Household Hints – Kitchen

*See Author’s Note on bottom of page…..

Salt

1. If stew is too salty, add raw cut potatoes and discard once they have cooked and absorbed the salt. Another remedy is to add a teaspoon each of cider vinegar and sugar. Or, simply add sugar.

2. If soup or stew is too sweet, add salt. For a main dish or vegetable, add a teaspoon of cider vinegar.

Gravy

3. For pale gravy, color with a few drops of Kitchen Bouquet. Or to avoid the problem in the first place, brown the flour well before adding the liquid. This also helps prevent lumpy gravy.

4. To make gravy smooth, keep a jar with a mixture of equal parts of flour and cornstarch. Put 3 or 4 tablespoons of this mixture in another jar and add some water. Shake, and in a few minutes you will have a smooth paste for gravy.

5. To remedy greasy gravy, add a small amount of baking soda.

6. For quick thickener for gravies, add some instant potatoes to your gravy and it will thicken beautifully.

Vegetables

7. If fresh vegetables are wilted or blemished, pick off the brown edges. Sprinkle with cool water, wrap in towel and refrigerate for an hour or so.

8. Perk up soggy lettuce by adding lemon juice to a bowl of cold water and soak for an hour in the refrigerator.

9. Lettuce and celery will crisp up fast if you place it in a pan of cold water and add a few sliced potatoes.

10. If vegetables are overdone, put the pot in a pan of cold water. Let it stand 15 minutes to 1/2 hour without scraping pan.

11. By lining the crisper section of your refrigerator with newspaper and wrapping vegetables with it, moisture will be adsorbed and your vegetables will stay fresher longer.

12. Store leftover corn, peas, green beans, carrots, celery, potatoes and onion in a container in the freezer. Add to other ingredients when making stew or soup.

13. To keep the flavor in the vegetables, add a small amount of sugar to the water after cooking carrots, peas, beets, and corn.

14. Onions, broccoli, and brussel sprouts will cook faster if you make an x-shaped cut at the base of the vegetable.

Eggs

15. If you shake the egg and you hear a rattle, you can be sure it’s stale. A really fresh egg will sink and a stale one will float.

16. If you are making deviled eggs and want to slice it perfectly, dip the knife in water first. The slice will be smooth with no yolk sticking to the knife.

17. The white of an egg is easiest to beat when it’s at room temperature. So leave it out of the refrigerator about a half an hour before using it.

18. To make light and fluffy scrambled eggs, add a little water while beating the eggs.

19. Add vinegar to the water while boiling eggs. Vinegar helps to seal the egg, since it acts on the calcium in the shell.

20. Storing Eggs: 1. Place your eggs in those tight-sealing egg containers and they will last longer in the refrigerator. You really shouldn’t keep eggs longer than 11 days. 2. Cover them with oil on the top in a sealed container in the refrigerator. 3. For long term storage; crack the eggs, placing one in each ice cube section of the tray, freeze and store in plastic zip lock baggies.

21. To make quick-diced eggs, take your potato masher and go to work on a boiled egg.

22. If you wrap each egg in aluminum foil before boiling it, the shell won’t crack when it’s boiling.

23. To make those eggs go further when making scrambled eggs for a crowd, add a pinch of baking powder and 2 teaspoons of water per egg.

24. A great trick for peeling eggs the easy way. When they are finished boiling, turn off the heat and just let them sit in the pan with the lid on for about 5 minutes. Steam will build up under the shell and they will just fall away.

25. Or, quickly rinse hot hard-boiled eggs in cold water, and the shells will be easier to remove.

26. When you have saved a lot of egg yolks from previous recipes, use them in place of whole eggs for baking or thickening. Just add 2 yolks for every whole egg.

27. Fresh or hard boiled? Spin the egg. If it wobbles, it is raw – if it spins easily, it’s hard boiled.

28. Add a few drops of vinegar to the water when poaching an egg to keep it from running all over the pan.

29. Add 1 tablespoon of water per egg white to increase the quantity of beaten egg white when making meringue.

30. Try adding eggshells to coffee after it has perked, for a better flavor.

31. Fresh eggs are rough and chalky in appearance. Old eggs are smooth and shiny.

32. Pierce the end of an egg with a pin, and it will not break when placed in boiling water.

33. Beaten egg whites will be more stable if you add 1 teaspoon cream of tartar to each cup of egg whites (7 or 8 eggs).

34. A small funnel is handy for separating egg whites from yolks. Open the egg over the funnel and the white will run through and the yolk will remain.

