IF YOU LIKE bringing back spices, funky ingredients, and delicious recipes from your travels, you’ll enjoy the following tricks that will allow you to easily recreate the delicious flavours of your adventures in the kitchen.
1- Peeling garlic
No need to fuss with your pointy knife around the edges of garlic cloves to peel these little suckers. Instead, hit the head of garlic with the heel of your hand to break it into cloves, put the cloves in a bowl, cover the bowl with a similar-sized bowl, and shake the two like your life depends on it. Ten seconds later, your cloves will be perfectly peeled and ready to be chopped!
2- Cutting and dicing a mango
Cutting mangoes can be difficult because of their unusual shape and their large pits. I have tried many techniques before and this one proved to be the most efficient.
Cutting a mango along its “cheeks” by running a sharp knife parallel to the pit, is the key. The closer to the pit, the better, so you don’t waste any of that tasty mango meat. When the two “cheeks” are cut, you can dice the meat easily within the skin of the mango and wow your friend with your incredible presentation skills.
3- Preventing a pot from overflowing
This is a trick from my grandma and I’ll always be grateful for it because it has saved me many hours of cleaning the stove to get rid of large pools of milk.
Just lay a wooden spoon across your pot of boiling water or milk and it will never overflow.
4- Coring a head of iceberg lettuce
This hack is great for those who, like me, hate using large knives (I am very accident-prone). The core of an iceberg lettuce is usually very hard to cut through, but slamming it hard on your kitchen counter or a cutting board will detach the core for the rest of the lettuce. Easy peasy.
5- Peeling potatoes
Peeling potatoes is not a pleasant task; it’s time-consuming and it fills up the compost bucket very quickly. This trick might seem intense and slightly rednecky, but it works and that’s all that matters! Grab a drill and stick a toilet brush where the drill bit goes. Put all the potatoes you need into a bucket and cover them with water. Dip the toilet brush in the water and turn the drill on for about 60 seconds. The potatoes will come out peeled and clean! I promise that this will make your Thanksgiving preparations a lot easier.
6- Cutting bell peppers
The problem with cutting bell peppers is that you have to deal with their seeds. They are tiny and a bit sticky, so you always end up removing them by hand and it’s a lengthy process. A good way to avoid this is to use Gordon Ramsay’s cutting method: cut the stalk of the bell pepper so it stands easily on the cutting board, and cut from the top of the pepper all the way around to avoid the core that contains the seeds.
7- Keeping avocadoes green
Avocadoes are tasty and healthy, but they do not keep well when cut in half and stored in the fridge. To prevent avocadoes from browning, roughly cut a red onion, put the chopped onion in the bottom of a container, lay the halved avocado with its pit inside the container, and it will remain green for up to one week!
8- Deseeding a pomegranate
Pomegranates are delicious, but they’re also very messy. I’ve taken the habit of never wearing any of my favourite clothes when deseeding a pomegranate because they always end up being covered in small, red stains. This trick, however, might just save us all from the great pomegranate threat and make the process fast and pain-free.
Gently cut the pomegranate along its ridges, where the membrane runs inside, to prevent slashing any of the seeds. After that, break the fruit open in half above a bowl of water and plunge each half in the water to remove the seeds from the “shell”. The seeds will sink at the bottom of the bowl and the white membrane will float. Scoop the membrane out with a spoon, drain the water using a strainer, and you have a big bunch of pomegranate goodness, as well as a clean shirt!
9- Makeshift cookbook stand
If you’re an old-fashion cook, you still use cookbooks and keep the tablet and the laptop far away from the kitchen counter. The problems with using cookbooks, magazines, or printed recipes is that they will likely get splashed during the process and remain sticky and/or stained for eternity. Not only that, but their pages keep turning without you agreeing to it and they use valuable counter space. To prevent all of this from happening, get a clip hanger from your wardrobe and use it to hold your recipe at the right page. Hook the hanger on the handle of one of your kitchen cupboards and you’re set to prepare a feast!
10- Peeling a hard-boiled egg
There’s nothing easier to cook than a hard-boiled egg, but the peeling part can be annoying. Luckily there’s a trick for that too! Keep your hard-boiled eggs moist in a bowl of water in the fridge before you decide to peel them. When time has come, grab the egg, hit it, and roll it with the palm of your hand on the counter. When you’ve done one full roll, the egg should peel very easily.