There’s nothing like a good kitchen hack to come to the rescue when you’re cutting off more ginger than peel (#5) or you’re pulling a muscle trying to make cookie dough using hard butter (#7). Check out 8 of my favorite kitchen hacks!
#1 Use the back of a cleaver to crack open coconuts.
I can’t watch a hammer or rock being taken to a coconut because it’s most likely going to end up in shattered pieces instead of two, perfectly edged bowls. Try using the back of a cleaver next time you want to crack open a coconut. Every coconut has 3 dots at the top of it. The more oblong shaped dot is usually soft where you can easily punch a hole through to release pressure and drain the water prior to cracking. I usually skip step one and, instead, place a large bowl under the coconut so when I crack it, the water drops into the bowl. To crack the coconut, take your cleaver and hit the coconut in the center, opposite of the natural ridged line in the coconut. There are 2-3 ridges you can easily see on the coconut. Those are the breaking points of the coconut, and the best spots to hit it. All you’ll need is about 2-4 good whacks and it will break cleanly.
#2 Pop the stem off an avocado to check ripeness level
Slicing open avocados can be a guessing game, but one way to check for ripeness is to pop off the stem and check the color. If you see that yellow/green color, it’s perfect, but, if you see brown, it’s overripe (and maybe mushy). BUT, don’t be that person at the grocery store who pops off all the stems (it’s the equivalent of peeing in the pool – it ruins it for everyone). If you’re at the grocery store, instead of poking the avocado with your fingers, cup it in your hand and squeeze a little to check if it’s the right firmness.
#3 Poke a hole at the top of your lemon to squeeze lemon drops all week long
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If you start your mornings with lemon-honey water/tea like a lot of people, you’re probably used to buying a lot of lemons. But, one way to get more out of your lemon is, instead of cutting your it in slices to store over the week, puncture a hole at the top of the whole lemon to squeeze out the few drops you need. By using this method, the lemon is able to retain more of its moisture for a longer period of time. (You can use a metal straw or skewer to make the hole. Roll your lemon to work out the juices.) (As seen on ABC’s The Chew)
#4 Spread a little butter on the sides of your fancy cheeses before storing it in the fridge
Wine and cheese is such a thing now (and I’m not mad about it). But, if you’re going to spend all that money on good gouda and brie, don’t let it dry up in the fridge.
#5 Peel ginger using a spoon
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#6 Clumpy rice? Wash it before cooking
Does your rice clump together when you cook it? To prevent this, be sure to wash your rice 2-3 times before cooking. You’ll notice when you add water to dry rice, a foggy, white color appears – this is residual starch and, once removed, it lowers the chances of your rice sticking together.
#7 Make a homemade sauna for your butter to soften it in a pinch
There are some nights
(all nights) where all you want is a delicious, chocolate-y brownie, but you don’t feel like waiting 1 episode of Orange is the New Black (yes that’s how I time things) long for your stick of butter to come to room temp. Instead, take a medium, microwave-safe bowl, add a cup of water and heat it in the microwave for about 3 minutes (or until the water boils). Dump the water out and then cover the stick of butter with the bowl. In about 5 minutes, your butter will be ready to slice.
*BONUS: if you don’t feel like doing all of that, use a cheese grater on the butter instead.
#8 Use leftover citrus rinds to clean your cutting boards
Citrus rinds make for a great sponge especially when it comes to cleaning your wood cutting boards. After I cut something that I KNOW will leave a funky smell, I take my boards, scrub with sea salt first and then again with a citrus rind. The natural oils will come out of the rinds and leave your boards smelling great!
What are some of your favorite kitchen hacks?