Kitchen Shortcuts

I feel we have all been doing a little more meal preparation due to our stay-at-home orders recently. At least I have. It has been good to use some of the kitchen shortcuts I have learned over the years.

Here are a few of my favorites and most used:

Ice cream is a favorite at our house so I use this shortcut on a regular basis but it is also very helpful if you are serving ice cream for a gathering. Pre-scoop ice cream and return it to the freezer so it will be ready to go when you need it. You can put the scoops on a cookie sheet or in individual muffin cups in muffin papers.

Use muffin cups to freeze stock or broth to use in soups at a later date. You can also use ice cube trays to freeze the stock. Once the stock has frozen, you can transfer the cups or cubes to a freezer bag to take up less room in your freezer.

Freeze fresh mozzarella cheese to make it easier to grate. In addition, to save yourself time and money, shred your own cheese from a block and store it in the freezer.

If you have a baking project you want to do right away and you don’t have time to allow the butter or eggs to come to room temperature you can soften the butter more quickly by cutting it up in small pieces or shredding it. To warm eggs up put them in a bowl of warm water for 5-10 minutes.

Chop herbs with a pizza wheel.

Use an ice cream scoop to portion out muffin batter. It is much faster than using two spoons and prevents you from having to add or subtract batter from cups already filled. Adding or subtracting batter causes overmixing which leads to tunnels in muffins.

If you have accidentally gotten a fragment of egg shell in with your bowl of unbeaten eggs, using half an egg shell to dig it out is very helpful. The fragment clings to the egg shell half.

An egg slicer works nicely to slice fruits like strawberries and bananas.

A melon baller works well to seed tomatoes. Seeding tomatoes makes your sauce thicker.

I know it is not quite sweet corn season yet but an easy way to cut corn off the cob is to use a bundt pan. Place the ear of corn on the raised center section and as you use a knife to cut the kernels off they fall directly into the pan and make for easy and neat retrieval.

To peel a ripe kiwi cut both ends off the fruit then insert a spoon between the skin and the flesh and turn the kiwi. The fruit will come out in one piece and be ready to slice.

I’m sure you all have favorite kitchen short cuts you like to use that you learned from a mother, grandmother, friend or favorite Family and Consumer Sciences teacher. Be sure to pass them along to others!

Marcia Steed

I graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Home Economics Education. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends and traveling.

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2 thoughts on “Kitchen Shortcuts

  1. I buy blue cheese for salads by the pound from a deli. How can I prevent it from sticking together when I cut it up?

  2. Soft cheeses like Blue Cheese are definitely stickier than harder cheeses. Try using a wire cheese slicer to cut it. That should help you get a cleaner cut than using a non wire cheese slicer. Here is also some great information on how best to store cheese after you purchase it.

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