The Ultimate Kitchen Cheat Sheet: Kitchen Tips & Cooking Hacks
Your kitchen is one of the most essential areas in your home. A lot of people apparently consider this spot as their safe zone especially for moms and dads who really love cooking and eating. However, having the perfect kitchen entails a lot of challenges when it comes to organizing, preparing, and storing.
By and large, people who currently have an amazing kitchen on their own have probably tried several processes and systems in their kitchen zones. Although it is quite a trial and error process to obtain a nice and well-functioning kitchen, you could have this by simply knowing the essentials.
Here are some of the most significant tips, hacks, and guidelines you could apply to have a very nice and perfectly-engineered kitchen in your own home.
Your Ultimate Kitchen Cheat Sheet Today
In totality, these are only some of the most useful hacks and tips you could apply in having a real decent, well-organized, and neat kitchen in your home. Although most of these things given above are seen to be applied commonly, knowing the proper ways, processes, and knowledge is very much essential.
It is important for you to take into grave considerations that kitchen is always related to safety, cleanliness, and orderliness. Aside from the fact that foods and consumables are being prepared, stored, and cooked in this section of your home, every kitchen must observe real guidance and safety precautions in totality.
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Storage Times for the Refrigerator and Freezer
If you are always busy in the kitchen, our infographic on storage times for the refrigerator and freezer would be of great help to you. You can refer to it when you are cooking or stocking up on swede, mushroom, popcorn kernels, salad, hotdogs, luncheon meat, bacon, sausage, hamburger, other ground meats, fresh meats, lamb & pork, fresh poultry, soups and stews and leftovers
If you really want to prolong the life of swede, DO NOT put this root crop in the refrigerator or freezer. Actually, it would be best to just leave this crop planted in the soil and just get some as needed.
If you really must store swedes, the best storage place would be somewhere dark (or a place with no direct sunlight). Putting them in a box with slightly moist sand will allow them to remain fresh for many months.
If you must really store swedes in the refrigerator, putting them in a brown paper bag is recommended (the paper will absorb moisture from the fridge to avoid rotting). Your swede will then last for about a week.
Mushrooms will last for about a week in the refrigerator and about a year in the freezer. For prepacked mushrooms, keep these in their original containers and use immediately. If you are storing unwashed mushrooms, however, you should place these in a brown paper bag instead of a plastic bag (they need to breathe so as not to get soggy and moldy).
If you’re going to freeze mushrooms, you should cook them first. Either saute them or steam them before flash freezing them in the freezer. These can then be stored in freezer safe bags and containers.
If you plan on stocking up on popcorn kernels, you can easily do so as these can last for up to 18 months (when stored properly). But remember, you mustn’t put them in the refrigerator or freezer as this will dry them out (and they won’t pop).The best place to store popcorn kernels is in the cupboard. If no longer sealed in their original packs, popcorn kernels should be transferred to airtight containers.
Bread like subway tuna bread, bread talk or any kinds of breads are recommended to be well wrapped in plastic and/or foil in the freezer (bottom). After that you can reheat them in the oven. And if you are interested, please visit this article on shelf life of bread.
How to Organize Food in the Refrigerator
This infographic on how to organize food in the refrigerator will serve as your quick reference when storing food in your fridge. Now, this is important as you want all your food to be fresh and of high quality for safe consumption. For this particular section, I will show you the proper refrigeration techniques for the following types of food: Squash, Garlic, Mushroom, Ricotta cheese, Chicken, Salmon, Tuna.
Squash comes in many different varieties. Winter squash is one of the most common variety and this type of squash should NOT be refrigerated (refrigerating it will lead to fast decay). Other types of squash that shouldn’t be refrigerated include the following:
- Acorn – will last for about 3 months (without refrigeration)
- Butternut – will last for about 1 month (without refrigeration)
- Pumpkin – will last for about 1 month (without refrigeration)
Like winter squash, the above-mentioned types of squash should be stored on the counter or on shelves. Winter squash, in particular, will last for about 2 weeks in this set up.
