Be it stuck lids or the absence of some sort of expensive kitchen appliance, there are all sorts of little tricks and hacks to get around your kitchen a little bit more easily, or to get around little issues. Here are a few kitchen hacks that will change your cooking, baking, and general kitchen experience.
1. Rubber bands do more than hold things together
Stubborn jar caps and bottle caps are a common inconvenience in and around kitchens. Pickle jars, jam jars, a bottle of iced tea, anything with a stubborn cap that a towel, the end of your shirt, and all of your strength struggle to loosen is not fun. You shouldn’t have to put so much effort, sometimes in vain, to open a bottle or jar.
There are all sorts of tricks and hacks to open stubborn jars and bottles: a kitchen towel, run it under warm water, dislodge it with a knife, etc. But none of them hold a candle to a little ol’ rubber band. This is one of those kitchen hacks that are life-changing.
And it’s so simple. All you have to do is wrap a rubber band around the cap. Then you just open the jar or bottle or whatever stubbornly-capped item it is you’re struggling with and the lid should come off easily.
2. Softening butter
no one like waiting for butter to soften, that’s several hours of planning ahead. Nuke it in the microwave and you might go too far and end up with butter soup. Here are a couple little kitchen hacks for softening butter a lot more quickly.
For a small amount of butter, boil some water and pour it into a glass (make sure the glass can handle hot temperatures, we don’t want exploding glass!) and let it sit for about five minutes. Pour out the water and place the glass over a stick of butter. Within half an hour, you should have softened butter ready to go.
Another way to get softened butter quicker is to grate your butter. Similarly, you can also just chop up your butter into smaller pieces and set it near a warm stove.
3. A watched pot might not boil, but a kettle will
On the topic of cutting wait times in the kitchen, nothing takes longer than waiting for a pot of water to boil, be it for pasta, rice, or frozen dumplings. A handy little trick to make it seem less like years are passing is to heat your water in a kettle first! It will take barely minutes depending on your kettle. Just transfer your hot water into a pot on the stove and you’ll have a pot of boiling water much faster.
4. But when it boils, it might boil over
So you’ve got your boiling water and steadily cooking, but you might take your eye off your pot and before you know it, it’s boiling over. Easy fix, just pop a wooden spoon over it and no more boiling over pots to scramble over!
5. No stand mixer? A little manual effort but no problem
Stand mixers and electric mixers are convenient but what if you don’t have either and are not too keen on dishing out the cash to buy one? Your best friends, in that case, are a fork and a metal whisk.
Need to beat some eggs for a scramble or omelet? A fork is more than enough.
A metal whisk will do the job for all kinds of batters, and even if you’re making meringues or whipped cream.
And what if you need to cream butter? In addition to your handy fork, your good old wooden spoon will do the job. Mashup some softened butter with a wooden spoon, then fluff it with a long-pronged fork and voila! Creamed butter for your cakes and cupcakes and cookies.
6. Ziploc bags are your best friend
Ziploc bags are incredibly versatile and not just for storing a pb&j for later.
Need a piping bag? You can fill a bag with icing and snip off one end to the ice to your heart’s content. And, if you want to get fancy, you can even fit a piping tip into the hole.
You can even use them to marinate several meals for the week to deal with meal-prep and just throw some things into a pot or pan and be on your way when needed. You can even pre-make salads and eat right out of the bag.
Standard Ziploc bags are great for portioning as well!
7. Save yourself from a bad egg
You might not be the type to date produce and things that can expire, so how do tell when eggs have gone bad before cracking it open? Much like witches, if an egg floats when it’s put in water it has gone bad, and if it sinks and lies on its side, it’s still good. If it sinks but points upwards, it’s still edible.
8. Scooping out runaway eggshells
Continuing on with the kitchen staple, you’ve tossed any bad eggs out but now there’s the issue of if you’re not some egg-cracking savant and you drop a few shells. Trying to pick out eggshell shards involves a lot of fiddling and sticky fingers that don’t seem to catch anything but raw egg whites, and even those slip right out of your fingers or a spoon. So how do you catch those slippery bits of the eggshell? Well, with more eggshells.
Grab half of the cracked shell and use it to scoop out the stray shards. Eggshells attract one another and you can keep your hands fairly clean of raw egg slime.
9. DIY buttermilk
Pancakes are great for all times of the day, but what if you don’t have any buttermilk? Luckily, it’s easy enough to make your own with milk and a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice. Pancake away whenever you’d like.