Food hacks

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[edit] Readiness and Economy

  • Buy and keep a pantry of items on hand at all times. Keep a checklist on the front of the pantry of what is missing, check off things as you use them, then fill it back up when you go to the store. This greatly reduces expenses, as well as makes it so you're never forced to go out.
  • Clean the fridge before you go grocery shopping. You can take stock of what you need, and make room for new groceries at the same time.

[edit] Preparation

  • For easy cleanup when you have a lot of vegetables to peel, line your sink with newspaper. It will hold up when wet and all you'll have to do is gather it up and throw everything away. -- GH 21 Mar 05
    • Along with lining your sink with newspaper (which is a waste of perfectly good litter liner :) ), you could just use a large bowl, and empty that and throw it in the dishwasher. -DB
    • Or, better yet, just peel them straight into the garbage can. In chef school I'd just pull the industrial can over to my station and peel away. At home, I'll peel right into the compost bucket, if I'm composting at the time. --JW 23 Mar 05 ( bonus of this is that you don't need to chop your compost! nice tip JW. )
    • If you do go with the newspaper base for peeling veggies, you can throw the whole thing -- paper and peel -- right into a composter. --JP 24 Mar 05
  • Have whipping cream but no mixer (and you don't want to do it by hand)? If you have one, a blender (like for milkshakes) works in a pinch. Put on high speed, and only do a little at a time. Only takes about five seconds. Any longer and it turns into butter. --AWOL
  • When using a microwave, simplify the button pressing by being less exact (2m 22s is one button three times instead of choosing 2m 30s which is three buttons once each. ) Your food won't know the difference. -jsg 24 Mar 05 (This reminds me of Homer Simpson waiting 15 seconds for meat loaf and whining "Don't we have anything faster than a microwave?") -lmm 25 Mar 05
  • Making powdered chocolate milk or hot chocolate can leave you with a bunch of powdery "nuggets" floating on top of the beverage. Put the powder in the cup first, then add a small amount of liquid. Stir this into a paste, then add the rest of the liquid. No more nuggets. --SP 25 Mar 05
  • "artisan bread" i.e. real bread. When you buy a nice crusty loaf to take home for dinner, you absolutely must "refresh" it in a ~425 F degree oven for about 5 minutes before serving. Improves the crust and loaf dramatically. -- LGU 25 Mar 05
    • The artisan bread just stales a bit faster than the frankenbread that you buy from factories. Staleing is caused by a reaction in the starch (that is accellerated in the 30-45F range that most refridgerators have). For any starch containing item (rice, bread, biscuts) that have gone stale, if you get the actual temp. of the bread above 155 F (68C) or so, the starch will unstale.-- Mjl
      • Scientists have verified this is a airless vacuum. -- Mjl.
  • Put gin in the freezer 10-15 mins before making a gin and tonic and it will be just the right temperature. -- Sophia.
    • Don't leave it in there, and especially not beer. Trust me! Beer ice-lollies not good. -- S.
    • But you can leave your bottle of vodka in the freezer. I will not freeze. Only bad quality vodkas might form some tiny cristals. --K3nji 10:05, 13 December 2006 (EST)
    • See also: chill bottles in 6 minutes with salty ice water. --Ookpik
  • Maximum refreshment tip: keep a glass or two in the fridge to use for ice-cold beverages. For added versatility, use a heavyweight glass: makes a great summer cooler-downer when pressed to the wrist or forehead. -- Sam. - In the freezer is even better. --Laurel
  • Avoid spillages: use Blu-Tac (or local equivalent) to stick a coaster to a specific place on your desk. Forgetting the 'eccentric' location I chose for today's mug of tea was the cause of 90% of my spills - now it just doesn't happen. -- Sam
  • Soften dry ingredients: before adding dry ingredients to wet, e.g., cornstarch for thickening soup, "soften" them with a small amount of liquid. This way you won't get clumps of dry ingredient floating in the wet. Use this technique when making your wasabi and soy dipping sauce for sushi -- put the wasabi paste in the dish, add a sprinkle of soy, mix (turns to mud), and then add more soy to taste. No more clumping! -- Marsh
  • Do you forget to turn off the grill or stove ? When the food looks like it's done, always turn off the grill first. After that, take the food off. This eliminates the possibility of getting distracted in the "window of opportunity" between taking the food off and turning off the grill. The smell of cooking/burning food is a better reminder to go in and turn off the grill, than the non-smell of the grill cooking the air. --DavidCary 20:01, 6 Jul 2005 (EDT)
  • If, for whatever reason, you don't have a microwave and need to melt a small bit of butter, you can melt it on the burner in a stainless steel dry measuring cup. Saucepans are just too big to melt a tablespoon or two.

[edit] Tools

  • If you make tea or coffee or hot chocolate or pasta a lot, invest in an electric tea kettle. They boil much more quickly than on the stove or microwave saving time and energy. --Edward Vielmetti
    • I like the Bodum IBIS kettle which lifts nicely from the charging base and is very fast. Build quality is not great though. -jsg Mar 25 05
    • If you can, import a British tea kettle - most British brands are good, and almost all the electric kettles have a lift-off base. Some more stylish than others! - jajb Aug 23 '05
  • If you drink coffee or tea a lot at home, get a restaurant/diner-style sugar dispenser with the little flip top. They are less mess than a sugar bowl, resist spills and hold more sugar.
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