21 Kitchen Hacks

Here’s some of the best tips we can think of to give you regarding pretty much anything you can find in your kitchen. From mixing pancakes to faster cooling of bottles – it’s all here and we’ll try to cover each and every one thoroughly. Let’s begin!

1. Putting ice cream in a bag before putting it in the freezer makes it scoop easier

Although we can’t be sure of the physics behind this phenomenon, it would appear that when you put a box of ice cream in a ziplock bag before putting it in the freezer will prevent it from (literally) turning into a brick.

There’s no worse feeling (ok, there is but still) than having to wait for what seems like an eternity before you are able to eat the ice cream you stored in your freezer. You come home, no time to gobble it up instantly so you put it away. Three hours later, you suddenly remember you have a whole box of ice cream, you frantically pull it out of the freezer and boom, you can’t do anything with it. You have a chocolate and vanilla-flavoured brick that’s bending your spoon.

So, buy a couple of ziplock bags, they cost less than glass marbles, pour the ice cream into them and triumph.

2. Cut soft food with dental floss

Things tend to get seriously messy when you have soft food in front of you and you have to cut it into smaller pieces. Especially if it’s enormous, like a cake, or a monster-sized tortilla. And especially if you’re not that handy with a knife – face it, some people just aren’t. We’ve all seen tons of food being splattered across the table numerous times when somebody goes all “I got this!” and then proceeds to make a circus out of the kitchen.

What we recommend for those situations is taking dental floss. It’s cheap, expendable, comes in various lengths and sizes and it’s pretty darn easy to use. Just pull out a large piece, take each end into one hand and gently but firmly press it against the food you wish to cut. In a matter of seconds, you will have perfectly cut slices of whatever the heck it is you’re trying to cut.


3. Cook more food on Sunday and then store it

Here’s one that doesn’t require any special skills, competences, predispositions or anything like that – just sheer will. We all like to be lazy on a Sunday, but come on, do you really need to sit in front of a TV for more than three hours? Do you really need to do absolutely nothing? No, no and no. Sunday may be a day where you’re not supposed to work, and that’s fine. But that doesn’t mean that doing anything useful is also out of the question.

Just think for a second. Imagine it’s a Wednesday afternoon, you just came home from an exhausting day at work and you can’t wait to rest. Oh, but wait. You need to prepare something to eat, maybe just for yourself but maybe for the entire family. Cursing your bad luck you stomp towards the fridge only to remember – yeah, that’s right. You cooked on Sunday. All you gotta do is warm it up. Beautiful.

And trust us, it’s more fun cooking ahead because there’s no rush and no pressure – you do things at your own pace, hitting stovetops and plates with spoons and forks mimicking the drummer of the band whose song you’re listening to at the moment. Just do things creatively.


4. Dry out herbs in the microwave

Sometimes you go to the supermarket because you need just a bit of parsley for that special Sunday lunch with your family and friends. Of course, they only sell them in bags of about seven hundred kilos so you buy one of those, drag it home, take a pinch and put it into your meal. Two weeks go by, you find yourself with tons of parsley that’s slowly but surely becoming useless. What to do? Panic!

After you’re done panicking, you can find a recipe that uses a lot of parsley (like parsley tacos, mmm), or even better, you can dry it. Sure, it will lose it’s freshness, color and aroma completely, but there are ways to mitigate the loss. On the up side, you will greatly extend its shell life because you’ll be removing all the moisture those pesky bacteria could use. Put the herbs on a plate, dry them out in 20 second intervals and then crush them into dust. You can even mess around with mixing different herbs, go crazy!


5. Put a slice of apple in a bag with baked food to keep it soft and moist

Nothing, and we mean nothing, can beat that mouth-watering taste of freshly baked pastry, bread, or cookies. But the problem is that these darn things dry up so fast, you just have to eat them all at once. Not that we’re complaining about eating a lot of juicy baked delicacies at once, mind you, it’s just that sometimes you might want to save it for later (ha-ha-ha) and share it with someone (HA-HA-HA).

