10 Smart Kitchen Hacks That We All Need to Try
According to a poll, adults today spend just about an hour per day preparing all 3 meals. This is 45 minutes less compared to the amount of time the older generations spent in the kitchen. And the 3 main reasons why people cook faster these days are a lack of time, culinary skills and working too late.
Bright Side understands how hectic our schedules can be, so we rounded up some of the most viral and clever kitchen hacks that can help us save time and energy.
1. Peel and de-vein shrimp with a fork.
Peeling shrimp can be a tedious and messy task. But, as it turns out, a fork can help us take out the shell and de-vein at the same time. As instructed in this tutorial video, after taking out the shrimp’s head, stick one of the fork’s prongs into the veiny part, run it through the shell, and pull it apart. Easy-peasy!
2. Remove food stains with the help of sunlight or other ingredients.
Save some time scrubbing the stubborn stains out of cutting boards by leaving them outside and letting nature do the work for you. Just place the board in a spot where it gets hit by direct sunlight. The ultraviolet rays from the sun will break down the stain’s molecules and chemical bonds until they basically disintegrate.
In case you don’t have access to direct sunlight, these viral TikTok hacks are worth a try. Stains on wooden cutting boards can be removed by sprinkling salt on them before scrubbing the surface with a lemon. For plastic ones, a mixture of baking soda and vinegar, plus the good old lemon scrub, will do the trick.
3. Slice herbs faster by rolling them first.
Taking too long to chop fresh herbs can squeeze out all the good juices onto the board. So here’s one way to swiftly slice big-leafed herbs (like basil and sage) into thin pieces. Simply stack them up, roll them together, and slice across for fine, ribbon-like strips.
Additional tip: Save the extra chopped herbs by storing them in ice cube trays. Add a bit of olive oil to each block before freezing, and when it’s time to use them, just throw the “ice” into the pan.
4. Save burnt rice with a slice of white bread.
We’re all bound to encounter burnt rice at some point in our lives (don’t worry, it happens to the best of us). And even if it’s just the bottom part that’s overcooked or toasted, it can affect the taste of the perfectly cooked rice around it.
Instead of throwing the whole thing away and whipping up a new batch, you can still rescue this one by putting a slice of white bread on top and leaving it for 5-10 minutes. The bread will absorb the burnt flavor and aroma, so you’ll still be able to serve the rest of the rice. Just be careful not to scoop the toasted part at the bottom.
5. Separate leaves and stems easily with the help of a strainer.
There’s an easier way for us to get all the leaves without having to individually pluck them from the stems. All we need is a strainer or pasta spoons with measuring holes in the middle. Just put the stem through one of the holes, carefully pull it from the other side, and voilà! The strainer will even catch the leaves for you.
6. Cut mushrooms faster by using an egg slicer.
This tool will help you achieve even slices for a more impressive presentation. After washing your mushrooms and trimming the bottoms of the stems, put a piece on the slicer and position it depending on how you want it cut — vertically or horizontally. Then press the slicer down, just like how you would with an egg. This method is also efficient for cutting other foods, like olives, cheese, kiwis, strawberries, and carrots.
7. Remove seeds with an ice cream scooper.
So here’s the “scoop” — you can actually use an ice cream scooper to core an apple (as pictured above). This tool is also your best bet for removing seeds from a squash or pumpkin. Since its edge is sharper than the usual spoon, it cuts better through the gooey stuff, and its deeper curve will catch more seeds as well.
8. Use a muffin pan for taco and tortilla recipes.
Simplify the preparation for your next “taco night” with this trick shared by a Reddit user. Use the bottom part of a muffin pan to keep the crispy taco shells upright. Wedge the shells in between to make filling them up easier.
You can also use the inverted muffin pan to shape and make your own tortilla or taco salad bowls. Just use your fingers to press the flat tortilla between the upside-down cups until they form a bowl. Slip them into the oven and bake until they are crispy and golden brown. Then add the filling and serve!
9. Pre-slice butter or margarine for quick access
Here’s the next best thing since sliced bread — sliced butter! This video teaches us a cool trick to make individual slices of butter that we can easily grab for a quick power breakfast.
The first step is to cut small pieces of parchment or wax paper. Then fold them around the sharp end of the knife, make thin slices, and leave the paper behind. And before you know it, you’ll have your ready-to-go butter chunks.
10. Using a knife’s spine to cut garlic
This TikTok hack just informed us that we’ve been mincing garlic the wrong way. Instead of using the sharp blade of a knife, flip it and use the blunt side instead. Dull knives tend to squish the food more, which can be good if you’re going for mashed garlic.
But wait, there’s more! The knife’s spine is also useful for other things, like bruising lemongrass, cracking a coconut, scaling a fish, and crushing cucumbers. Some chefs also advise scraping ingredients off the chopping board with the back part as well to avoid dulling the blade faster.
What kitchen or cooking chore do you think takes up too much time and needs to be “hacked?” Do you have other effective tricks that we can add to this list?