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Kitchen Tips & Shortcuts from the Test Kitchen
kitchen tips

Everyone has their trusted tips and techniques that they have used in their kitchen, but unfortunately a lot of times, that information never gets shared. Here are some tips that I have used around my kitchen (and some that we use here in the Test Kitchens, too) that help make life a lot easier. We’re always looking for more ideas, so after you’re finished reading these tips, feel free to add your own in the comments!

  • Ever wondered how to refresh that crystalized honey you’ve had in your cupboard for months? Just set it in a bowl of hot water and it will become fluid once again.
  • Has your brown sugar gone hard? As brown sugar sits, the moisture in the sugar evaporates, causing it to harden. To fix this, add moisture back in by adding a slice of bread, slice of apple, or top the container with a moistened paper towel.
  • Want to keep your lettuce fresh longer? Store the lettuce between sheets of paper toweling and place in a large resealable plastic food bag to keep the leaves crisp.
  • Like to pack your kids sliced apples for lunch, but by the time lunch rolls around, the apples have turned brown? Try slicing the apple and wrapping it together with a rubber band- the apple slices will stay fresh and won’t turn brown.
  • Have you had your eggs in the egg keeper in your fridge for a while, and not sure if they are fresh or not? Place the eggs in a bowl filled with water. Eggs that stay towards the bottom are fresh, and the eggs that float are past their fresh stage.
  • Have a half-empty bottle of wine that is starting to lose its freshness? Place the wine in ice cube trays and freeze. When you have a recipe that calls for wine, just pull out a cube and add into your soup or sauce for easy, quick flavor.
  • Is your salt starting to clump up? Place a couple of grains of rice into it to help absorb the extra moisture that is causing the clumping.
  • Flossing isn’t just for dental care anymore. Dental floss (unflavored, of course) can be used for many different things. Try using it to cut pastry dough, cakes or soft cheeses for a clean cut.
  • Love having fresh-baked cookies, but don’t have the time to make them during the week? Next time you have enough time to make an extra batch of cookies, freeze the mounds of dough before baking them. Just pop them out of your freezer when you’re craving freshly baked cookies and they’ll be ready in no time. You can also roll the unbaked dough into logs, wrap them in plastic wrap and place them in a freezer bag. When you want cookies, just remove the log from your freezer, slice, and bake!
  • Stir-frys and other meat dishes often call for thinly sliced meat. But if you don’t have an extra sharp chef’s knife, it can be hard to cut thin strips. Next time you have a recipe that calls for this, try popping your meat into the freezer for about 20 minutes before cutting it. This helps the meat become a little bit firmer, and therefore easier to thinly slice.
  • Love making sugar cookies, but forgot to pick up colored sugar at the store? Try making your own! Place sugar into small, glass spice jars and add a few drops of food coloring. Shake it up and you’ll always have the color you need on hand!

I’d love to know about any tips or shortcuts you may have learned. Feel free to leave them here or share them on our Facebook page.

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Good tip on the sugar cookies. I like to make vanilla sugar for them. You can even use leftover vanilla beans from making your own homemade extract to make vanilla sugar. Here is more information. http://makingvanilla.com

Posted Mar 24 2012 by Rusty

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    Hi, I'm Becky. I'm eager to share my best ideas and favorite recipes from my 20+ years in the Land O'Lakes Test Kitchen. I'm also excited to help with any questions you have about cooking and baking with Land O Lakes® products. Some of the questions and answers will be published in our newsletter, The Measuring Cup®. Please use the short form below to ask your questions, or share your tip or memory.


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