By Katie Houdek
Who doesn’t love a good kitchen hack?! We’ve got several tips and tricks to make your summer easier!
You can easily hull strawberries by taking a straw and inserting it up through the bottom of the berry to remove the stem. It’s much quicker than using a paring knife. You might a bit more of the berry but if you have to get through a bunch in a short amount of time, get a straw.
Another quick hack for berries is a tip for de-pitting cherries. Take your cherry and place it on the mouth of a glass bottle, top down. Use a chopstick to poke through and push the pit out into the bottle. This is a great technique when you’re about to make a pie and need to get through a lot of cherries!
There are so many hacks for the microwave! Disinfect your sponges by soaking them in a bit of vinegar (or lemon) water and then pop them into the microwave for a minute or two. And after that you can take one of those sponges to clean your microwave out because it should be nice and steamy in there and easy to clean! While on the topic of cleaning and disinfecting. You can rub your plastic cutting board with a half of a lemon and then heat it for a minute in the microwave to spiff that up too!
Have you even gone to bake some cookies and discover your brown sugar is hard as a rock and your honey is a crystalized mess? Never fear, your microwave is here! Put the brown sugar in a plastic baggie (or original packaging) and add a bit of water, a few drops should suffice, and zap it for about 15 seconds. For the honey all you need to do is remove the lid and put the jar in the microwave for 30 seconds. If that doesn’t quite do the trick give it another 30 seconds.
Ice Cube Trays Hacks
Herbs and Olive Oil
Those little plastic trays are handy for so many more thing than making ice! You can save your freshly cut herbs by chopping them up and sprinkling them into the tray. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil over the herbs and freeze. When they’re frozen you can pop them out and wrap them in plastic wrap or baggies and store. You’ll want to remember to label the bags so you remember what’s what. When you need them just take one out and drop it in a pan to sauté onions or chicken with that herby goodness. It’s really easy and you have the added benefit of your herbs being protected from freezer burn by the oil.
Many Moms like to make their own baby food these days. There’s so many chemicals and preservatives out there it’s nice to know you’re giving them a healthier meal. That said, babies can only eat so much at a time and there’s always leftover food that frequently goes to waste. Plop that homemade baby food into an ice cube tray and freeze it for baby-sized portions down the road!
Smarter Ice Cubes
Here in Texas it’s been known to get a bit hot. Some days there’s just nothing more refreshing than a big glass of iced tea, coffee, or pink lemonade. The only problem is that that heat can melt those ice cubes really quick and before you know it your drink is totally watered down. Make ice cubs of coffee or whatever you summer drink of choice is and as they melt they won’t water your drink down!
Chocolate Covered Fruit
You know what else ice cube trays are good for? Delicious chocolate covered fruits! Whatever fruit you love can be done perfectly in an ice cube tray. Get some nice melting chocolate and prepare as instructed. Pour a bit into the ice cube tray and then place your fruit on top of that. If you love blueberries drop some in on top of the chocolate and you can either leave them exposed or cover them with more chocolate. It’s completely up to you and your personal level of chocolate obsession. When you’ve finished prepping them pop them in the fridge and let them sit for at least an hour.