By Tom Mitchell-Dawson
Cooking is something we do every day, so enjoying it is important. But many kitchen tasks can be tedious, time consuming and messy, not what you need after a long hard day at work. In this article we’ve put together 20 of our favourite kitchen hacks that can elevate your cooking and make best use of your time.
- Opening stubborn jars
We’ve all encountered a stubborn jar that just won’t open no matter how hard you try but with this quick trick those days will be in the past. Simply banging the lid of the jar on the side of a table will release some air and it will open right away.
- Peel ginger with a spoon
Peeling ginger can lead to a lot of waste when using a traditional peeler or knife. Avoid this by simply scraping away the skin with a teaspoon.
- Use old jars to make salad dressings
Jars are great for making dressings as they can be shaken which allows the dressing to emulsify. There is no need to wash them out before in many cases as the last bits of mustard, honey, pickle juice etc work wonderfully as a base flavour.
- Sieve your eggs before poaching
Avoid those stringy bits of egg when poaching by straining the egg in a small sieve or strainer. This allows the watery bit of the egg to fall through the holes leaving only the yolk and the white.
- Store olive oil in with a free flow pour nozzle
For a great way to store olive oil, wash out an old wine bottle, fill with your oil and attach a speed pourer nozzle. No need to unscrew the lid of the olive oil every-time you need some, just simply pick up and pour. Discover the Cole & Mason range of pourers here.
- Always have a bowl handy for cooking scraps
When cooking your dinner, always have a bowl next to your chopping board for any food scraps. This means no regular trips to the bin or onion skins clogging up your workspace.
- Try toasting your spices
To get the most out of your spices it is important to allow them to properly cook out before adding your other ingredients. This can be done in a dry pan with whole spices that can then be ground in a pestle and mortar or if using powdered, cooked in oil for a minute or so until fragrant.
- Store herbs in water
To keep fresh herbs from going bad you can store them much like you would flowers. The Cole and Mason cut herb keeper and the self-watering herb keeper were designed with this in mind. Place the herbs in the storage containers and fill with water to double the shelf life of fresh herbs.
- Salt and sugar should be used for both sweet and savoury dishes
Salt and sugar shouldn’t just be used for either sweet or savoury dishes, they can enhance the flavour of many things you cook. A pinch of salt in pancake batter goes a long way or a teaspoon of sugar in a tomato sauce really helps to bring out the tomato’s natural sweetness.
- Take the guesswork out of your cooking by using a meat probe.
Simply following time and temperature isn’t the most accurate way of roasting meats and can often leave you with a slightly overcooked or undercooked dinner. Using a meat probe means you can reliably cook your meat to your liking every-time.
- Organise before you cook
Organisation makes cooking a much more enjoyable thing to do. Laying out all your ingredients in containers on a tray before you cook is a great way to prepare. The Cole and mason storage containers are great for this as they look great in the kitchen and can keep ingredients, such as garlic, fresher for longer.
- Removing eggshell from mix
There's little more frustrating than cracking eggs and seeing that some shell has found its way into your eggs. To solve this, use the half egg shell to scoop out the fragment with ease.
- Warm your plates to keep food hot
Plating up dinner for lots of people can often take longer than you think, leaving time for the food to go cold. To avoid this, place a stack of plates in the microwave for a minute or so before plating so everything can be served hot to your guests.
- How to remove an avocado stone
Getting a stone out of an avocado can lead to accidents. The easiest and safest way is to cut the avocado in half then lightly squeeze the half with the stone in and it will pop straight out.
- How to freshen up bread
If you have a baguette that is a couple of days old and slightly stale, then fear not. Run it under cold water then place in the oven for 5 minutes or so and it will be as fresh as the day you bought it.
- How to grate cheese with food processor
Grating cheese can be a tedious task especially when you need a lot. But this can be done in no time at all with a food processor. Just place in the cheese and pulse under you to reach your desired consistency.
- Secure your chopping board with damp kitchen roll
Chopping boards slipping around as you cut can be very annoying and also unsafe. To stop this from happening take a few sheets of kitchen roll or a tea towel and dampen slightly. Place this under your chopping board and press down firmly to secure it. Using a sturdy board is also very important. Cole and Masons range of acacia boards are heavy duty and therefore won’t be prone to slipping like a standard plastic board.
- Bag up food without the mess
Putting food in freezer bags or piping bags can often be a messy task. To avoid this place the bag in a measuring cup or bowl and fold over the sides. Then fill up the bag with whatever you want without any of the mess.
- Remove pomegranate seeds with ease
Cut the pomegranate into quarters then hold the pomegranate in your hand with the seeds facing your palm over a large bowl of water. Then bang the skin side with a wooden spoon and then seeds will be propelled into the water. The water will help the seeds separate from the white pith for easy picking.
- How to grate quicker
Chopping garlic and ginger can be a pain and leave a mess on your chopping board. To avoid this simply take the fine side of a cheese grater and grate straight into whatever you are cooking. You don’t even have to peel them if you are really in a rush.
Keep these hacks in mind next time you are in the kitchen and before long you will wonder how you lived without them!