No more kitchen stress: 6 handy food hacks

In front of you is a fruit bowl full of colourful vitamin bombs and nothing seems to stand in your way to create the ultimate fruit salad. Unfortunately, your apples are still a long way from ripening and you know that mangoes are more likely to produce sticky hands than beautiful cubes. Out of desperation you turn to the last piece of baguette of yesterday. If that turns out to be harder than the walls of your kitchen, then you’ve lost a bit of courage.

Fortunately, there are simple solutions for this kind of small kitchen utensils, so that you will never again drive yourself to some kind of despair.

Cutting mangoes like a pro

The cookbook has made way for the smartphone and tablet: quick and easy to look up a recipe. Of course, you don’t want this kind of equipment to suffer from your cooking skills. Take a mango, for example. At first glance, a mango seems to be the ideal piece of fruit. But cutting it almost always results in a mess. While the flesh sticks to your fingers, the juice drips everywhere you don’t want it. There are plenty of covers to protect your smartphone from it, but your clothes really need a washing machine.
Next time, you’d better do it differently. Cut the mango in half lengthwise and place both halves with the skin on a chopping board. With a sharp knife, cut squares into the flesh without cutting through the skin. Then push the skin inwards and you will get perfect mango cubes that you can take off the skin in no time.

Perfectly timed avocados

Avocados are known as multifunctional flavourings. Quite rightly so, because they are not only indispensable in your homemade guacamole, but are also a welcome addition to almost any salad. Not for nothing that you always have a few in the house. A small downside is that you never know exactly when they are ripe. Squeezing an avocado only gives a rough indication and is not always reliable. Instead, remove the small seed at the top, where the stalk was once located. If the hole is brown, the avocado is overripe and you’d better grab another one. Is it light coloured? Then your timing is perfect and it’s ready to disappear into your newest dish. Do you use your tablet in your kitchen? Then put it on the sink with a holder, so you can read the recipe well and let your mouth water!

Faster ripening

Although we appreciate the enjoyment of a filled fruit bowl, we all know what frustrations it sometimes causes. If you fancy a peach, only the pears are ripe and the kiwis you crave are still not ready to be eaten after a week of waiting. A simple plastic bag in this case is a real time machine. Put your unripe fruit in it together with a banana to speed up the ripening process. Wait for the banana to perform its miracle and put your teeth in a juicy peach.

Keep it dry with onions

While as a child we thought that Bambi was the biggest tearjerker, we now know better. When slicing onions, even the toughest guys can’t keep it dry. That’s why in Japan they seem to cook up with goggles. It seems to work, but we find our own tip a lot more practical. Put the onion in the fridge for 15 minutes before cooking and you won’t be bothered by anything. The cold reduces the activity of the enzymes that ensure that you are always with tears on your cheeks in the kitchen.

Crown and straws

There is not much fruit that surpasses the fresh-sweet taste of strawberries. Only that wretched crown, turns out never to go off as easily as you had hoped for beforehand. If you try it with a knife, there is hardly any strawberry left, while you always leave some green with your fingers. So take a straw from the kitchen drawer and you’ll be amazed at the possibilities. By poking it exactly in the bottom of the fruit and pushing it right up, you get the strawberry exactly the way you want it.

A second life for bread

A freshly baked sandwich can be the ideal start to your day. Unfortunately, a day later the same sandwich may have become so tough, that even the ducks in the pond will refuse it. A simple trick fortunately offers a solution. Sprinkle the bread with water and put it in a preheated oven of 180 degrees. Five minutes later your sandwich is no longer inferior to the fresh ones from the baker around the corner.

Copyright © 2019 Richard yates.