe.

person slicing butter with a knife

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  • Use the kitchen scissors. Use the scissors for trimming the fat from meat, opening pitas, or cutting the chicken into strips, consider using your scissors. It’s probably best to have a pair that are designated as food scissors only. Be sure to clean them well after each use because they do have crevices where bacteria can hide.

person holding cutting tool

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  • Keep your recipes organized. Keep things organized by finding a system for filing the recipes that you can keep close at hand in the kitchen. A great option is to buy a photo album where you peel back a plastic sheet and underneath is a sticky surface. This will make them easy to find and at any time you can remove or replace them!

close up shot of a red organizer on the table

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  • Stop foods from sticking to the pan. To keep food from sticking to the bottom of your pans, try to avoid ever putting cold foods into a hot pan. Also, don’t put food into a pan that is not 100% clean, otherwise, the resulting build-up could lead to burned food.

cast iron skillet on table with species

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  • Stop the water from boiling over. To keep pans from boiling over when cooking, add a thin layer of butter around the rim of the pan. This works great for rice, pasta, and potatoes.

spaghetti cooking in boiling water in saucepan

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  • Avoid the oozing egg whites. Eggs contain an air pocket at the larger, rounded end. When placed in hot water the air pocket expands and creates a higher atmospheric pressure within the egg than in the water. The shell cracks from the built-up pressure. Avoid this by removing eggs from the refrigerator and piercing the larger end with a pin. This will give the air a hole to escape through!

saucepan with eggs in boiling water

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  • Cut cakes perfectly every time. Dental floss can be used to slice bread and cakes for a perfect slice every time. This is also the easiest way to cut a layer of cake in half so you can add a filling. For best results freeze the cake before cutting it.

delicious biscuit roll with cream

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  • Get some more juice from citrus fruits. Roll the fruit under your palm on a hard surface. Press down as hard as you can as you roll. Slice it in half and squeeze. You’ll find you get significantly more juice to add lots of flavor to your dish.

selective focus photography of pure orange juice

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  • Peel garlic easily. Lay a clove flat on a hard surface and then press down hard on it with the flat side of a large knife. Once you’ve pressed hard enough the peel will separate. Even with this trick, your fingers will undoubtedly smell like garlic. Get rid of that odor by washing them well with salt.

person wearing gloves holding a knife chopping garlic

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  • Repair a cracked egg. If you have an egg that cracks while boiling, just add a capful of vinegar to the water and watch as the eggshell seals itself. Unfortunately, though, if the whites have begun to ooze out this trick won’t work.

saucepan with eggs in boiling water

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  • Make sure the oil is hot before frying. The key to frying is to get the oil hot before you put the food in. If you don’t get the oil hot, your food will absorb too much oil and taste greasy. To test whether the oil is hot enough for frying, throw in a drop of water or even a small piece of what you’re cooking. If it makes rapid bubbles, then it’s ready.

a bunch of potato slices frying in a stainless steel deep fryer

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  • Get the right temperature for deep frying. A simple way to find out if your oil is hot enough is to use a bread cube.  If the bread browns in a minute, the oil is between 350 and 365 degrees, 40 seconds – 365 and 382 degrees, 20 seconds – 382 and 390 degrees. Or, if you have one, you can use a thermometer. Just be sure that it is a metal thermometer designed for deep fryers.

a bunch of potato slices frying in a stainless steel deep fryer

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  • A substitution for eggs. You can substitute two tablespoons of real mayonnaise for a large egg in any recipe. Be sure not to use whipped salad dressing though unless you want the extra salt that it contains.
  • Interesting uses for apples. It’s best to keep apples stored separately from other fruits and vegetables because they give off gases that speed up ripening. But an apple wedge in a bag will soften clumped brown sugar overnight. It will also keep your potatoes from sprouting.

red apple

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  • Remove fat from soups. Remove the fat from homemade soups by tossing it in a few ice cubes. The fat will congeal around the ice, which can then be removed. This will cool the soup, so you may need to reheat it after completing the process.

white ceramic mug with soup beside spoon

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  • Serve the perfect punch. When serving punch, it is usually left on a table for everyone to help themselves so it should stay cold. Instead of ice, which will dilute the punch, freeze some of the punch in the ice cubes and use that.

refreshing drink poured into glasses and placed on table with apple and cinnamon sticks

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  • Always marinate food in a glass or ceramic dish. Most marinades contain an acidic ingredient such as lemon juice, vinegar, or wine that can react with metal and create off-flavors in your food. To save on clean-up, try marinating your fish or meat in a large plastic bag with a zip closure. Set the bag on a plate or in a shallow bowl and refrigerate, turning the bowl occasionally to distribute the marinade.

flatlay photography of white ceramic bowl

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  • Reduce those grease splatters. Reduce grease splatters by sprinkling hot grease with salt prior to adding the food to be fried. If this is not completely effective, you can buy grease splatter shields at kitchen stores.
  • Easily grate cheese. Put the cheese into the freezer for an hour before shredding. This will make the cheese hard enough to grate without compromising the taste or texture.

crop unrecognizable chef grating cheese in kitchen

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