My Favorite Kitchen Tips & Tricks
Little ways I save time and money
Hoping this will be the first of many installments!
Make any avocado ripe in 5 minutes
Imagine: no longer rooting through the bin at the market only to find completely unripe or bruised/rotting avocados. Stock up on as many avocados as you like and make them instantly edible with one of my favorite little tricks. I discovered how to do it when I was baking eggs in avocado cups with hard, unripe avocados. By the time I was done baking, each avocado was soft, spreadable, and completely delicious. Place whole avocados in the oven at 350* for 5 minutes. Take out, let cool, and begin making your avocado toast or guacamole. It's that simple!
Roast the seeds from any squash
Love pumpkin seeds? So do I! Carving a Jack-O-Lantern shouldn't be the only time you save the seeds from your squash. Every time you open up a spaghetti or butternut squash, save those seeds, give them a good rinse, salt and pepper them, and roast them in the oven at 375* for 8 minutes on each side. They taste exactly like pumpkin seeds and are basically a free snack with every squash you buy, plus it cuts down on food waste.
Make your own stocks
Speaking of cutting down on food waste, this is a great way to find a use for those veggie pieces you end up throwing away while you're chopping and dicing. This is something I learned from my mom's kitchen and I think it's a fantastic idea for many reasons. You'll save money, capture those flavors and nutrients from the vegetables you bought, and get to control the flavor profile and sodium level. I use vegetable stock for my soups, cooking quinoa and lentils, and even add a little to the pan when I saute to add depth to whatever I'm cooking. In a big bag, save scraps from every vegetable you cook with and stick it in the freezer. It usually takes me 2 weeks to accumulate a full bag- I throw in stalks from herbs, skin from onions and squash, ends, peels, rinds, stalks, and leaves... pretty much anything! If you eat meat, save the bones and carcasses from your leftover meals and freeze those too. Throw the everything into a big pot, put in enough water until the vegetables are just covered, bring to a boil, and reduce without a lid for at least an hour. I recommend simmering for around 3 hours to really get a deep complex flavor in your broth. Strain, taste, and season with salt. Freeze in tupperware or ice cube trays and keep up to three months.
Keep herbs fresher longer
There's nothing worse than buying a bunch of cilantro or parsley only to have it wilt away and brown in a matter of days. Instead of keeping herbs in the fridge, put them in a glass with the ends barely submerged in water and keep them on the counter. You'll notice that they'll straighten up immediately and will keep for about 7-10 days. Change the water every three days.