Kitchen Hacks: 10 tips and tricks to make cooking a little easier

Posted at 9:50 AM, Nov 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-01 10:17:34-04

NORFOLK, Va. - Whether you enjoy cooking or only head into the kitchen when you have to, we could all use a few tips and tricks to make the job a little easier.

To help you out, News 3 is sharing 'kitchen hacks!'  We went to the Culinary Institute of Virginia to find out how to make your life easier.

For more life hacks, tune in to News 3 This Morning all week, starting at 5 a.m.!

Here are some of their tips:

  • Removing seeds from tomatoes - After dicing the tomatoes, put them in a basket that you'd use for grilling vegetables, then run it under water.  The large holes in grilling baskets are spaced far apart, making it easy for the seeds to slip through as you run it under water.  Chef Greg Burroughs says removing the seeds before putting tomatoes in salsa will make it last longer and taste better.
  • Make guacamole last longer - Guacamole browns very quickly, so to make it last longer, you want to create a barrier around it to keep oxygen out.  Coat a bag with olive oil, then mash it down onto the guacamole and wrap the bag around the bowl.  You can also just put cooking spray on top of the guacamole and then wrap a bag or plastic wrap around it.
  • Quickly peel garlic - Cut the ends off your garlic gloves then throw them into some boiling water.  Leave the garlic cloves in for 30 seconds.  When you pull them out, the skin will pop right off.
  • What to do with leftover stock - This is a helpful tip with the holidays coming up.  If you have a pot of leftover stock, cook it down to a gloss.  It's about an 85 - 90 percent reduction of stock.  You just leave the stock simmering on the stove until it cooks down.  Once it's reduced, you can pour it into ice cube trays or small containers, then pop them in the fridge or freezer.  This will give you individual servings you can pop out when needed and keeps your stock from going to waste.
  • Use dental floss to slice delicate baked goods - When you use a knife to cut cakes or baked goods, sometimes you can end up smashing them or getting crumbs everywhere. Chef Jay Weinisch showed us how to use dental floss to get a clean cut.  Take a long piece of floss, wrap it around your fingers and mark the cake where you want to cut it.  Once it's marked, go back and actually cut your pieces.  Make sure the floss is tight, then press it all the way to the bottom, sawing back and forth a little.  Once you've reached the bottom, pull the floss out the side instead of going back up so you don't get crumbs on the top of your cake.  You can use waxed or unwaxed, just make sure it's non-flavored floss.
  • What to do with leftover herbs - If you have a bunch of leftover herbs from a recipe, here's a way to put them to use.  Mix the herbs with softened butter, then put the butter onto a piece of parchment paper.  Roll it up like cookie dough and then store in the fridge.  As you need it, you can just slice a piece off and put it on fish or steak for a good sauce.
  • Peeling ginger - If you use a knife to peel ginger, you'll end up tearing it apart.  The best method is to use a spoon and just scrape the outer layer off.

We also searched on-line to find other kitchen hacks people recommend.  Here's what we found:

  • Separate egg whites from egg yolks - Get an empty water bottle, squeeze out some of the air, then suck the egg yolk into it.  You can then squeeze the yolk back out into a separate bowl.
  • Keeping wine cold - To keep your white wine chilled while you're drinking it, put a few frozen grapes in your glass.
  • Scooping out ice cream - This is a good tip if you plan to serve a lot of ice cream for a party.  When you get the ice cream home from the store and it's still a little soft, scoop out individual servings and put them in a muffin tray.  Put the tray back in the freezer and when you're ready for it, you can just pull it back out to serve.

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