10 Kitchen hacks to make cooking and cleaning easier

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Make kitchen cleaning a breeze with these tips

Check out these kitchen hacks to make cleaning and cooking easier! No more stains in red wine glasses, easy peel eggs, take the danger out of peeling butternut squash and more!

Fix seized chocolate

A drop of water will cause melting chocolate to seize up and become grainy. It is enough to make your heart sink! After all, when is chocolate ever melting that there isn't great hope and delicious purpose? It happens to all of us. I have had it happen countless times.

How to fix seized chocolate

How to fix seized chocolate? Don't be shocked but the answer is more water. Boiling water that is. Add 1 teaspoon of boiling water and stir vigorously. Repeat the single teaspoons of water until your chocolate has returned to it's glossy silky former self.

Cast iron cleaning

How to clean cast iron

Cleaning cast iron requires a completely different approach than regular cookware. Water and soap are not recommended for cleaning cast iron as they can strip away the seasoning. Instead, opt for alternative methods that will effectively clean your beloved cast iron without damaging it.

One method is to use coarse salt as an abrasive. Sprinkle a generous amount of coarse salt onto the surface of the cast iron and use a damp cloth or sponge to scrub away any food residue. The coarse salt acts as a gentle abrasive that helps to remove stuck-on food particles without scratching the surface of the cast iron.

Another option is to use steel wool with just hot water. Wet the steel wool with hot water and gently scrub the surface of the cast iron to remove any food residue. The steel wool provides a bit more scrubbing power than the coarse salt, but be careful not to scrub too vigorously as it can remove the seasoning.

If the cast iron pan was used to cook something simple, such as frying an egg, you may only need to wipe it out with a paper towel. The residual heat from cooking will have helped to burn off any food residue, making it easy to simply wipe away.

Some people even leave cooking fat in the pan and don't clean it out at all!

You will develop your own routine to care for cast iron as you get used to using it. It will likely become your favorite day to day cooking vessel!

By using these alternative cleaning methods, you can keep your cast iron cookware in great condition and ensure it lasts for years to come.

Crochet cotton clothes are one of my favorite tools to use for my cast iron. I have three set aside just for this purpose. I use them to remove excess moisture after washing then set the pan over gentle heat to allow any remaining moisture to evaporate preventing it from rusting.

You may like this post on how to make moist chicken breasts every time and 2 nonstick pans I swear by year after year.

Get stains out of your glass coffee pot

The naturally occurring oils in coffee can cause build-up in your glass carafe, Chemex or boudin pour over makers. Hard water deposits can also aggravate this but there are easy ways to get rid of this buildup and there is zero scrubbing required.

Method #1 - Salt and ice

Fill your coffee pot halfway with ice cubes. Add to it 1-2 Tbsp of kosher salt depending on the size of your carafe.

Swirl vigorously for 1-2 minutes. The ice will scrub break down the build up and "scrub" it. Once the glass looks clear (it will be fogged up from the icy temps but you will be able to tell if it is still covered in the tan build up or if it has released into the ice and salt sludge). Empty the sludge into the sink.

Allow carafe to come to room temp or if you're impatient you can rinse with cold water. Don't put anything warm in it while it returns to room temperature or you could risk the glass cracking from sudden temperature change.

chemex coffee maker

Method #2. LA's Totally Awesome cleaner.

This inexpensive kitchen must have quickly breaks down the build up. Spray evenly and generously along the entire top area, allowing it to work its way down the sides of the carafe.

Wait about 2 minutes then give it a rinse. If you feel the urge you can use a bottle brush to get along the sides once the cleaner has had a chance to break down the scum.

Rinse well and dry.

Stop pasta water from boiling over

spaghetti cooking in a pot

Boiling pasta is a simple task, but it can quickly turn into a messy situation if the pot starts to overflow. Fortunately, there is a trick you can use to prevent this from happening.

Place a wooden spoon or a metal spoon across the top of the pot. The spoon acts as a barrier and disrupts the surface tension of the boiling water, preventing it from bubbling over. This simple hack can save you from having to clean up a starchy mess on your stovetop.

Lowering the heat slightly once the water starts to boil can help to prevent it from boiling over. Keep an eye on the pot and adjust the heat as needed to maintain a gentle boil.

How to make easy peel eggs

To easily peel eggs, it's important to consider the freshness of the eggs. Fresh eggs are notoriously difficult to peel due to the minimal air pocket. To determine the freshness of an egg, you can perform a simple water test. Place the egg in a glass of water - if it sinks to the bottom, it's fresh; if it floats, it means the air pocket is large, indicating that the egg is not as fresh.

How to make easy peel eggs

To make peeling eggs easier, you can use a steamer basket or vegetable steamer tray. After hard-cooking the eggs, place them in the steamer basket or tray. The steam helps to loosen the shells, making them easier to peel. This method is particularly effective for fresh eggs, as the steam penetrates the shell and separates it from the egg white.

Another method is adding eggs to water that is already boiling. Why this works so well is the collagen skin-like formation that is between the shell and the egg seizes up quickly from the heat thus making the shell easier to release. Gently lower the eggs into boiling water with a spoon or tongs and let simmer for 11 minutes.

