Much as we’d like to waste hours every day over impossibly complicated cooking techniques, most of us just don’t have the time. However much we may like being in the kitchen, most of the time it’s about getting in and out as quickly as possible. This makes any sort of shortcut an absolute godsend.
To help you get away with the stove and get on with the important job of chilling out, we’ve compiled a collection of a few awesome time saving hacks. You can thank us once you’re sat on the sofa with your feet up.
1. Dental floss
Trying to be precise with something soft like pastry or a cake can be incredibly tricky with a large, unwieldy knife. A simple solution is to use dental floss to precisely slice through softer ingredients, without resorting to squashing your food.
2. Peel your garlic
Easily one of the most fiddly jobs in the kitchen is unpeeling cloves of garlic. Rather than wasting precious minutes digging your fingers into flakey garlic skin, we suggest blasting an entire bulb in the microwave for about 20 seconds. When you take it out, you’ll find that the skin comes off with no fuss at all.
3. Freezing steak
Trying to thinly slice slivers of steak for a stirfry or a sandwich can be a real headache. The meat has an annoying habit of slipping and sliding with even the slightest bit of pressure. An easy way around this problem is to put your steak in the freezer for an hour before you slice it. This will firm up the meat and allow you to slice in thin, precise lines.
4. Reading your recipe
Though cookbooks can be a brilliant guide, it’s often annoying having to leave them open on a kitchen surface, taking up precious room for chopping and other mess. Save yourself a hassle and hang your recipe book from an adjustable coat hanger, clipped open on the page you are using.
5. Drying your herbs
All too often, fresh herbs end up slowly rotting in a fridge and inevitably going to waste. To help your herbs go the extra mile, a useful technique is to dry them out in the microwave before crushing them for storage in a small jar.
6. Save your apples
There’s nothing worse than tucking into a juicy apple, leaving the table for a few minutes and finding that the whole fruit has turned a horrible, mottled brown. A handy trick for preserving your apple slices is to brush the flesh in lemon juice, as this will provide a protective layer between the fruit and the air.
7. Juice your lemons
Covering your hands in sticky lemon juice as you struggle to catch falling seeds and get everything you want into a bowl is no one’s idea of a good time. Make things easier on yourself by using salad tongs to squeeze the fruit and getting all the good stuff out in one fell swoop.
8. Banana preservation
Finding the perfect banana before it turns to overripe mush is a tricky business. Fortunately, there is an easy way out. Simply cover the stalk of a ripe banana with clingfilm to keep it ready for eating for far longer than normal.
Cooking is often a case of being as efficient as possible. While it’s nice to indulge every now and then, it’s always useful to know a few handy shortcuts here and there. Hopefully this list will give you a few ideas for future time saving.