We love little secrets that help make kitchen duties easy and fun. Here are a few of our favorites…
Easy vegetable crisper: You may think that rubbery stalk of celery is ready for the compost heap. No so! Cut it to fit whatever container you have (we like rectangular-shaped Tupperware), and cover with ice-cold water for 15 minutes or more. Your celery will be crisp and tuna-salad ready. Soak wilted lettuce in cold water with a squeeze of lemon juice for perky leaves and a brighter flavor. This ice-water soak works on other veggies, such as carrots and parsnips, but it works like magic on celery and lettuce.
Magic meatball turner: If you are pan-frying a close-knit group of delicate, small food items that each need individual attention (such as meatballs), don’t turn them with a wide pancake turner (which will puncture your other meatballs) or a pair of tongs (which might cause the fragile meatballs to fall apart). Use a metal pie cutter, which is angled to a point and can work around the tight spots between your meatballs or fritters, making it easy to turn each one over.
Berry good cleaner: What good is buying strawberries on sale if they wind up in the garbage before you’ve had a chance to finish them? The bacteria on all kinds of berries cause them to rot rather quickly. As soon as you get berries home, bathe them in a bowl of three parts water to one part distilled white vinegar. After about 30 seconds, rinse them in cold water, dry them thoroughly (spin gently in a salad spinner) and refrigerate them. The vinegar mixture will kill off the bacteria and give you a few more days to enjoy your berries. No need to rinse them again before eating—there is no hint of vinegar taste whatsoever.
Perfect measuring-spoon storage: Are you tired of looking for missing measuring spoons? Store them in a small glass jar near your stove (we use a small canning jar). Whenever you’re finished using your measuring spoons, clean them immediately and put them back in their special jar holder. Don’t put them in the dishwasher or in your utensils drawer where they’ll be overwhelmed by large spoons and spatulas. Make this little change, and you’ll never waste time looking for that quarter-teaspoon measure again! It’s also provides a cute decorative touch. Oh, if the jar ever becomes grimy from kitchen grease, simply swap with another jar and put the dirty one in the dishwasher.
Thanks to TheKitchn.com and King Arthur Flour for help with this tip.