I don’t know about you but I am always seeing kitchen hacks on Facebook and other social media platforms that look really useful but then I forget them when I need them. So I have now tried and tested the following twelve kitchen hacks which do work – just print them off and put the list on your fridge so that you remember too when you next have one of the following problems.
HARDENED BROWN SUGAR
This is the bane of my life. Countless times I have found myself going to my store cupboard in order to bake a favourite cake, only to discover that my once soft and fresh granules are now hardened into brick form. This tip worked wonders and saved me time and effort because I didn’t have to chisel away at the sugar brick or purchase a new bag altogether. Simply put the block in a bowl, add a few (depends on the size of the block) teaspoons of water, lay a damp paper towel over the top and microwave for 30-second intervals. In between break it up with a spoon. Keep going until it is soft again. To keep it soft wrap in a damp paper towel and put it in a sealed bag to store.
NEARLY EMPTY HONEY JAR
I fill a near-empty honey jar with some heated almond milk or cow’s milk and I add a dash of cinnamon and vanilla. Give it a good shake and then pour into a mug and drink before you go to bed. Honey is a great aid to a good night’s sleep. It was totally delicious and helped to use up otherwise underutilised remnants and it cleans the jar before re-cycling. This works equally as well with a Nutella jar if you want a nice hot chocolate drink.
KEEP AVOCADOS FRESH ONCE YOU’VE CUT THEM
There are so many tips about keeping avocados fresh. Leave the stone in the unused half or, in the past, I have tried the squeezed lemon or lime juice on my sliced avocados to keep them fresh, however, I have felt that sometimes the citrus doesn’t always evenly distribute and so parts of the avocado will still brown while others stay fresh. So soak a paper towel with citrus juice and wrap the avocado in it before storing it back in the fridge. This paper-towel method ensured that the entire avocado was covered and kept properly zesty-fresh.
STOP CHEESE FROM STICKING
Grated cheese really makes a difference but it can be a pain to prep. For easy cleanup, use a quick spritz of cooking spray on your cheese grater to keep the cheese from sticking. You’ll never go back to pre-shredded again which is anyway so much more expensive than buying a block and doing it yourself.
This can be a tricky job. You want to just set them and forget them, but what happens if they don’t sufficiently simmer? Or how about if they bubble over? And let’s just hope that they don’t’ cook and dry out completely! So in an effort to save me some major monitoring and anxiety over stovetop grains, I gave the microwave method a try. I popped my rice into a deep heat-safe dish, topped with an ample amount of veggie stock, set the microwave to 25 minutes, and then got on with the rest of the supper. And? It was a success. The rice was cooked to perfection with no mess and no monitoring. This is a hack I will definitely be utilising again
GET MORE JUICE
Next time you need fresh lemon juice, try this restaurant tip. Microwave a lemon for 7-10 seconds. Then, roll the lemon back and forth under your palm on the counter. When you squeeze, you’ll get more juice from the lemon with way less effort. Try it with limes, too!
CHILL WINE SUPER-FAST
No one likes lukewarm bubbly. Find a tall pitcher about the height of your wine bottle, immerse the bottle in ice water with a small handful of salt and turn every few minutes or so. Your booze will chill in 20 minutes (or less!).
KEEP BAKED FOOD SOFT
To keep biscuits and other baked goods soft after baking, add a slice of store-bought white bread to an airtight container. Your cakes, biscuits and muffins will keep their day-one softness.
STOP STIRRING PEANUT BUTTER
Are you getting tired of mixing the oil back into your natural peanut butter? There’s an easy solution: store the jar upside-down and then simply turn it right-side up. The oil will try to rise back to the top and the peanut butter will be much easier to stir.
HOW TO SLICE STEAK FRIES
Craving those scratch-made potato wedges from your favourite restaurant? The answer is waiting in your kitchen drawer. Cut one end of the potato for stability then push an apple slicer through.
FREE SINGLE-SERVING SAUCES
Become an upcycling master! Egg cartons are ideal for freezing small portions of homemade sauce. (Especially when you need to use your ice trays for, well, ice! Cover and freeze leftover sauces and then transfer cubes to a resealable freezer bag. To use, thaw cubes in your fridge for 2 hours.
LABEL JARS THE THRIFTY WAY
In a pinch for labels? Just reach for the rubber bands. Wrap ’em around your mason jars and you’ll never mistake salt for sugar again. As an added benefit, they help make jars easy to open.