Who Knew? Helpful Kitchen Tips #2

Who Knew? Helpful Kitchen Tips #2

In our second installment of Who Knew? Helpful Kitchen Tips, here are ten simple fixes for common kitchen dilemmas. I’ve also included a few fabulous tips that readers shared on my last Who Knew? post. Do you have a useful kitchen tip? Please share in the comments below!

1. Keep your fresh herbs around longer by treating them like flowers. Store them with the stems submerged in water like flowers in a vase. Cover loosely with plastic bag and store in the refrigerator or at room temperature away from direct sunlight. This will help your herbs keep fresher longer.

2. Before browning meat, soak up any excess moisture with a paper towel. Too much moisture will steam instead of sear and you’ll miss out on that tasty browned outer crust.

3. If you need to add more oil to your skillet while sautéing, stream it in along the sides of the pan. This gives the oil a chance to heat up before it reaches the ingredients you’re cooking.

4. Next time you make mashed potatoes, drain them and return them to the hot pan, cover with a lid, and let them sit for a few minutes. They’ll dry out a bit, which will help to soak up any added liquids (like butter and cream!) when mashing.

5. If your soup or sauce begins to collect a layer of fat across the top, throw in an ice cube or slide one over the surface with a slotted spoon. It will attract the fat and make it easier to remove.

6. The weather is heating up and that means ice cream! But nobody likes a drippy cone. Put a marshmallow or a chocolate chip in the bottom of your ice cream cone so that you don’t lose a single drop of frozen, creamy goodness.

7. If you’re squeezing citrus by hand, roll it back and forth between your palm and the kitchen counter for a few seconds. This gets the juices flowing and ensures that you’ll get the most out of your lemons and limes.

8. If your cupcake or muffin recipe doesn’t fill your entire muffin tin, put a few teaspoons of water in the empty muffin cups to protect your pan from unnecessary direct heat, which can warp your pan and age it faster.

9. Measuring honey or molasses? That stuff is sticky! Spray your measuring cup or spoons with a little nonstick cooking oil before measuring, and it will glide out smooth as silk.

10. My standing mixer is so beautiful, I hate to mess it up! To avoid splatters and difficult cleanup in the nooks and crannies, wrap plastic wrap around the top of your mixer while you’re using it and remove when you’re finished. It will still be clean and sparkling!

Reader Tips

Here are a few of my favorite tips that were shared by readers on the last installment of Who Knew!

I have a key lime tree that produces a good crop and I’m happy to share the fruit, pies, limeade and margaritas with friends. Any extra fruit gets squeezed and the juice frozen in ice cube trays. Once the cubes are frozen, they can go into freezer bags for later use when the tree is bare. I would think this method could be applied to most fruit you might be growing in your garden. ~Mary

If you place a head of garlic in a bowl and get another bowl the same size to cover it, you can shake the garlic head vigorously and it will self peel. ~Marjorie Weisman

If your tomato sauce is too acidic or needs a touch more sweetness add a peeled carrot to the sauce while its simmering and it’ll fix it right up!!! Works every time!!! ~Robyn

Do you have a favorite kitchen tip to share? Leave it in the comments below. Your tip might be featured in my next installment of Who Knew!

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  1. While at the farmer´s market a few years ago, one of the vendors suggested that basil should sit out on the counter in a vase of water. Water should be changed everyday and the vase should not be in direct sunlight. Also helps if you trim off lower leaves so only stems are in the water. The fridge is usually too cold for basil.

  2. I cut the base of my celery and place the ends in a tall glass jar with enough water to cover the ends and keep in the fridge. I change the water every day or two. Stalks are ready to grab for cooking or snacking and stay crisper longer.

  3. Cut the base of celery and place the ends in a glass jar or other tall container. Fill with enough water to cover the ends and keep in the fridge. Change the water every day or two. Stalks are ready to grab for cooking or snacking and stay crisper longer.

  4. Yes this really does work well- with all sorts of herbs – another way to store them is to place them dry in a glass bottle (must be glass) in the fridge, well sealed – they seem to keep for ages like this.

  5. So true Gilly! Unless you´re living in an extremely hot climate without air conditioning, most fruits should be stored outside the fridge. They taste much better that way!

  6. Wow. Love #10, but I’ll have to scrub it well now before I do that!

    No need to cover herbs with plastic (#1) — they stay for a long time in just the water. I put them in a small mason jar in the door shelf. And you can mix herbs in the jar, just don’t forget to change the water once in a while.

  7. That garlic tip was amazing. I thought “no way this will work!” But what did I have to loose for giving it a try? And just earlier that day I was saying “peeling garlic is one of my least favorite cooking activities!” Well… it worked! pure genius!!

    Thanks for {re}sharing.

  8. Another tomato tip – when you are storing them on your counter, which you should ALWAYS do to avoid mealy, icky tomatoes, sit them on their bottoms. The stem end of the tomato is delicate and you can bruise them when you store them top down. I keep mine in a pretty glass dish and get decoration from them while storing :)

  9. On a cold day you can have a great pea soup in minutes if instead of using dried peas you use a bag of frozen petite peas in your recipe. It also tastes so much yummier…

  10. To quickly clean potatoes, use showe/bath gloves. They are really cheap(I use old ones). In addition to cleaning potatoes,you are exfoliating your hands at the same time!

  11. Fresh eggs are almost impossible to peel when hard boiled. There is a solution: As soon as you remove them from the stove, pour off the boiling water and immerse the eggs in cold running water. As soon as they are cool enough to touch, crack the shells. Peel a small bit of shell with the membrane away from the egg. Leave them in the cold water until the eggs are completely cool. They will peel easily. (As the egg cools, it draws cool water between the egg and the membrane loosening the egg from the membrane and shell.)

  12. Tori,

    Thx for the awesome website/blog. You mention covering your standing mixer … I have a new Kitchen-Aid that I love – but I would like to hear a recommendation for a processor. I have a small Cuisinart, but really feel I need a larger (and more powerful) machine for many recipes. Recommendations?

    Thx again for such an interesting as well as useful site!

    1. Hi Ed! I have a 14-cup Cuisinart Elite that can handle just about anything I throw into it. Here’s the model I use: link to theshiksa.com I love it because it has nested bowls, which means you can process two things one after another without needing to rinse the bowls. Hope that helps!

  13. Just read about keeping celery crisp and fresh. Have not confirmed yet, but worth a try. If purchased take celery out of plastic bag and store in brown paper bag in fridge.

  14. wrap the entire bunch of celery in heavy duty foil and leave on a shelf in the fridge. helps to keep all of it crisp.

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