35. For baking, it’s best to use meduim to large eggs. Extra large may cause cakes to fall when cooked.

36. Brown and white shells are the same quality.

37. Egg whites can be kept up to 1 year. Add them to a plastic container as you ‘collect them’ for use in meringues, angel food cake…1 cup equals 7 or 8 egg whites. You can also refreeze defrosted egg whites.

38. For fluffier omelets, add a pinch of cornstarch before beating.

Potatoes

39. Overcooked potatoes can become soggy when the milk is added. Sprinkle with dry powdered milk for the fluffiest mashed potatoes ever.

40. To hurry up baked potatoes, boil in salted water for 10 minutes, then place in very hot oven. OR, cut potatoes in half and place them face down on a baking sheet in the oven to make the baking time shorter.

41. When making potato pancakes, add a little sour cream to keep potatoes from discoloring.

42. Save some of the water in which the pototoes were boiled – add to some powdered milk and use when mashing. This restores some of the nutrients that were lost in the cooking process.

43. Use a couple of tablespoons of cream cheese in place of butter for your potatoes; try using sour cream instead of milk when mashing.

Onions

44. To avoid tears when peeling onions, peel them under cold water or refrigerate before chopping.

45. For sandwiches to go in lunch boxes, sprinkle with dried onion. They will have turned crisp pieces by lunchtime.

46. Peel and quarter onions. Place 1 layer deep in a pan and freeze. Quickly pack in baggies or containers while frozen. Use as needed, chopping onions while frozen, with a sharp knife.

Tomatoes

47. Keep tomatoes in storage with stems pointed downward and they will retain their freshness longer.

48. Sunlight doesn’t ripen tomatoes. It’s the warmth that makes them ripen. So find a warm spot near the stove or dishwasher where they can get a little heat.

49. Save the juice from canned tomatoes in ice cube trays. When frozen, store in plastic bags in the freezer for cooking use or for tomato drinks.

50. To improve the flavor of inexpensive tomato juice, pour a 46-ounce can of it into a pitcher and add 1 chopped green onion and a cut-up stalk of celery.

A quick way to whip cream

51. A pinch of salt added to the cream before whipping strengthens the fat cells and makes them more elastic. This helps the cream stiffen much more quickly.

Cream that will not whip

52. Chill cream, bowl and beater well. Set bowl of cream into a bowl of ice water while you’re whipping. Add the white of an egg. Chill and then whip. If the cream still does not stiffen, gradually whip in 3 or 4 drops of lemon juice. Cream whipped ahead of time will not separate if you add a touch of unflavored gelatin (1/4 tsp. per cup of cream). To eliminate a lot of mess when whipping cream with an electric beater, try this: Cut 2 holes in the middle of a piece of waxed paper, then slip the stems of the beaters through the holes and attach the beaters to the machine. Simply place paper and beaters over the bowl and whip away.

Rock-hard brown sugar

53. Add a slice of soft bread to the package of brown sugar, close the bag tightly and in a few hours the sugar will be soft again. If you need it in a hurry, simply grate the amount called for with a hand grater. OR, put brown sugar and a cup of water (do not add to the sugar, set it alongside of it) in a covered pan. Place in the oven (low heat) for a while. OR, buy liquid brown sugar.

54. I eliminated this one due to food safety issues.

Caked or clogged salt

55. Tightly wrap a piece of aluminum foil around the salt shaker. This will keep the dampness out of the salt. (great for camping) To prevent clogging, keep 5 to 10 grains of rice inside your shaker.

Soggy potato chips, cereal and crackers

56. If potato ships lose their freshness, place under the broiler for a few minutes. Care must be taken not to brown them. You can crisp soggy cereal and crackers by putting them on a cookie sheet and heating for a few minutes in the oven.

Pancake syrup

57. To make an inexpensive syrup for pancakes, save small amounts of leftover jams and jellies in a jar. OR, fruit-flavored syrup can be made by adding 2 cups sugar to 1 cup of any kind of fruit juice and cooking until it boils. ( I personally did this with peach syrup and blueberry syrup when canning, making peach pancakes and syrup and blueberry pancakes and syrup…my boys loved it!)

Easy topping

58. A good topping for gingerbread, coffeecake, etc., can easily be made by freezing the syrup from canned fruit and adding 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to 2 cups of syrup. Heat until bubbly, and thicken with 2 tablespoons of flour.

