I haven’t been cooking too much lately, so I figured I’d change things up a bit and share with you all some awesome kitchen tips you definitely want to know. What I find beneficial about this list of 5, is that there is a partial focus on how to keep foods fresher, longer. As a college student on a budget, food going sour or bad is a waste of money; however, it can be easily avoided. Several of these others tips are wonderful tools to help you remain efficient in the kitchen!
1. Use Tongs
Tongs are the universal tool of the kitchen. Yes, a spatula is great for flat foods, such as pancakes and eggs, but tongs are much easier way to pick up other foods. Tongs also give you much more control and a smaller chance of dropping your food across the kitchen floor. Also, if you have non-stick cookware, I recommend using tongs with nylon tips to avoid scratching your pans. Always go with the 12 inch tongs as well. This long utensil keeps you far away from the heat and gives you sturdier control when picking up larger foods.
2. Store Everything in Tupperware
As a college student, Tupperware will save your life. We all spend our limited amount of money on food, so for it to go bad before we are done utilizing as much as we can, is such a waste. Tupperware gives berries, salad greens, and cut produce, a much longer life due to it’s air tight seal. Don’t be afraid to also store your dinner leftovers in these containers as well. If you make too much, pop it in a container and you’ll have a fresh and delicious meal waiting for you another day. These containers are also reusable and therefore more Eco-friendly, which is ALWAYS a plus.
3. If You Own a Knife, Use It
Many people underestimate the versatility of an everyday kitchen knife. In particular, I want to focus on garlic. Pretty much all delicious recipes use garlic, so it is essential to know the proper way to mince and dice this tiny clove. Many use a garlic press, however I find that to be a waste of time AND garlic. Yes it seems easy, but half the time you are wasting some of your garlic as it gets stuck in the press. A technique I prefer to utilize, is simply smashing the unpeeled clove with the flat side of your knife. This will force the skin to slide off easily and then you can easily mince it up.
4. Keep Separate Cutting Boards for Different Foods
Certain foods, such as onions and garlic, have a very potent/prominent smell. Many don’t realize how easy it is for these flavors to be permanently absorbed into a cutting board. This being said, I find it very beneficial to have at least two different cutting boards to ensure that these flavors aren’t being spread around in an unwanted manner. No one wants onion flavored fruits and cheeses all the time! Also, having a separate board with a small lip around the sides, is good for cutting meats to ensure the juices and blood don’t pour off the board onto your counter tops. This can also help prevent cross contamination.
5. Herbs Should Be Fresh and Green
With the exception of a few certain that are intended to be dry, such as bay leaves and oregano, herbs should be fresh, green, and beautiful. Herbs are always better and more flavorful when they are bright and fresh. Although they don’t last too long in the fridge, the result in flavor is most definitely worth it. I always recommend using fresh chives, parsley, thyme, rosemary, dill, etc. These herbs add brightness and a stronger depth of flavor to each of your recipes. Yes, dried herbs are still delicious, but they do not have a long shelf life and also lack the flavor that most recipes call for.
If you were planning on using dried herbs, another tip would be to put the herbs in the palm of your hand and rub them between your fingers as you add them to your recipe. This helps release the oils from the dried herbs, giving them more flavor.