If you’ve ever visited a friend’s home unannounced only to discover their kitchen is squeaky clean, you might wonder how they do it. Here are some kitchen hacks to help you master your kitchen. Off to the kitchen we go!
Sink, Sank, Sunk
A wet and dark environment encourages bacteria growth and germs can spread like wildfire to items that are left to accumulate in your sink. Imagine the army of nasty micro-organisms feeding off the food scraps and multiplying on your utensils! Therefore, always use a mild soap and warm water to wipe down your sink with a clean sponge after each dish washing session.
Always getting wet from washing spoons and other round objects? Install a splash guard to prevent yourself and your kitchen floor from getting wet!
Clean your coffee machine
Love a cup of cuppa every morning? You’re probably guilty of using this machine every day but only cleaning it much lesser than you should. This leaves a layer of grime that most definitely would affect the taste of your coffee, usually for the worse. Don’t be lazy and wash removable parts at the sink with warm, soapy water after each use. Make sure you dry them to decrease the possibilities of germ growth!
Keep your coffee beans out of the fridge! The cold environment introduces moisture causing beans to lose flavor. Instead, place the beans in an airtight container at room temperature and they’d last for a week. Use the freezer only when you want to keep them for the long haul!
Every coffee connoisseur probably should have a stainless steel coffee bean canister at home. The canister is fitted with a one-way exhaust valve, which allows for long-term storage while keeping your coffee beans well preserved. This is done by releasing harmful carbon dioxide and preventing oxygen from entering at the same time! The lid even has a display date, reminding you of the freshness of your beans from the time you place them into the container.
Do Not Buy everything
More isn’t necessarily always better. 100 kitchen tools will not make your life easier when you face problems storing them. All you need are a set of trusty basics such as a good knife set, mixing bowls and your pots and pans.
This rule also applies to your weekly supermarket purchases. We are all busy people and we want to reduce our runs to the supermarket as much as possible. Hence, many of us try to buy everything we need to last us for the week. As much as the time saved and convenience is enticing, note that minerals and vitamins in your greens and fruits start diminishing the moment they are harvested. Therefore, the longer you store your food in your fridge, the fewer nutrients it will contain.
To counter this, buy smaller batches of fruits and vegetables at least twice a week. If you really can’t afford that extra supermarket run, then freeze your produce to keep them slightly longer! Or you could always engage grocery delivery services, buy your food online and get them sent right to your doorstep!
Do Not Throw everything in the fridge
“The cold never bothered me anyway.” Well, not quite. Some things just don’t like the cold. Like tomatoes – they go mushy in the fridge and are better off left on your kitchen countertop. The temperature of fridges tend to be too cold for your potatoes too, causing the starch in your spuds to convert to sugar. This results in an altered taste and color – not the most ideal starchy situation.
Bet you didn’t know that your honey doesn’t like the cold too! Refrigeration creates honey crystals and if you don’t like crunchy honey, keep your honey pot on the table.
Leave your garlic in a cool, dry place in their mesh bags, or you risk the flavours of the other food in the fridge getting affected.
Do Not place raw food items above cooked food to prevent cross-contamination. You ask, how will it happen? Well, liquids like excess blood from meat could leak and drip onto cooked food items. You wouldn’t even see it coming.
Do Not Neglect your knives
Now, you can’t possibly expect your knives to stay sharp forever can you? Investing in a good set of knives would definitely last you a long time (especially those with a higher price tag). However, no matter how expensive your knives are, they still need to be sharpened from time to time in order to perform their best.
Be sure to sharpen your knives at least once every 3 months as part of your kitchen maintenance routine. Sharp knives are actually safer because you use lesser force to cut. Therefore, this small effort would go a long way in reducing the possibilities of you cutting yourself.
Don’t say you don’t know where to get a knife sharpener cause it’s really not that hard to find.
Do Not Overcrowd the Pan
Yes, I get it, you have to feed a village. Everyone’s screaming that they are starving and you want to make sure you cook fast and feed ‘em hungry souls. However, throwing in too much into the pan at once is only going to make things worse. Too much ingredients in the pan means more moisture, which results in the food getting steamed instead.Temperature also drops, which may lead to uneven cooking. Yikes!
Give your food space to breathe, those hungry tummies will thank you later.
Do Not Skimp on seasoning
You want to jump onto the health train and reduce sodium, MSG and other seasoning used in your cooking. Choose herbs and spices that can enhance the flavour of your cooking without introducing any fat or sodium! Some super spices even protect you from food poisoning. These include cloves, cinnamon sticks, rosemary and thyme. You can also add them to salads, meats and vegetables to boost your intake of disease-fighting anti-oxidants.
Be sure to season as you cook, and not all at once right at the end. This ensures that the natural flavours of all the ingredients are brought out in your dish.
Do Not Cook meat straight from the fridge
Do this only if you want meat that is overcooked on the outside and undercooked or even raw at the centre. Be it beef, pork, or fish, make sure you thaw your meats before placing them on the grill or in the pan! Let your protein sit for a good 15-20 minutes at room temperature and they’d cook more evenly throughout.
Keep the recipe
Cooking is fun and exciting, we get it. But don’t be so quick to toss that recipe away at first glance! You think you can read as you go along and you rush to get right into the action. But, there’s nothing worse than realizing along the way that you’re lacking a few ingredients to complete the dish. Therefore, it is important to finish reading the recipe all the way through before you get started! This gives you a clearer picture of what you need and what you’d be doing for the next hour in the kitchen.
Cooking has never been easier and more enjoyable!