01/06/2021 02:29

Whether novice or a home chef pro, we could all use a little help in the kitchen from time to time. These six kitchen hacks will save you time and sanity.

1. Bringing ingredients to room temperature

Almost every baking recipe you'll encounter calls for the ubiquitous eggs and butter at room temperature. Left to their own devices, it takes hours for them to get to that stage.

To speed this process along for eggs, place them in a bowl of warm water for 5-10 minutes and you're ready to get cracking.

For the butter, place on microwave safe dish and cook the butter for approximately 10-20 seconds, depending on how much you are using. If you're adverse to microwaves, cut the butter into tiny pieces and leave them out on the counter for about an hour.

2. Sheet pan clean-up

The best way to avoid spending untold amounts of time scrubbing burnt cookie bits (and other offenders) off of your sheet pans is simply to cover the pan. Using parchment paper, tin foil or a Silapt will keep your sheet pans protected from burning food, oozing chocolate and stuck on meat. When it comes time for clean up just peel off the protective layer and rinse your pan.

3. Peeling hard-boiled eggs

No one and I mean no one likes to peel hard-boiled eggs. To keep yourself from wrestling with little stubborn egg shells add a dash of baking soda or vinegar to the water when boiling. Once they are done and cool enough to handle, gently roll them on a hard surface so that the shell gets a million little cracks. Then it easily peels right off.

4. Juicing citrus

If you want to get the most juice out of your lime, lemon, orange or grapefruit pop it in the microwave for 10 seconds and then press and roll the fruit before slicing it open for juicing. The time in the microwave and the rolling gets those juices flowing and will yield much more juice.

5. Keeping brown sugar soft

There are few things as discouraging for a baker as reaching for your bag of brown sugar only to find it has turned into a brick. To keep brown sugar soft just add a piece of white bread or
a couple marshmallows to the sealed bag.  The moisture will keep the sugar soft and moldable every time you need it.

6. Speed ripening bananas

Want to make banana bread but only have fresh, bright yellow bananas on hand? No problem! Set your oven to 170 degrees and roast the bananas for approximately 30 minutes.When they're done you have bananas perfect for baking.