Tasty cheese sandwiches

59. Toast cheese sandwiches in a frying pan lightly greased with bacon fat for a delightful new flavor.

No spattering or sticking

60. To keep frying food from spattering, invert a metal colander over the pan, allowing steam to escape. (Careful, it may get hot!)

61. Always heat the frying pan before adding oil or butter. This will keep things from sticking to the pan. (Also great for doing this with sausage or bacon)

62. Boil vinegar in a brand new frying pan to keep things from sticking to it.

Hurry up hamburgers

63. Poke a hole in the middle of the patties while shaping them. The burgers will cook faster and the holes will disappear when done.

Shrinkless links

64. Boil sausage links for about 8 minutes before frying and they will shrink less and not break at all. Or, you can roll them lightly in flour before frying.

Frozen Bread

65. Put frozen bread loaves in a clean brown paper bag and place for 5 minutes in a 325 degree oven to thaw completely.

Removing the corn silk

66. Dampen a paper towel or terry cloth and brush downward on the cob of the corn. Every strand should come off.

Nuts

67. To quickly crack a large amount of nuts, put in a bag and gently hammer until they are cracked open. Then remove nutmeats with a pick.

68. If nuts are stale, place them in the oven at 250 degrees and leave them there for 5 or 10 minutes. The heat will revive them.

Preventing boil-overs

69. Add a lump of butter or a few teaspoons of cooking oil to the water. Rice, noodles, or spaghetti will not boil over or stick together.

Softening butter

70. Soften butter quickly by grating it. Or heat a small pan and place upside-down over the butter dish for several minutes. Or place in the microwave for a few seconds.

Measuring sticky liquids

71. Before measuring honey or syrup, oil the cup with cooking oil and rinse in hot water.

Scalded milk

72. Add a bit of sugar (without stirring) to milk to prevent it from scorching.

73. Rinse the pan with cold water before scalding milk, and it will be much easier to clean.

Tenderizing meat

74. Boiled meat: Add a teaspoon of vinegar to the cooking water.

75. Tough meat or game: Make a marinade of equal parts cooking vinegar and heated bouillon. Marinate for 2 hours.

76. Steak: Simply rub in a mixture of cooking vinegar and oil. Allow to stand 2 hours. ( I think I’d do this in the refrigerator)

77. Chicken: To stew an old hen, soak it in vinegar for several hours before cooking. It will taste like a spring chicken.( Maybe I should have edited this more carefully!)

Instant white sauce

78. Blend together 1 cup soft butter and 1 cup flour. Spread in an ice cube tray, freeze, then store in plastic baggies in the freezer. For medium-thick sauce, drop 1 cube into 1 cup of milk and heat slowly, stirring as it thickens.

Unpleasant cooking odors

79. While cooking vegetables that give off unpleasant odors, simmer a small pan of vinegar on top of the stove. Or, add vinegar to the cooking water. To remove the odor of fish from cooking and serving implements, rinse in vinegar water.

Don’t lose those vitamins

80. Put vegetables in water after the water boils – not before – to be sure to preserve all the vegetables’ vitamins.

Clean and deodorize your cutting boards

81. Bleach it clean with lemon juice. Take away strong odors like onion with baking soda. Just rub it in. ( Remember, you should have a meat cutting board and a veggie cutting board)

Keep the color in beets

82. If you find that your beets tend to lose color when you boil them, add a little lemon juice.

No-smell cabbage

83. Two things to do to keep cabbage smell from filling the kitchen: don’t overcook it (keep it crisp) and put half a lemon in the water when you boil it.

A great energy saver

84. When you’re near the end of the baking time, turn the oven off and keep the door closed. The heat will stay the same long enough to finish your cake or pie and you’ll save all that energy.

Grating cheese

85. Chill the cheese before grating and it will take much less time.

Special looking pies

86. Give a unique look to your pies by using pinking shears to cut the dough. Make a pinked lattice crust.

Removing ham rind

87. Before placing ham in the roasting pan, slit rind lengthwise on the underside. The rind will peel away as the ham cooks, and can be easily removed.

Sluggish catsup

88. Push a drinking straw to the bottom of the bottle and remove. This admits enough air to start the catsup flowing.

Unmolding gelatin

89. Rinse the mold pan in cold water and coat with salad oil. The oil will give the gelatin a nice luster and it will easily fall out of the mold.

