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Kitchen Tricks, Tips, & Timesaving Ideas

July 10, 2013

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You can never have too much advice when it comes to cooking and keeping your kitchen tidy and neat. We have a few tips for you from your fellow Old Farmer’s Almanac users and Facebook fans.

Kitchen Tricks, Tips, & Timesaving Ideas

1) Mix-Ins

  • Mix bread crumbs with the broken potato chips in a nearly empty chips bag to make a chicken coating.

  • Use Chex cereal instead of croutons on salads.

  • Add plain, uncooked oatmeal as a filler in meat loaf instead of bread or crackers.

2) Fixings

  • Substitute club soda for milk in pancakes to make them lighter and fluffier.

  • Add a pinch of baking powder when mashing potatoes to make them fluffier.

  • Add a pinch of salt to bacon when frying it to prevent it from curling.

3) Savings

  • Put overripe bananas into the freezer to thaw later for banana bread.

  • Juice citrus fruit by squeezing it with tongs.

  • Cut stale bread into 1-inch cubes to make croutons. Toss with seasonings and oil and bake in a 325 degrees F oven until crisp.

4) Tastings

  • Dust the baking pan with cocoa or sugar instead of flour when making chocolate cake.

  • Add a pinch of cinnamon to chocolate chip cookie batter.

  • Add a dash of cinnamon to chili to help to smooth out the flavors and round out the heat.

  • Sprinkle hickory-smoked salt on vegetarian dishes and sauces for a meaty taste.

  • Cut the heat in salsa with a little sugar.

5) Peelings

  • Add 1 tablespoon of vinegar/vegetable oil or 1 tablespoon of salt to the boiling water and then dump the hot hard-boiled eggs into ice-cold water, and the shells will come off easily.

  • Rinse peeled avocados under cold water to maintain color.

  • Spray paper muffin cups with nonstick spray for easy peeling.

6) Boiling (to keep water from boiling over . . .)

  • Before boiling, rub olive oil around the edge of a pan containing starchy foods.

  • Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a pot of boiling potatoes.

  • Lay a wooden spoon across a boiling pot.

7) Keeping (to increase shelf life or keep food from spoiling quickly . . .)

  • Dip the cut end of an unpeeled banana in sugar to prevent browning.

  • Put an apple into a bag of potatoes to keep the spuds from budding.

  • Sprinkle lemon juice on sliced apples to keep from browning.

8) Ridding

  • Place a small bowl of vinegar on top of the fridge to eliminate gnats.

  • Put bay leaves into bags of flour to keep out bugs.

9) Cleaning

  • Spray a spoon or measuring cup with nonstick cooking spray before measuring honey.

  • Gather old “net” onion bags together with a rubber band and use to scrub dishes.

  • To remove baked-on food from a frying pan, put a dryer sheet and warm water into the pan. Soak overnight and then wash the pan.

Ginger Vaughan has worked for The Old Farmer's Almanac for over a decade and, every spring, thinks about starting a garden. When she isn't enjoying the outdoors (and pondering just where to plant that garden), she can often be found in the kitchen testing out new recipes. She lives in a Pacific Northwest forest on the Puget Sound with Thor and Olive, two English bulldogs who would like to taste test her cooking creations far more often than they are allowed. 


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Anti-bacterial hand gel will

By Jean Donahue

Anti-bacterial hand gel will remove ink. It also removes gummy residue from price stickers. Doesn't harm surfaces and it smells good!

When making chocolate candy

By Rosemary Hill

When making chocolate candy and it will not stiffen up after cooking on the stove top, removing from stove top and cooling a bit...just add some flour to the batter and keep stirring. It will start setting up and doesn't harm the flavor at all.

I like to sprinkle cinnamon

By Julia Blake-Weaver

I like to sprinkle cinnamon on sliced apples to hide the 'browning' and it adds flavour. Kids eat them up!

My mom always used to put a

By Wanda L. Durost

My mom always used to put a potato in the cooking oil when making homemade donuts as she said it would "soak up the grease". And also, if you put a tablespoon or 2 of baking soda in water and let it boil for about 10 minutes, it will lift off any baked-on food in a pot.

Good tips!

By mcgrawrpmm

Good tips!

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