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20 Simple Cooking Tips for 2020

by Pam Silvia

1. Always read (and re-read!) new recipes before you start cooking.

Before you say, “well, duh,” you’d be surprised how often home cooks skip reading over an entire recipe before making it for the first time. Since there’s often intermittent prep work in cooking and baking, it’s a good idea to have a mental blueprint prior to carrying out Step 1.

2. Clean as you go!

3. Store your spices in darkness when not in use.

Herbs, chiles and spices lose their flavors more quickly when they are exposed to heat, as the flavorful oils can dry out under your bright kitchen lights. We’d also advise you to keep them away from the stove, especially away from overhead compartments that can be exposed to rising steam. Instead, store them in air-tight containers or baggies in an out-of-the-way cabinet or your pantry to preserve the integrity of your spices. In this case, we gotta fight the heat to keep the heat.

4. Before grating soft cheese, freeze it for 30 minutes for a cleaner slice.

5. Slice out the core of the onion before you chop to prevent tears.

Much like carving a jack-o’-lantern, hollow out your onion by first slicing off the top root end. Then, using your knife, take out the inner bulb to chop rings or dice with ease! The inner bulb is the culprit behind watery eyes, as it contains a sulfur-based gas, which, when released into the air, makes contact with the moisture in our eyes, creating sulfuric acid. The more you know, right?

6. Use Greek yogurt as a healthy substitute for mayo, sour cream and heavy cream!

7. Store fresh herbs in a container filled with water in your refrigerator.

For cilantro and parsley that won’t wilt after just a few days, try propping them up by their stem ends in a mason jar filled with water, and cover the leafy ends loosely with a plastic bag. When it comes to basil, make sure it is stored in a room-temperature environment, as coldness can cause damage to this particular herb. And voila! You’ve got crisp fresh herbs for at least 2 weeks.

8. Disinfect wood cutting boards by hand washing them with vinegar.

9. Wet your finger with water to retrieve fallen eggshell pieces.

Yup, it’s that simple! Instead of muttering under your breath as you’re fishing for a stray eggshell from your cake batter with a wooden spoon, just dab a wet (clean) finger in the bowl. The water from your fingertip will magnetize to the eggshell. And one and done!

10. Peel garlic easily by microwaving it for 10 seconds first.

11. Keep butter and eggs at room temperature for baking.

Make sure foresight is 2020, and bring cold eggs and butter to room temperature at least  30 minutes (but up to 1 hour) before baking. Just take them out of the fridge, and set them aside! Or, if you’re really pressed for time, place cold eggs in a bowl of warm water for 15 minutes, and microwave sections of butter for a few seconds at a time until they’re just malleable.

12. Use an empty water bottle as a vacuum to separate egg whites and yolks.

13. Toss in an orange peel in brown sugar to prevent clumps. 

To avoid chipping away at hardened brown sugar, just store your stock in a jar with an orange peel inside. The citrusy essence adds moisture and will soften the sugar—and even sweeten it more, which we didn’t think was possible.

14. Microwave leftover pizza with a glass of water—the evaporation will rehydrate the dry crust.

15. Throw in an ice cube in a skillet to chill down sautéing veggies.

If you are sautéing onions, and they start to get too brown, toss in an ice cube to chill down your skillet instantly. The water will evaporate quickly, and your veggies won’t shrivel up!

16. Make powdered sugar by pulverizing granulated sugar in a spice grinder.

17. Cook grains with tea-infused water for flavor.

Punch up the flavors of your quinoa, millet, brown rice or bulgur by cooking them in tea-infused water. The culinary expert behind this trick recommends smokey black teas, Earl Grey blends and chai flavors for robust taste.

18. Save wilting green-leaf produce by freezing it in a zip-top plastic bag until next use.

19. Save a little pasta water to add to your homemade sauce.

After draining pasta, save the last half-cup of water if you're making a sauce from scratch. The dissolved starch from the pasta water can thin out your sauce if it comes out too thick, and it can even out the consistency.

20. Store an apple wedge with your baked treats to keep them soft!

For more cooking tips, stop by our store, and check out our impressive array of kitchen appliances. Whether you’re a novice in the kitchen or a seasoned pro, we’ve got something for everybody!