Saving Time in the Kitchen: Prep Tips

Saving Time in the Kitchen: Prep Tips

This post, we’re going to save you time preparing that food for cooking. Here are some handy hints we’ve developed over the years.

  1. When rinsing herbs such as parsley or cilantro, grab the bunch by the stems and swish back and forth in a pan of cold water. Shake well and spread out on paper towels to dry.
  2. When chopping herbs with small leaves, hold the herbs by the stems and twist the leaves into a roll. Then slice the roll crosswise, stopping at the thick stems. When shredding herbs with large leaves (such as basil or sage), stack 10 leaves on top of each other, then roll up like a cigar, and slice crosswise into thin slices. When unrolled, you’ll have evenly shredded leaves.
  3. To quickly peel garlic, put the flat side of a large knife over a garlic clove and press down with the heel of your hand until the garlic clove cracks and the skin loosens. To peel a large number of cloves, drop the unpeeled cloves in a hot of boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes. Drain and place under running cold water to slip off the skins.
  4. Need to peel fresh ginger? A spoon works better than a knife and you can mince it quickly by forcing the ginger through a garlic press. If you store fresh ginger in the freezer, it grates easily and will keep forever.
  5. Making a stir-fry of lots of veggies? Visit the salad bar at the grocery store for cut carrots, broccoli and cauliflower florets, sliced celery, sliced mushrooms, chopped or sliced onions, sliced bell peppers, cleaned spinach leaves, and cut tomatoes. Buy only what you need.
  6. Peel potatoes after they are cooked. When cool enough to handle, the skins will slip right off.
  7. To rid fresh corn of those pesky corn silks, brush the shucked, but unwashed, ears of corn with a soft vegetable brush or bunched up paper towels.
  8. To quickly seed a cucumber or large zucchini, cut them in half lengthwise, then scoop out the seeds with a small spoon.
  9. Peel tomatoes or pearl onions quickly by dropping them in a pot of boiling water (15 seconds for tomatoes and 2 minutes for pearl onion); drain and slip off skins under running cold water.
  10. To soften dried tomatoes, cover with water and microwave on HIGH for 2 to 3 minutes.
  11. No need to sift flour and other dry ingredients to remove the lumps-a quick whisking does the same thing.
  12. When mixing vinaigrette for a marinade or salad, use a small paper cup as a disposable mixing cup.
  13. For quick, fresh bread crumbs, tear up a couple of slices of bread (no need to remove the crusts) and pulse in a food processor.
  14. When making drop cookies, use the large end of a melon baller for scooping the cookie dough, dipping the scoop in hot water after every few cookies.
  15. When chopping raisins or other dried fruits, wet your knife for easy chopping.
  16. Keep boneless, skinless and pounded chicken breasts in the freezer for quick grilling and use in recipes.
  17. Cut up vegetables and fruits before you start on the meat, poultry, or fish. That way, there’s no need to wash the cutting board during the preparation time.
  18. To thinly slice meat or poultry, place in the freezer for 15 to 25 minutes for easier slicing.
  19. Warm tortillas in the microwave instead of the oven by wrapping the tortillas in a damp microwavable paper towel and microwave on HIGH for 15 to 20 seconds or until warm.
  20. Rinsing the cooked pasta in cold water lets you make a pasta salad without extra chilling time.
  21. To get more juice from a lemon or lime, first roll the fruit on the counter, pressing down slightly with the palm of your hand.
  22. Keep store-bought frozen chopped onions on hand to save chopping time or freeze your own by blanching chopped onions in boiling water for 1 minute. Drain and plunge in cold water. Drain again, package, and freeze.
  23. The easiest way to cup up canned tomatoes for cooking is to squeeze them through your fingers into the pan. It’s a bit messy, but quick.
  24. When baking apple or poaching pears, use a melon baller to scoop out the core.

Next post, we’ll give you some timesaving tips for cooking the food.