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Incredibly Useful Kitchen Hacks

Need to know if your eggs are still good to eat? Want to get that lingering garlic smell off your fingers? Then get a load of these incredibly useful kitchen hacks!

Slow down rotting

Store tomatoes stem end down to keep them fresher for longer, as this prevents air from entering and moisture from leaving the area where it was once attached to the vine.

Give bananas a longer shelf life

Keep bananas fresh for longer by wrapping the end of the bunch in cling film, or simply separate each banana. These methods help block ethylene gas from releasing out of the stem, which ripens the fruit quicker.

Speed up ripening

If you’re feeling too impatient to wait for your fruit to ripen, get those bananas from green to yellow faster by throwing them into a paper bag, thereby concentrating the ethylene gas to help them ripen faster. Works with getting peaches from crunchy to juicy too.

Prevent brown sugar from hardening

To help keep brown sugar soft, toss an orange peel or slice of apple along with the sugar into an airtight container. Or if it’s already hardened into crusty nuggets, just microwave it next to a small glass of water, the moisture from which will help break up the sugar blocks.

Alternative food covering

Take a page out of Nigella’s book and cover your leftovers with a clean shower cap to prevent air particles from turning your food stale. Not only reusable, they’re much easier than repeatedly removing and replacing cling film or tin foil.

Check if eggs are still edible

To find out if your eggs are still good to eat, gently place them in a bowl of cold water. If they sink to the bottom then they’re good, if they float then they’re old. This is because the liquid inside the egg evaporates over time through its porous shell, leaving behind a gas bubble so the floatier the egg the older it is.

Retrieve eggshell pieces easily

We all know the horrors of trying to fish out pieces of eggshell from our food, but it doesn’t need to be such a struggle. Simply wet your fingers and reach in! Alternatively, use half of the already cracked egg to scoop them out, as the shell acts as a magnet to draw up the shell pieces.

Separate egg yolks from whites

Frustrated with trying to separate slippery egg yolks from the whites? This hack is pure wizardry! Crack an egg into a bowl, then turn an empty water bottle upside down and hold it above the yolk, squeezing the sides of the bottle. As the rim of the bottle gently touches the yolk, release the pressure from the bottle and the change in air pressure will suck the yolk directly up into the bottle, leaving the white behind.

Peel garlic easy and fuss-free

Once all cloves have been removed from the bulb, whack each clove with the side of a knife to easily remove the skin. You’ll find that garlic has actually quite a rubbery texture, so simply twisting the clove gently will loosen the skin for an easy peel.

Make citrus fruits even juicier

To get the most juice out of a lemon, simply refrigerate, then microwave it for 15 to 20 seconds. For all citrus fruits, roll them, cut lengthwise, and use a pair of tongs to squeeze instead of your hands to really get the most out of them.

Opening tough jars

To open a jar lid that just won’t budge, wrap the lid with a rubber band to give it extra traction. If that still doesn’t work, cover that with a dish towel and try again.

De-crystallize honey

Bring crystallized honey back to life by placing the container in a bowl of hot water for 5 to 10 minutes. Or simply give it a quick blitz in the microwave.

Reheating food in the microwave

When reheating pizza or baked goods, place a cup of water in the microwave alongside them to add moisture to the air and keep the food from drying out.
For pasta, transfer to a plate and shape it into a donut (with a hole in the middle). This way prevents the edges from getting dried out and the middle from staying cold.

Remove cooking smells from your hands

Chopping onions and garlic can leave your fingers smelling musty for ages, so the way to prevent this is to rub your hands with lemon juice or baking soda. Even by holding on to something made from stainless steel will neutralize the odour, as the molecules in the steel bind with the smelly molecules (such as the sulfur from garlic).

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