Well, the thing is that when these treats lose their moisture they become but a shadow of their former selves. But there’s a solution to that too. Just take a few slices of a fresh apple and put it in a bag with the cookies or whatever treat you baked. The moisture from the fruit will transfer to the treat and keep it fresh for a longer period. It also works if you would take a fresh slice of bread, and there’s even a thing about putting some apple slices in a bag of tobacco – it even gives off a fresh smell!


6. Mix pancake batter in a plastic bag

Another handy tip when you don’t feel like turning your kitchen into a jungle. Pancake batter tends to get everywhere, especially if you have kids, pets or friends running about, waving their arms and legs around like looneys. You can just pour all your ingredients in a ziplock bag, mix it into batter, then slice a corner of the bag and easily pour it into a pan or muffin cups.

Another cool trick included in this is that it saves up space if you want to store it for later use. A bowl full of pancake batter obviously takes up much more space than three ziplock bags stacked together. And not only that but once you’re done with the bags, you can wash them and recycle them – help the environment people, help the environment.


7. Grill your fish on top of lemon slices

Grilled fish is something extremely delicious, and extremely easy to make. When it doesn’t stick to the grill, that is. The aggravating pain when separating the fish that just doesn’t want to cooperate from the grill (which also doesn’t want to cooperate) is something nobody wants to go through. There are plenty of ways to prevent this from happening, of course, but there’s one tip that’s also delicious. Lemons.

Lemons, you ask? Lemons, we confirm. Just slice them and place them on the surface of the grill. It also works if you’re cooking on any other surface, like a frying pan, just put the lemons on the bottom and let physics do the rest. Always make sure they are evenly aligned, as close to each other as possible.

Easy set-up, easy clean-up, and it adds a healthy aspect too.


8. Open oysters more easily using a microwave

Oysters can sometimes be just the perfect little pain in the backside – the one that slams you when you’re least expecting it and stays with you for ages. Also, always remember to eat them fresh, because if they’ve been sitting around for too long you risk food poisoning. Veterans in oyster hunting agree that the best season runs through the winter months, as they are the most fresh during that time.

They are also the hardest to open, seeing as they are healthy and taunting you with all that juicy meat coming from the inside. So, instead of bashing them into the wall like a coconut, drilling your hands or severing a finger by accident using absolutely inappropriate tools, here’s a short tip – use a microwave. Put 6 oysters onto a paper-towel-lined plate (hinges facing outwards), cover them tightly with plastic wrap and microwave them on the highest temperature for about a minute and a half.

You will soon see them slowly opening, then you can do the rest with any knife or anything similar. Remember – discard those that didn’t open even after microwaving.


9. Soak eggs in white vinegar

Vinegar is packed with acetic acid, which dissolves the solid calcium carbonate crystals of the eggshell into their calcium and carbonate blah blah yadda yadda. You can find the complete scientific explanation somewhere else, but what it’s saying is completely true. This trick helps you make the best poached eggs you could possibly think of, seeing as how they need to be in a consistent shape while you’re boiling them.

Basically what you need to do is just take a couple of glasses, fill them up with vinegar and put the eggs inside for a couple of minutes before braking them open. Now, if you’re feeling like trying out something even more crazy, put them in vinegar and then in the fridge for 24 hours. After that, peel the outer layer and then put them in vinegar again for another 24 hours. Observe the results and consider yourself the Nikola Tesla of kitchen science.


10. Waffle irons can help you make perfect hash browns

Well if this list hasn’t already made you drool, let’s think for a second about some beautiful hash browns. That perfect, even crust that sings a serenade to your taste buds, all the while keeping the center of the potatoes tender and soft, Christ that’s some mighty good food. And yeah, they’re one of those “easy to make – hard to perfect” dishes, but a lot of people have discovered a neat trick just recently. Why not make them in waffle irons?

Basically it’s the same thing – you take shredded potatoes, milk and butter, and spray some salt and pepper on top. Put it in a waffle iron and let it bake in there for a little bit longer than your stomach would want. Pull it out, put it on a plate (hot hot hot, watch your hands!), put a bit of sour cream on top and munch away. You can thank us later.

