You’ve probably seen hundreds of different “hack lists” this year- from “life hacks” to “cleaning hacks”, these lists all have one thing in common- they all help us accomplish something in an easier, quicker (and usually more fun) way. So today, we bring you Healthy Kitchen Hacks- a list of tips and tricks that make cooking (and eating) more fun, fast and easy.
- Catch the drip popsicle holders. Does the mess your kids make when eating a popsicle drive you crazy? Are you dying to try these Blueberry Lemon Pudding Pops but are too afraid of sticky fingers and messy counters? Try this: stick a cupcake liner around the base of the popsicle and push it up (see picture)- it will catch the drips.
- Lemon/Lime juice: do you prefer using fresh lemon or lime juice in recipes but hate how it stings if you have even a single paper cut? Try putting the lemon or lime between tongs and squeezing (may not work with all tongs).
- Slicing and peeling a mango: mangoes are one of my favorite fruits, but I always find them annoying to cut. Not only does their sticky juice get everywhere, but I always feel like I lose half the mango in the process. My sister told me about “the mango hack” not long ago and it’s great! All you need is a mango, a knife, and a glass. Check out “How to peel a mango in under 10 seconds” for an easy video that will show you what to do.
- Keeping your avocado fresh: I love avocado – it tastes great in salads or in sandwiches and on pretty much everything else. The only bad part is that if I am cooking for just me, I don’t want to eat a whole avocado in one sitting and avocados brown extremely fast. I saw this trick which recommends putting half an avocado (with the pit still in!) in an airtight container with a cut piece of onion to prevent the avocado from browning and I couldn’t resist trying it. Embarrassingly, I forgot all about it and ended up leaving it in the refrigerator for 4 days by which point the top had browned a bit, but after I cleared away the very top layer, the avocado was as good as new! It’s not a perfect fix, but this trick seems to work a lot better than other things I have tried.
- Stemming strawberries: This one is great for older kids – kids can stem a strawberry themselves with just a straw (no knife needed!). Just put the straw through the bottom of the strawberry and push up until it reaches the top and pulls the stem off with it. This tip saves time and kids also love it. I showed this to my 2 year old cousin who was eating strawberries and he was mesmerized!
- Apples all day long: a lot of people like to sprinkle a little bit of lemon juice on their apples to keep them from turning brown, but I never really understood the point of putting something sour on a sweet fruit. Instead, I sprinkle a little bit of cinnamon on my apples in the morning and they stay good for hours.
- Pancake fun: Pancakes are a great breakfast treat, but spooning the batter onto the frying pan can get a bit messy. Next time, try putting your favorite batter into a squeeze bottle; they are cheap and they help minimize the mess. If you are in the mood to have some extra fun, try pancake art. The squeeze bottle’s small tip allows you to control where the pancake batter is going so you can make pancake letters, shapes and more.
- Melon: when I was younger, I always loved using a melon baller to cut my melon. If an adult cuts a melon in half, with a spoon and melon baller, a kid can do all the rest of the work! No knife is needed, and it’s fun! For older kids, they can also try putting the melon balls on skewers for the next day’s snack.
- Stop the onion tears: This tip is especially helpful for new cooks who are less used to cutting onions. Just place the onion in the fridge about an hour or so before you need to cut it (or in the freezer if you only have a few minutes). It works best if you cut the onion in half first before refrigerating. I actually discovered this trick accidentally – when I had first started cooking (I was around 11 or 12), I would have to ask my mom to cut the second half of every onion because my eyes would start tearing up. One day, I took a half cut onion out of the fridge to cut for an omelet and realized my eyes were not even getting watery and although I have since found that my eyes have gotten accustomed to onion cutting (even without putting the onions in the fridge), it really helped for the first year or two.
- Invest in a can strainer: I love canned beans, corn, peas etc. but I hate trying to strain the water using just the lid to the can and even worse, making a big colander dirty for just one can! Can strainers are fairly cheap (Amazon has them for as cheap as $6.50) and not too hard to clean.
For a few more cooking hacks, check out this Huffington Post Article!
Hi! I’m Hadassah! I am a high school senior and I live in Maryland with my parents and three siblings. In school, my favorite subjects are American Sign Language and math. For college, I will be headed to the University of Pennsylvania where I plan to major in Health and Societies. In my spare time, I enjoy running, basketball, tennis and cooking. My love of cooking began when I was 8 years old; my favorite recipe to make is gnocchi from scratch with an Alfredo sauce. I am so excited to be a part of the team and to be blogging about cooking and nutrition for Super Healthy Kids