Food costs are rising everyday. Why not implement a few of these kitchen hacks to save time when preparing meals in the kitchen? Let’s be honest; we won’t be adding any more hours to the day any time soon. We might as well make the most of every minute!
1. Keep Sliced Apples from Going Brown
Giving your kids fresh apple slices in their snack boxes, serving them at play dates and having them looking fresh for fruit salad has never been easy. Now usually, you hear you need to add lemon juice to fresh sliced apples to keep them from going brown, but it also changes the taste of your fruit, making it tart. Instead fill a large bowl 2/3 full with water and stir in 1 teaspoon of oxidised salt. Don’t worry you won’t have salty apples; as there isn’t enough salt to change their taste. What you will have is beautiful fresh looking apples you can even slice the night before.
2. How to Freeze Courgettes
Courgette pasta has become highly popular recently since it’s vegan, gluten free and overall healthy. First, hand grate or julienne your courgettes. Separate them into 1-2 cup portions and place them into freezer safe bags that have an air tight seal. When you’re ready to use them, you simply defrost on the worktop and drain any lingering water. It’s the perfect way to get the most out of your courgettes whilst they are still in season!
Image Credit: Work it. Mom!
3. Keep Lemons and Limes Fresh for Up to 4 Weeks
Lemons are useful for a variety of purposes, cleaning, cooking and of course making water taste citrus-y good. Limes are good too, you know for margaritas! There’s nothing worse than grabbing for our sour friends for a refreshing cocktail, a squeeze for lemon chicken or to make our sink smell fresh only to realise it’s all dried up. Well, there’s a way to keep your lemons and limes good for weeks! Simply refrigerate them. Okay, so not just refrigerating them, but refrigerating them submerged in water in jar or container with a lid. Just remember, the fruits need to be washed thoroughly before putting them in the water as their skins contain all sorts of yuck.
4. Homemade Vanilla Extract
The price of vanilla extract is extortionate. Plus, in your local supermarkets there isn’t really a variety of vanilla extract from Madagascan to Mexican and anything in between. Normally, you just see “vanilla extract”. With these recipes from Tidy Mom you can make your own vanilla extract and make it deep, rich or floral depending on the vanilla you use. All you need is vodka (even the cheap stuff works), 8-9 vanilla beans (choose your varitey) and a glass bottle that has a tight closing lid. Once you have the vanilla beans in your bottle, pour in enough vodka to completely cover them and seal the bottle. Put them in a cool, dry environment like a lower cupboard and shake 1x per week. It can be used after six weeks but the longer you leave it the more flavourful it becomes.
5. How to Freeze Fresh Herbs
This hack is perfect whether you grow your own herbs and have an abundance or buy them at the grocery and don’t want them to go off. If your herbs are coming fresh from you garden, pick them, wash them thoroughly and remove all long stems. If they are coming from the grocery, still wash them thoroughly and remove any of the long stems. Then you want to either use a hand chopper or if you’re good with a knife, finely chop up your herbs and spoon them into an ice cube tray. Yep – the key to keeping them fresh is to freeze them. But wait! Don’t freeze them yet. Simply top off the herbs in the tray with water and freeze. Once they are fully frozen, pop them out of the ice cube tray and into freezer bags for use whenever you need them.
6. Make Your Own Flavoured Butters
Instead of paying for those lovely flavoured butters at the fishmongers counter or even down the aisle the supermarket make your own following a few of these recipes from Your Home Based Mom. She gives you a few recipes for sweet butters like fig and cranberry and a few savouries like garlic and herb and roasted red pepper. Enjoy making your own roasted red pepper stuffed salmon without paying the crazy prices you see at the fish counter. These are the only ones that you can make, fresh cracked black pepper, cheese and onion, caramalised onion, the options truly are endless.
7. Keep Asparagus Fresh Up to 2 Weeks
Asparagus can be expensive to buy and hard to keep fresh, but it is well worth it’s money because it is incredibly delicious. Here’s a tip to keep that asparagus fresh, ready for broiling, grilling or searing. Keep it upright in jar with a few inches of water in the bottom. Cover them loosely with a plastic bag and then stick them in the freezer. They’ll stay fresher, longer and be ready when you are.
8. Homemade Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Like vanilla extract, sun dried tomatoes tend to be imported and usually pricey. Better Hens and Gardens has put together a nifty way of creating your own by slicing Roma tomatoes in half then baking them at a low temperature. Not only does this save you money but it also gives you peace of mind knowing there are no nasty preservatives lurking amongst your delectable sun-dried tomatoes. To store them, simply put them in an airtight freezer bag and store in the freezer for later.
I know you see these lists all the time. Everything from how to peel a potato in seconds to you’ve been peeling an orange wrong your whole life. This list hopefully serves to save you time and money and even make your meals a bit healthier.