The art of cooking has a long history (basically since the dawn of man) and therefore there’s no shortage of tips and tricks being shared through the generations.
Some of these food hacks are ancient while others have been discovered through the use of more modern cooking techniques.
No matter the origin of these hacks, they are all designed to save you time, money and stress in the kitchen. Let’s take a look at 20 cooking hacks you need to know today!
1. Wooden spoon on cooking pot
Tired of watching the water boil over the pot when your trying to cook pasta? Simply place a wooden spoon horizontally so that it balances across the top of the pot. This is so simple and prevents a heap of mess.
2. Let meat ‘rest’ before serving
You don’t need to serve meat as soon as it has been cooked. It is actually better to leave it to rest so that it has the best flavour and texture when you serve it.
3. Spread things around
One very common cooking mistake people continually make is that they bunch things too close together in a frying pan. If a piece of meat is stuck against a corner of the pan, wedged against another piece of meat, none of it is going to cook evenly. For example, next time you want to make juicy meatballs, make sure you spread them around the pan on medium-high heat.
4. Hard boil eggs in oven
If you are doing a big batch of hard-boiled eggs, cook them in the oven rather than trying to do it all in a pot.
5. Kitchen towel cutting board
Place a kitchen towel underneath your chopping board to keep it from slipping around when you use it. This will make chopping and dicing safer too!
6. Hot cup butter softener
A good way to soften butter quickly without melting it is to heat up some water in a glass, then pour the water out and place the glass over the butter. The heat on the inside of the cup will melt the better to your desired amount.
7. Use a meal-kit service
A popular trick being used today is to simply cut out the boring bits of cooking and go with a meal-kit delivery service instead. This means you get all the ingredients you need in the correct portions delivered to you so all you need to do is throw them together and eat! This is also a great way to save on food wastage since you are only cooking with what the dish needs.
8. Don’t leave wine out!
Wine will only stay fresh for a few days after you open it, so don’t leave it for too long!
9. A time for cheese
Be clever about when you place cheese on a baked dish or similar recipe. If you want really stringy and soft cheese, then add it in 5 mins before taking the meal out of the oven.
10. Lemon under fish
Placing a few slices of lemon underneath fish when you grill it will both add flavour as well as stop the meat from sticking.
11. Herb hack
Using a pinch of salt with your herbs will make it so they are less likely to stick to cutlery and makes eating easier.
12. Egg-cellent eggs
To tell how fresh an egg is, drop it in a glass of water. A fresh egg will sink while a bad egg will float to the top. Don’t eat the ones that float.
13. Know when to flip your meat
Flipping meat and moving it around the pan too often will affect the flavour and dry it out due to juices being lost. When it comes time to flip the meat, test by shaking the pan a little. If the meat easily slides around, then it is time for it to be turned.
14. Microwave herbs
Drying your herbs in a microwave is a great way to speed up the process. Simply let each side of the herb cook for 20 seconds before taking it out and crushing it up.
15. Bacon brilliance
If you are cooking a huge load of bacon, don’t bother with the frying pan! Instead, cross the strips over each other to make a bacon weave and then place it the oven. The bacon will cook more evenly and will taste better!
16. Cherry tomato ninja
Here’s a fun hack to quickly cut a bunch of cherry tomatoes. Trap the tomatoes between two identical plates then slice in between them with a knife.
17. Stale bread miracle water
The worst part of bread is when it goes stale before you can enjoy it. Run some water over your bread rolls and put them in the oven for around 5 minutes or so. They will come out crunchy and fresh as if you had just baked them.
18. Insta-cold beer (almost)
If you have guests at a party but all of the beers are still a bit lukewarm, don’t panic! Wet some paper towels and wrap them around each beer before you but them on ice – they will cool down really fast this way!
19. Ice cream in a plastic bag
Don’t you just hate it when you buy ice cream, place it in the freezer and, when you want some, find out it’s frozen solid? Some people will put the tub in the microwave for 30 seconds, but it’s actually safer for you to simply put the tub in a plastic bag and then put it inside the freezer so that it does not freeze so hard in the first place!
20. Clear ice cubes
If you want to make ice cubes in your freezer that are totally transparent, boil the water first! The reason a normal ice cub isn’t clear is because of all the impurities in the water that boiling removes.
There you have it, 20 of our absolute favourite cooking hacks.
Even if you only adopt a few of these tips and tricks, you will still be cooking smarter than you were before!