By using these easy peel egg hacks, you can enjoy perfectly cooked eggs without the frustration of struggling to peel them. Whether you're making deviled eggs, egg salad, or simply enjoying a boiled egg, this easy peel method will save you time and effort in the kitchen.

Peeling butternut squash the easy way

Butternut squash is a versatile and nutritious vegetable that can be used in a variety of dishes. However, peeling and cutting it can be a daunting task. Here's a simple tip to make peeling butternut squash easier.

How to easily peel butternut squash

First, start by washing the squash thoroughly to remove any dirt or debris. Put it in the microwave for 3-4 minutes to help soften the skin before you take a knife to it.

Then, using a sharp knife, carefully cut off both ends of the squash. This will create a safer stable base for you to work with.

Next, use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin from the squash. Start at the top and work your way down, applying gentle pressure to remove the skin in long, even strokes. If you encounter any tough spots, you can use a paring knife to carefully remove them.

Once the skin is removed, cut the squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and discard them. Now, you can proceed to cut the squash into your desired shape or size for your recipe.

By following this easy peel butternut squash tip, you can save time and effort in the kitchen. Whether you're making butternut squash soup, roasted vegetables, or a hearty stew, this method will make the preparation process much more manageable.

How to unscrew tough jar lids

Opening a stubborn jar lid can be frustrating, especially when you're in a hurry or have weak grip strength. But fear not, there's a simple trick to easily remove those tough jar lids.

First, run the jar lid under hot water for a few seconds. The heat will cause the metal lid to expand slightly, making it easier to twist off. If the lid is plastic, be careful not to use water that's too hot, as it may warp the lid.

How to unscrew tight jar lids

If the hot water method doesn't work, try using a rubber band for added grip. Wrap a wide rubber band around the lid, making sure it's tight and secure. The rubber band will provide extra traction, allowing you to get a better grip and twist off the lid with less effort. Silicone pads work in the same way.

silicone hot pads

Another effective technique is to tap the lid gently with a spoon or the back of a knife. This helps to break the seal and release any pressure that may be holding the lid tightly in place. Once you've tapped the lid all the way around, try twisting it off again. It should come off much more easily.

With these simple tricks, you'll never struggle with tough jar lids again. Whether it's a jar of pickles, pasta sauce, or peanut butter, you'll be able to open them effortlessly and enjoy your favorite foods without any hassle.

Remember to always store your jars in a cool, dry place to prevent the lids from becoming too tight. And if all else fails, don't hesitate to ask for a helping hand.

Fix crystallized honey

There's nothing more frustrating than reaching for a jar of honey, only to find that it has become crystalized and hardened. But don't worry, there's a simple fix to bring your honey back to its smooth, liquid state.

crystalized honey in jar

One method to fix crystalized honey is to place the jar in a bowl of warm water. Make sure the water is not too hot, as excessive heat can damage the honey's natural enzymes. Let the jar sit in the warm water for about 10-15 minutes, or until the honey starts to soften. Then, give it a good stir to help break up the crystals. The warmth from the water will help dissolve the sugar crystals and restore the honey's original consistency.

Another technique is to use a microwave. Remove the lid from the jar and microwave it on low power for 30-second intervals, stirring in between. Be careful not to overheat the honey, as it can become too hot and lose its nutritional value. Continue microwaving and stirring until the crystals have dissolved and the honey is smooth again.

To prevent honey from crystalizing in the future, store it in a cool, dry place. Avoid exposing it to extreme temperatures or direct sunlight. If your honey does crystalize again, simply repeat one of these methods to bring it back to its liquid form.

With these easy tips, you can fix crystalized honey and enjoy its sweet goodness without any hassle. Say goodbye to hardened honey and hello to smooth, pourable sweetness.

Get red wine stains out of wine glasses

Have you noticed the base of your wine glasses are getting a bit stained from red wine? I have a tip to get them back to their original sparkling best with zero scrubbing.

Clean stains out of red wine glasses

Don't bother with soaking, working a dish sponge down into the base (if you can even rig it up to get it down there!). Don't bother with vinegar. Don't get out the peroxide and baking soda.

Get LA's Totally Awesome cleaner from Dollar Tree and spritz some in. It will break it down quickly and you just need to rinse it out after it has worked its magic (give it 5 minutes).

This works great on stained coffee pots either drip or Chemex style.

Tomato paste hack (no waste)

When you just need a tablespoon of tomato paste, then what? One option of course is buying tomato paste tubes and squeeze out how much you need but most of us have cans of tomato paste on hand. Plus ounce per ounce. canned tomato paste is about 1/5th the price of tubes.

two tubes of tomato paste

.Before you take out your tablespoon of tomato paste, put the entire 8 ounce can contents into a quart sized ziploc freeser bag. Evenly spread the paste around the inside of the bag (use a rolling pin to flatten it if need be) then score it like a grid. Score using the top side of a kitchen knife, not the sharp cutting side.

scoring lines

4 even columns then one down the center of the 4 colums. This creates one-ounce sections. Freeze flat. Then break off or cut one of the sections each time you need a tablespoon of tomato paste.

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