Kitchen Tips & Tricks
Plus How to Make Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs
I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, which may go without saying given that I named a blog after a spoon. In the years I’ve been cooking, I’ve found a ton of things that really help me when it comes to organizing, maintaining a clean kitchen, and getting the most out of my fruits and vegetables. Hopefully some of these tips will be helpful for you, too! (Oh, P.S., this list is by no means comprehensive or even especially organized – it’s just a few tips I use on the most regular basis!)
Celery: wrap an entire head of celery in a large, slightly dampened paper towel, then wrap in tinfoil. Refrigerate and enjoy fresh, crisp celery for up to 1 month!
Carrots: Store your cut carrot sticks (and celery sticks!) in a glass jar and top it all off with fresh water – this method allows carrots and celery sticks to stay fresh for up to 2 weeks (carrots will last a bit longer than celery).
Berries: Wash berries in a vinegar soak of 3 parts water to 1 part white vinegar to remove any dirt or dust from their sojourn on the store shelves; rinse with fresh water and store in an airtight container, on top of a dry piece of paper towel to soak up moisture, for up to 5 days.
Lettuce: Wrap an entire head of lettuce in a slightly damp tea towel, then store in the fridge for up to a week.
Broccoli: If your broccoli went limp, try this: add 1 part white vinegar to 2 parts water in a bowl, and add your broccoli florets (smaller pieces = more surface area has contact with the solution!). Soak for as long as needed to bring your florets back to your desired crispness. (Use this trick for limp lettuce, too – cut off the base of the head of lettuce and set in a bowl with the vinegar solution from above until crisp again.)
Meat (Well. Bacon.)
Bacon: If you shop at bulk stores for meat, try this tip for storing strips of bacon and using only as much as you need. Line a baking sheet (or two, depending on how much bacon you have to store) with parchment paper. Open your package of bacon strips and, working one at a time, roll the bacon up from one end to the other into little pods. Set on parchment-lined baking sheet. Once all strips are rolled up, set baking sheets into the freezer for about 2 hours, or until bacon is frozen solid. Transfer frozen bacon to an airtight container or Ziploc bag and store in the freezer for up to 6 months. To defrost, just take out the number of strips of bacon you need for your recipe (or your breakfast!) and defrost on a plate on the counter for 15-20 minutes, or in the fridge in a bowl overnight. Cook and enjoy!
Label everything! I stick a piece of tape with the name of a container’s contents on it, or label plastic and glass containers with a dry-erase or chalkboard marker. It washes right off with some soap and water!
Keep all raw meat products in a leak-proof storage bin in the fridge. This prevents any liquids from dripping onto any other food items, thus causing cross-contamination. And it keeps your fridge organized!
Store eggs, meat, and milk in the coldest part of your fridge – near the middle, top, or back. NEVER store perishable items in the door of the fridge; instead, use the doors for things like condiments and canned soda/beverages.
Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs
I’ve been on a hard-boiled egg kick recently for breakfast – they’re part of a quick, easy grab-and-go breakfast when they’re already cooked and peeled! Here are my best tips for how to cook and peel perfect hard-boiled eggs.
Place desired number of eggs in a saucepan and cover with water. (I’ve stopped putting salt/baking soda/vinegar/etc. in the water as recommended by many recipes because I find it does approximately nothing to improve the outcome, and it ends up being a waste of ingredients!)
Over medium-high heat, bring water with eggs to a rolling boil and continue boiling for 1 minute, then immediately turn off the heat. LEAVE pan ON the hot burner, and let the eggs sit in the hot water for 15 minutes. *Note: I work on an electric stovetop in my home, but the same method can apply to a gas stove with the same results.
Once 15 minutes are up, remove eggs to a bowl of iced water.
Once cool enough to touch, use the bowl of water to help you peel. Crack the egg, top and bottom, on the countertop, then roll it on its side back and forth to get good shell breakage all around. If the shell is already sliding off, you may not need to use the bowl of water, but if it isn’t, give the cracked egg a dunk in the water, squishing the egg gently with your hands, and begin peeling underwater. The shell should slide right off.
Repeat with remaining eggs. Store peeled hard-boiled eggs in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Notes for this method:
I’ve never had success with ANY method for peeling hard-boiled eggs if I wait hours or days after cooking the eggs before peeling them. It’s always going to be easiest to peel the eggs right after they’ve been cooked and cooled in an ice-water bath. If you’re looking for the smoothest way to peel eggs without gouging out bits of white, this is the method for you.
If you are lucky enough to have hens, or access to fresh, farm-raised eggs, please note that it may be more difficult to peel super-fresh boiled eggs than it is to peel eggs from the grocery store or supermarket. Slightly older eggs (like those from a store) have had a chance to sit for a while, which allows an air bubble to form between the membrane holding the liquid egg, and the shell, which makes it easier to peel the eggs once they’ve been cooked. The solution (if you’re working with farm-fresh eggs) is simply to allow your fresh eggs to rest in the fridge for several days before boiling them, if you’re looking to make peeling them afterward easier.
Have you heard of or used any of these tips before? Let me know in the comments! Thanks for stopping by, and happy cooking!