Useful Tips: Page 2

Use Tupperware

Too lazy to wrap greens in a damp paper towel so they last a week? Then go get your tupperware. Tupperware keeps almost everything fresh for much longer than your crisper, including berries, salad greens and produce that has already been cut. Because it is reusable, it is also more ecofriendly.

Keep a Separate Cutting Board for Things You Don’t Want Flavored With Garlic and Onion

An image of Cutting Board
Assuming you follow any recipe ever, you’ll probably be using your cutting board for cutting onions or garlic. If so, I recommend getting a separate board you keep aside for cutting fruit, cheeses and other things that you’d prefer didn’t absorb the odors of previous meals.

Avoid Overcooking Food

Overcooked food is bad food. Learn the art of taking food off the heat just before it is done, and let it finish cooking with its internal temperature. You can always cook it more, but you can never cook it less.

Big Onions Versus Shallots or Leeks

An image of 2 white onions
For most everyday cooking, milder onions will enhance your dish and give it more nuance. Big, strong onions certainly have their place in cooking (soups, roasts, etc.), but most kitchen experiments will be improved by more subtle onion flavor.

How to Make Simple Syrup

 Just combine 1 cup water with 1 cup sugar in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the sugar has completely dissolved, 3 to 5 minutes. Let it cool and add to beverages as needed. (Use 1½ teaspoons of simple syrup for every teaspoon of sugar you would usually use.) Store the syrup in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Use Microplane Grater

Microplane graters are great for taking zest off of citrus fruit. They're also great for grating ginger. They're great for grating garlic. They're great for creating a blanket of grated cheese over your pasta or pizza. They're great for grating whole nutmeg. They're just great

How To Have a Steady Cutting Board in Place

A board that slides around the counter while you’re chopping is an accident waiting to happen. Keep yours anchored with a cut-to-fit piece of rug pad or shelf liner. The added cushioning also helps stabilize a slightly warped board. Wash in the top rack of the dishwasher as necessary.

Cooling The Baking Sheets

An image of a Baking Sheet with baked cake
Baking Sheet
When you’re making multiple batches of treats and desserts, it’s tempting to reuse the sheets while they’re still hot from the oven. But raw dough on a warm pan is a big NO.

Rather than waiting 4 to 5 minutes for the temperature of the sheets to drop, try this quick fix: Run the underside of the hot pan under cold water until it’s cool. That way, you won’t need to wipe it dry.

Fluffy Rice All the Time

An image of Fluffy Rice in a bowl
Fluffy Rice
This dinnertime staple—whether it’s Jasmine, basmati, or good-old long-grain white—can be challenging to get right. To remove the excess starch that can cause stickiness and clumping, rinse uncooked rice in a sieve or a mesh colander until the water runs clear. Behold: separate (and delicious) grains every time.

How To Make Meatballs Without the Mess

Shaping ground beef, pork, lamb, or turkey into meatballs can be a sticky business. To keep meat from glomming on to your hands, wet them in cold water first (repeat as needed). The moisture will create a barrier between your skin and the meat. Try this method with burgers and meat loaf, too.

How to Break Up Chocolate Without Making a Mess

An image of chocolates
Leave the chocolate bar in its wrapper and whack it against the edge of the counter several times. Carefully open the wrapper and voilĂ ! Neatly corralled pieces—and zero kitchen cleanup.

Stock, Broth, Bouillon: What’s the Difference?

Produced by simmering vegetables, aromatics (think herbs and peppercorns), bones, and often meat scraps, stock is the gold standard to use as a base for soups, stews, and sauces. Despite having little or no salt, it adds complex, robust flavor to any recipe it touches. Unfortunately, you’ll probably have to make it yourself; it’s rarely sold in grocery stores.

Not up for the two-hour time commitment that making stock requires? Opt for store-bought broth instead. Usually just stock with salt added, this ingredient can be used in the same ways as homemade stock. The only downside: It’s a bit less rich and complex.

Last—and least desirable—is bouillon, dehydrated stock formed into cubes or granules. Yes, it’s convenient, but it’s typically processed with MSG, large amounts of sodium, or other additives. Thus the liquid it produces is fairly weak and one-note, despite being intensely salty. Use it only in a pinch.

Make Pancakes with a Squeeze Bottle

An image of pancakes
Ladling pancake batter into a pan is a recipe for a mess. Instead of dripping batter all over the place, put that pancake batter in an old condiment bottle and squeeze it out.

You'll get perfectly shaped pancakes without any drips or unevenness. Just make sure you wash that ketchup bottle thoroughly first, because otherwise...ew.

Peel a Head of Garlic in Seconds with Two Bowls

If you have a particularly garlic-heavy recipe to make (so brave!), don't waste time peeling each head by hand. Just crush your garlic as normal and throw it all into a big salad bowl.

Then, with another big salad bowl, shake the garlic up for a few seconds, and you should find it's fully peeled and ready for cooking. Just remember to neutralize that garlic breath after the meal with a glass of milk.

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