11. Weave bacon strips into a square shape

We’ve been eating bacon for about 400 years now and we sure as heck ain’t stopping anytime soon, it would seem. Fried, grilled, cooked, fresh – it comes in a bunch of varieties and it’s absolutely delicious. Not only that, but it can also be healthy, rich in vitamins and proteins. So, what’s the best way to prepare your bacon? There probably isn’t a single best way, but we’ve learned that cooking it in an oven is actually better than in a frying pan.

Why? Well, because of the fact that bacon is much more evenly cooked in an oven. But the neat trick here is to go even a step further and ‘weave’ your bacon into a square shape. One through the other, like a basket, its shape is ideal for a sandwich and you won’t see that many chunks falling out regularly.

12. Strap some paper towels on bottles to make them cool faster

Despite the popular belief, this actually does work, with two primary causes that can’t be denied being evaporation of the water and the surface area for heat transfer. Water has a huge vaporization requirement, so when you put a damp paper towel inside a dry, cold environment, the water automatically starts to cool. But not only that, it will also equilibrate in the air of the fridge, causing rapid evaporation.

Regarding the paper, all that surface area is covered in evaporating water – it acts as a highly efficient set of cooling fins. So the next time you have some guests over for beer or something, just slap some paper towels on the bottles and watch the magic of physics do the rest.


13. Spray some water over old bread and then put it in the oven

By now you should probably see a pattern with stuff related to water and changes in temperature. But yeah, you don’t necessarily have to throw away old bread (although some birds or homeless people probably wouldn’t agree), but instead put some water over the bread and then put it in your oven. Heat it on medium and pull it out after a while – it will be (almost) as good as new.

Funny thing is you can also do this with a microwave. Old bread reacts to sudden heating as if it’s being baked from the start again, only with a different composure. Don’t overdo it though, you will end up with bread that has no taste but will crumble and feel like stones in your mouth. Or even worse, you can over-bake it and then you get those black chunks of burnt bread that you literally can’t do anything with – not even with some topping and fresh salad.

14. Freeze a mix of fresh herbs in olive oil

If you’re that type of person who likes to add fresh herbs into their meals, we congratulate you – you’re probably healthier than 30% of the planet’s population. Nobody’s taking their veggies nowadays and it’s becoming an issue that should be dealt with. Anyway, here’s a neat trick you can do with your fresh herbs. Stock them up for some time, combine leftovers or plan ahead and buy specific herbs, chop them up, put them in an ice tray and cover them in olive oil. Put it into the freezer and patiently wait.

These herb blocks won’t go bad, don’t worry, and every single time you feel like it you can just pull out one or two and put it into your dish. Eating a healthy bowl of home-made soup? Drop a cube in and make it even more healthier and delicious. Cut them into small slices and spray them across your main dish, do whatever you want to. It’s healthy and it tastes great.


15. You can make healthy pancakes with low-fat ingredients

Even though you might be thinking “Oh I really need a pancake now!”, you may as well stop because you don’t really need a pancake, you simply want a pancake. And let’s not forget that a lot of people see pancakes as a ‘dirty pleasure’ treat, seeing as they’re packed with stuff that makes you clogged like a toilet and fat[ter]. But what if we told you that you can make a pancaked that’s diet-friendly and still tasty?

Take some protein powder, baking powder, almond milk, oat flour, walnuts, sugar and salt and make the batter. You know the drill, spoon the batter evenly into a fryin pan and make pancakes. Then once you are done take some frozen fruit and put it on top. Take some honey syrup and add that as well. Believe us, you won’t be breathing after a couple of these babies and your body will thank you for not packing it with cholesterol.


16. A spoon can help you peel fresh eggs more quickly

Back to the eggs. One of the main nuisances in dealing with boiled eggs is the moment when you have to peel them. We’ve seen so many methods of peeling eggs, so many tools and so many explanations that we think there might even be a book about the various ways of peeling an egg. The most common one is taking any cutlery and slowly and gently hitting the egg shell until it’s all cracked.

