With grown children and a grandkid, our family time is precious and I’m not about to waste those valuable minutes in the kitchen prepping our meal. I’m always on the lookout for shortcuts to save us time in the kitchen. Peeling, cutting, and chopping fruits and vegetables used to use up a significant block of my time – time that should have been spent enjoying my family. Not only are these tasks time-consuming, but they can also lead to nasty nicks and cuts if you’re not careful. Fortunately, I’ve got a number of easy food hacks designed to save time and minimize meal prep.
Peeling potatoes is never a fun chore, but it can be over quickly with the right technique. One of the fastest ways to peel potatoes involves boiling them first, which is perfect if you’re planning on making mashed potatoes. Simply drop the potatoes, peels and all, into boiling water and allow them to boil until soft (about 20 minutes). Next, move them into a bowl of ice water and allow them to sit for about 10 seconds. Take the potatoes out of the ice bath and the skins should peel or even rub right off easily. Ditch the dangerous knives and traditional peelers and try this method next time.
It can be a pain to peel and separate garlic cloves, and the strong garlicky scent can linger on your fingers long after the meal is over. One easy way to peel a head of garlic involves the use of your hand and two same-size bowls. Start by smashing the head of garlic with the heel of your hand. Next, place all of the garlic cloves into a bowl and cover the bowl with the other bowl so that the garlic is inside. With your hands holding the bowls together securely, shake the garlic vigorously for 10 seconds. Remove the top bowl and the cloves should be ready for use.
There are a number of gadgets on the market designed to peel, core, and slice apples. While these tools usually do work, they can be difficult to use. But hear me out on this one…One popular way to quickly peel apples is with a power drill, a clean spade (butterfly) bit, and a regular vegetable peeler. Insert the bit into the bottom of the apple, then turn on the drill as you hold the peeler against the apple in your other hand. With this method, you can peel an apple in only a few seconds. I know it sounds crazy!
Pomegranates are known for their sweet, slightly tart taste, as well as their difficult-to-remove seeds. The traditional way to remove pomegranate seeds is to cut the pomegranate into quarters and manually remove each and every seed by hand. Unfortunately, this technique is extremely time-consuming. An easier way to remove the yummy seeds involves the use of a knife, bowl, and wooden spoon. Begin by scoring the skin of the fruit around its perimeter, then gently pull the pomegranate halves apart to reveal the seeds. While holding one half of the fruit seed-side down, hit the back of the pomegranate over the bowl with the wooden spoon for about 20 seconds. This method should force all of the seeds into the bowl. Repeat with the other half of the pomegranate.
Peeling hard-boiled eggs by hand is not always easy, often resulting in broken egg whites and sharp shells in your nail beds. One simple way to peel eggs is by putting 1 teaspoon of baking soda into the water. This raises the pH level and reduces the adhesion between the egg and shell. After the eggs have boiled, move them to an ice bath to cool. Once cooled, crack both the top and bottom of the egg on a hard surface, remove the cracked part of shell on both ends, and then blow the egg out of the shell in one smooth motion.
Tomatoes are soft, making them difficult to slice or cut without them turning to mush. A serrated knife should be used when cutting whole tomatoes, which allows you to easily slice through the skin without ruining the inside of the tomato. When cutting cherry tomatoes, place about six tomatoes together in a single layer. Place a plastic container lid gently over the tomatoes and run your knife through the sides of the tomatoes while applying light pressure to the lid. This technique will cut each of the cherry tomatoes in half.