Every cook could use a little help to perfect his or her artistic creations in the kitchen. While you may be familiar with some of the top tips presented below, others may be new to you and go a long way towards making life in the kitchen a little easier and enhancing your wonderful culinary creations.
From tips on how to keep food items fresh for as long as possible to “kitchen witches” that prevent pots from boiling over, to how to best store potatoes, apples and onions, the advice below are all tried and tested by some of the best cooks in the world.
* Rather than throw out milk that is past its expiration date, add a tiny pinch of salt to it. The salt reduces the rate of bacterial growth, and the milk will keep longer before it sours. This is a great tip for budget conscious cooks.
* To prevent brown sugar from hardening and clumping, store it in your freezer. If your brown sugar has already hardened into clumps, put some in a measuring cup and heat in the microwave for a few seconds (don’t heat too long or it will burn). A few seconds in the microwave warms up the molasses in brown sugar, causing the sugar to soften.
* By freezing wild rice, you can keep it for between three and four months; you can only keep it in the refrigerator for about a week.
* To save leftover canned of tomato paste, use one of these two tricks: Put some tomato paste on a piece of waxed paper and cover with the second piece of waxed paper, then freeze. After the paste is frozen, peel off the waxed paper and transfer the tomato paste to a plastic freezer bag. The second trick is to freeze leftover tomato paste in ice trays. The next time you need to cook with tomato paste, you can freeze the amount you need, without opening a new can.
* To avoid drying grilled meat, turn it over with tongs. Do not use a fork because the holes it makes in the meat will let the juices escape during the grilling and the meat will be tough and dry.
* If you use plastic containers to store sauces made with tomato (spaghetti sauce, chili sauce …), spray the insides of the containers with vegetable cooking spray first. This will keep them from getting stained by the tomato.
* A tiny amount of vegetable cooking spray, cooking oil or margarine will help to remove honey from a spoon when you measure it. Just coat the spoon lightly before you use to dip it into the honey.
* A great tip to clean burnt food off a skillet or pan is to put water and a drop of dishwashing liquid into the pan and boil on the stove. This will loosen the burnt food, and you’ll be able to get it off easily.
* Cleaning the grill before you start cooking on it is imperative, because not only are dirty grills unappetizing, but also bacteria grow on them and distort the flavor of the food you are grilling. To clean a grill, remove all burnt food remnants using a scraper and a grill brush, then rinse well. Before you use your clean grill, spray it with non-stick cooking spray. Food won’t stick as much to the grill, and cleaning it will be much easier.