Best Kitchen Tips You Never Knew

As the leaves and the temperatures drop, I am eager again to turn on the stove, tie the food-stained apron around my waist and awake my cast-iron soup pot from hibernation. I was making squash soup other day, using my kitchen glove to roll the garlic cloves to loosen the skin and thought about how many tricks I’ve developed, modified and stolen, over the years. Here are 10 (actually 11) of the less commonly known ….

  1. Use kitchen rubber glove to get skin off garlic. Put a glove on, roll the clove on a board pressing down firmly with the heel of your hand, the rubber on the glove easily loosens the skin.
  2. Use a rubber band to take tops off jars.  Put the rubber band around the lid of the jar (thicker rubber bands work best), and turn. The band adds grip.
  3. Use salt to clean cast iron pans. Sprinkle the salt in, add a little bit of water, quick scrub with a scrub brush and you’re done.
  4. Use salt to clean up greasy stuff like cheese. Lets say you’ve grated cheese and your 18 mos old grabs a handful and tosses it on the floor. Because of the grease, it is impossible to sweep up, so sprinkle some salt onto the cheese (which absorbs the grease) and you can sweep it up/wipe it up, immediately.
  5. Put oil on your fingers when using goat cheese in a recipe.  You can now handle the cheese without it sticking to your fingers.
  6. If you cut a melon before it is ripe, it WILL continue to ripen. Just put some plastic wrap over the cut area and let it sit another day or so. But melon unfortunately, won’t un-ripen. So if you’re going to err, err on cutting too early.
  7. You don’t need to pre-bake a piece crust. I used to and have found no difference.
  8. You can freeze milk. If you’ve got milk in the fridge and you’re going to be away for a few days, freeze it.  It will thaw beautifully.
  9. Basil keeps best in a tightly sealed bag. If the basil had roots, I used to store it in a flower vase or glass, but it keeps best for about 5 days if sealed super tightly in a bag in the fridge.
  10. This one I love (and stole from a Whole Foods salad bar employee). Use the round lid of a plastic deli container for cutting multiple cherry tomatoes (for a salad or other dish). Lay them flat in the top of the plastic lid (8 or so tomatoes),  lay your hand across the tomatoes to hold them firmly and using a serated knife, slice cross-sectionally.  Once slice and you’re done.
  11. Press the cling wrap tightly ONTO the food not just on top of the bowl. The food will keep far better if there is minimal air circulating around the food.


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  • Carol

    What’s a “kitchen glove?”

  • Carol

    What’s a “kitchen glove?”

    • Robin K

      I think they may be referring to gloves used to wash dishes…. I use the flat side of my chefs knife & the heel of my hand to crush the garlic. This brings out the oils of the garlic………

      • Anonymous

        Robin, me too. Jacques Pepin’s tip (and now mine) was to cut the end off first. The skin pops right off. Appreciate the other tips – didn’t know that about melon!

  • Alyse Speyer

    Rub a bit of lemon or lime on your cutting board before chopping onions. It prevents tears.

    Also, salt removes garlic smell from your hands after cutting. Rub your hands with salt and voila.

    • Guest

      Sugar also. No sting!

    • Darcy

      Stainless steel does the trick, too. If you have a stainless steel sink, just rub your fingers on the inside when washing your hands to get rid of garlic or onion smell.