Well, what if we told you that using a spoon (but not as a club) would be the most effective way of peeling a boiled egg? Just smack the bottom side of the egg on a table so that you get a small crack. Peel the bottom side just slightly and then stick your spoon in between the egg and the shell. Apply mild pressure and turn the egg sideways so that your spoon is sliding across the egg, separating it from the shell. It takes a little bit of practice but once you get the hang of it, it comes naturally.


17. Microwave leftovers with a glass of water

You remember those student days when you’re living in a dormitory, you go visit your parents and they pack you with food like a mule? Then you come back to the dormitory and you stash it all in your fridge and you forget about it for a couple of days? Yeah, many of us have been there, and then when you realize that you had some fresh spaghetti you feel like it’s wrong to just throw them out.

So, take the leftover and put it in the microwave, what’s the problem? Well, it will never have the freshness it once had. Unless you put some water as well. Just place a glass of hot water right next to the plate your food’s on. The water will begin to slightly evaporate and it will go into the food, moisturizing it and giving it a bit of freshness.

Sometimes it will very closely resemble what it once was. It really will!


18. Use two plates to slice cherry tomatoes

Cherry tomatoes really know how to ruin your calm and serene meal preparation – just because they’re so freaking tiny and hard to slice casually. We’ve heard of many a story about fingers being severed, or hands being stabbed by knives, and many a story about cherry tomatoes rolling around the kitchen after you had dropped them. Slick little buggers.

So, what you should do do evade all this is just take a plate, put the tomatoes on it and then put another similar plate on top of them, trapping them in between the two plates. Now slowly slice between them with your knife, all the while holding the top plate. After a couple of slices you’ll notice that you have successfully split all of the cherry tomatoes with a simple movement of the hand – good job.


19. Use balloons to make edible dessert cups

This one sounds crazy but it’s actually brilliant. Just melt your favourite chocolate and put it all into a bowl. Then find a balloon (maybe even the hardest part of this tip), and inflate it – once inflated dip it into the bowl filled with chocolate. Leave it like that to stick and form a shape, then once that has happened simply pop the balloon. Make sure not to do it mid-air otherwise your edible chocolate cup will just break like any other cup.

Once you have your chocolate edible cup or bowl, you can do pretty much anything. Please don’t make us tell you what you should do with a chocolate bowl. Hello? It’s something that you can eat from, and then eat it afterwards. What a time to be alive, people!


20. A wooden spoon will easily prevent your pots from boiling over

This is easily one of the oldest tricks in the book, and yet many people haven’t even heard of it. Not only that, they consider it to be nonsense. But believe us when we say (and listen to your grandma from time to time, she’ll know all about it) this is a 100 percent efficient way to prevent those disastrous moments from happening.

And there’s actually some science behind it, if you’re feeling sceptical. Bubbles are rather unstable, therefore a spoon will destabilize them. Additionally, since bubbles are filled with steam, whenever they touch something that’s below boiling temperature, the steam condenses back to liquid and breaks the surface tension. So there you have it, the science of a wooden spoon in three simple lines.


21. Use bread when cutting onions

One of man’s most notorious arch-enemies, this avatar of despair has made millions of people burst in tears even in their most happiest moments. Although it sounds like we’re talking about some devil who’s taking over the world, it’s just your average onion. But jeez that stench, and that pain in your nostrils, it’s simply unbearable.

The ultimate fix to this overly annoying kitchen problem is simply to ask somebody else to do it for you. But since that is almost never an option, you can try bread. Just put a slice of bread in your mouth, and don’t chew it instantly. Onion contain tons of amino acid sulfoxides that produce a sulfur gas. This gas wafts up, meets with the water in your eyes and has a friendly chit-chat. The result of this meeting is sulfuric acid in your eyes, which is probably highly ranked on the list of the 10 worst things you don’t want in your eyes (beaten barely by mountains and tiger claws).

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