Leftover squash

90. Squash that is left over can be improved by adding some maple syrup before reheated. ( I put mine in the freezer with leftover corn, peas, green beans, cabbage, etc. for homemade soup).

No-spill cupcakes

91. An ice cream scoop can be used to fill cupcake papers without spilling.

Slicing cake or torte

92. Use dental floss to slice evenly and cleanly through a cake or torte – simply stretch a length of the floss taut and press down through the cake. ( Okay, I wouldn’t let anyone see you doing this one!)

Ice cream

93. Buy bulk quantities of ice cream and pack in small margarine containers. These provide individual servings.

Canning peaches

94. Don’t bother to remove skins when canning or freezing peaches. They will taste better and be more nutritious with the skin on.

Angel food cookies

95. Stale angel food cake can be cut into 1/2″ slices and shaped with cookie cutters to make delicious ‘cookies’. Just toast in the oven for a few minutes.

How to chop garlic

96. Chop in a small amount of salt to prevent pieces from sticking to the knife or chopping board. Then pulverize with the tip of the knife.

Excess fat on soups or stews

97. Remove fat from stews or soups by refrigerating and eliminating fat as it rises and hardens on the surface. Or add lettuce leaves to the pot – the fat will cling to them. Discard lettuce before serving.

Broiled meat drippings

98. Place a piece of bread under the rack on which you are broiling meat. Not only will this absorb the dripping fat, but it will reduce the chance of the fat catching on fire. ( I used a slice of bread under fried potatoes and other fried foods when serving to reduce fat accumulating in the bottom of the bowl).

Fake sour cream

99. To cut down on calories, run cottage cheese through a blender. It can be flavored with chives, extracts, etc., and used in place of mayonnaise.

Browned butter

100. Browning brings out the flavor of butter, so only half as much is needed for seasoning vegetables if it is browned before it is added.

Cooking dried beans

101. When cooking dried beans, add salt after cooking, if salt is added at the start, it will slow the cooking process.

Tasty carrots

102. Adding sugar and horseradish to cooked carrots improves their flavor.

Carrot marinade

103. Marinate carrot sticks in dill pickle juice.

Clean cukes

104. A ball of nylon net cleans and smooths cucumbers when making pickles. ( I used this quite often when pickling. Works very well and quickly).

Fresh garlic

105. Peel garlic and store in a covered jar of vegetable oil. The garlic will stay fresh and the oil will be nicely flavored for salad dressings.

Leftover waffles

106. Freeze waffles that are left; they can be reheated in the toaster. ( I make medium pancakes about the size of a slice of bread, refrigerate leftovers and heat in the toaster the next day or two).

Fluffy rice

107. Rice will be fluffier and whiter if you add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice to each quart of water.

Nutritious rice

108. Cook rice in liquid saved from cooking vegetables to add flavor and nutrition. A nutty taste can be achieved by adding wheat germ to the rice.

Perfect noodles

109. When cooking noodles, bring required amount of water to a boil, add noodles, turn heat off and allow to stand 20 minutes. This prevents overboiling and the chore of stirring. Noodles won’t stick to the pan with this method.

Easy croutons

110. Make delicious croutons for soup or salads by saving toast, cutting into cubes, and sauteing in garlic butter.

Baked Fish

111. To keep fish from sticking to the pan, bake on a bed of chopped onion, celery and parsley. This also adds a nice flavor to the fish.

Non-sticking bacon

112. Roll a package of bacon into a tube before opening. This will loosen the slices and keep them from sticking together.

Tasty hot dogs

113. Boil hot dogs in sweet pickle juice and a little water for a different taste.

Golden-brown chicken

114. For golden-brown fried chicken, roll it in powdered milk instead of flour.

Double boiler hint

115. Toss a few marbles in the bottom of a double boiler. When the water boils down, the noise will let you know.

Flour puff

116. Keep a powder puff in your flour container to easily dust your rolling pin or pastry board.

Jar labels

117. Attach canning labels to the lids instead of the sides of jelly jars to prevent the chore of removing the labels when the contents are gone.

Different meatballs

118. Try using crushed cornflakes or corn bread instead of bread crumbs in a meatball recipe. Or use onion-flavored potato chips.

***Author’s Note – Use these household kitchen hints mixed with your own common sense. I have not tried all of them and will not be held responsible should they prove fruitless. These helpful hints came from the Amish and are very old. If nothing else, get a good laugh out of some of them.