10 Kitchen Hacks That Will Save You Time & Money

Lisa Fogarty | May 16, 2014 Home & Garden

Frustrated by brown sugar that seems to harden hours after you get it home from the grocery store? You're not alone. Watching the clock tick the precious minutes of your life away while you wait for butter to soften? So not necessary. Even if you're a domestic diva, you probably wish some of the things you have to do in the kitchen to make a great meal possible weren't such a drag on your time. I mean, peeling garlic? Boooring.

But there are ways you can fly through some of the more tedious cooking duties in order to get to the really fun part -- you know, where you can decorate lots of baked goodies just to have an excuse to lick frosting off a knife. Familiarize yourself with a few good kitchen hacks and use them.

More from CafeMom: 10 Kitchen Shortcuts Every Mom Should Have Up Her Sleeve

Here are 10 kitchen shortcuts you can use to save oodles of time and even money.

 

Image via Maskot/Corbis

  • Soften Brown Sugar

    1

    Don't you hate it when the brown sugar hardens into a useless block? Prevent this from happening by pouring sugar into an airtight container as soon as you get it home from the store and mixing in an orange peel or apple slice.

  • Soften Butter in Seconds

    2

    Your recipe calls for softened butter, but who ever remembers to remove it from the fridge an hour before? No worries. First, cut the stick into pieces so that it softens quicker. Then grab a cheese grater and run those pieces over the grater.

  • Keep Pots From Boiling Over

    3

    I can't tell you how many times I've left a pot of boiling water on the stove, only to return a few minutes later and find it has made a huge mess. Here's what I'll do next time: place a wooden spoon across the top of the pot. And it has to be wood -- which, unlike metal, doesn't conduct heat.

  • Save Money on Herbs

    4

    Most recipes only call for a bit of thyme or rosemary -- so why are we forced to buy them in bulk? Save money by placing herbs on a paper towel and microwaving them until they're dry (30 to 40 seconds should be fine for a small batch). Now you'll easily be able to store what you have left for future use.

  • Make Birthday Cake Last Longer

    5

    There's nothing bad about birthday cake -- except that there's usually a ton of it left over and it never seems to be as good the next day. Take slices of bread and adhere them to the exposed parts of leftover cake using toothpicks. This trick will actually maintain the cake's freshness!

  • Peel Garlic in 20 Seconds

    6

    Lordy, do I hate peeling garlic and getting all of its icky juices under my fingertips. That's why this tip is genius: you simply microwave a head of garlic on a paper towel for 20 seconds and, voila, its peel comes off like magic.

  • Reheat Pasta Like a Pro

    7

    You know how pasta never seems to heat properly in the microwave? You have to stop, mix the pasta, microwave it again, stop again, etc. Try doing this instead: make a hole in the middle of the serving so the pasta resembles a doughnut, then microwave it.

  • Peel Potatoes and Tomatoes in a Snap

    8

    When I peel potatoes, I always take the best part of the veggie along with it. And forget about peeling tomatoes with a knife -- impossible. This trick works for both: place potatoes or tomatoes in boiling water for a few minutes and then drop them into a bowl of ice water. You'll be amazed at how quickly their peels fall off.

  • Easily Scoop Out Broken Egg Shells

    9

    Nothing like broken egg shells in your batter to make you feel like a baking amateur. No biggie. Instead of tinkering with a fork, use the shell of half an egg, which will attract other shell fragments to it.

  • Get Lemon Juice Without Seeds

    10

    Of course you should place a mesh bag over your lemon before squeezing it -- that's a fool-proof way to get more juice out of your fruit without all of those pesky seeds. But did you also know you should microwave lemons before you squeeze them? Even better: freeze them for a bit before you microwave them.

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