The types of squash that you can keep in the refrigerator are:
- Summer squash – (crisper drawer, up to 5 days)
- Spaghetti squash – (crisper drawer, up to 2 weeks)
Garlic should not be kept in the refrigerator (as it will spoil faster), but it can be frozen to extend its life.The best way to store garlic is to keep in it the pantry, out of direct sunlight and heat. It will last for many months this way (around 4 months).
Prepacked mushrooms can be kept in the refrigerator (crisper). Fresh ones can be placed in perforated brown paper bags so that these can breathe. They will last for a few days this way (up to 1 week maximum).
For Cheese (eg. Feta Cheese, Ricotta Cheese or other cheeses) have a very short shelf life – even when refrigerated (it should be consumed immediately). Keep it at the upper part of your fridge at 40 degrees Fahrenheit to keep it fresh. But once opened, it could only last for about a week or two. If you are a cheese fan, you may want to read this article "11 Ways to Keep Cheese Fresh In The Fridge".
Raw poultry is best kept in the freezer if you want to store it for a long period of time (up to 9 months). When raw chicken is kept in the refrigerator (bottom drawer) it will stay fresh for a couple of days only.
Salmon, Tuna or Raw Fishes
- Raw, fresh salmon can be kept at the bottom drawer in the refrigerator. However, you should cook it immediately as it will only stay fresh for about 2 days. But can we store or freeze smoked salmon? read this article.
- Raw, fresh Tuna will maintain its freshness in the fridge (bottom drawer) for about 1 to 2 days. If you want it to last longer, put it in the freezer (it will last for about 3 months).
How Long to Cook Fresh/ Frozen Vegetables
Our infographic on how long to cook fresh and frozen vegetables will assist you when you’re cooking meals in the kitchen. Different types of produce have different cooking times as this will depend on their overall texture, skin, and whether they’re fresh or frozen when you use them.
When dealing with kitchen ingredients that make use of vegetables, know that you can use these either fresh or frozen (no need to thaw them).
Also, depending on the type of cooking device that you’re using (skillet, food steamer, oven, etc.) the cooking times should also be adjusted accordingly.
Typically, soft types of vegetables (green peas, parsnips, etc.) can be cooked 1 to 2 minutes if they’re fresh and up to about 4 minutes if they’re frozen.
Veggies with thick skin and leaves will require more time in order for them to be really cooked and tender (e.g. carrots). For these types of produce, you need to cook them for about 5 minutes (fresh) or about 8 minutes (if frozen).
Now, for the really tough types of vegetables (potatoes, pumpkins, etc.), these will require longer cooking times. Even if they’re not frozen, these types of vegetables will take about 10 minutes to cook. And if they’re frozen, they can take about 15 minutes to fully cook through.
- Having all the right tools in the kitchen will make cooking dishes easier. So, invest on a good cutlery set and use kitchen scissors or shears to cleanly cut ingredients.
- You can thicken chili by adding potatoes (mashed or minced) in the mixture. Mashing some of the beans in the chili will also do the trick.
- You can use vegetables if you’re looking for something to substitute for Dijon mustard in your recipe. Just combine turmeric, garlic, chili peppers and some salt and you will get the same spicy flavor of Dijon mustard.
Meat Cuts & Cooking Recommendations
Having an infographic as reference for cooking meats is beneficial to all cooks, dieticians, and nutritionists. Now, you can easily figure out how to cook meat from pork, beef, lamb, chicken, and fish. You will also have a guide as to how the different parts of these animals are ideal for cooking.
When cooking meat, remember the following:
- Beef, pork, and lamb have more or less the same cooking time. However, you can eat slightly rare beef and lamb, but not pork. Pork meat can carry bacteria inside the meat that thorough cooking (of at least 140 degrees Fahrenheit is recommended).
- Chicken meat can cook quickly (especially boneless). It’s important to not overcook chicken meat in order to keep them tender and moist inside. Overcooked chicken can be dry and tough (and not very pleasant to eat).
- Fish meats cook really fast. Because of this, fish dishes are prepared very quickly. Overcooking fish can make the meat dry (or burnt).
- Meats are great sources of protein. We need a lot of protein because it’s the nutrient that’s responsible for maintaining the body’s tissues and cellular structure.
- Properly cooked and presented meat dishes makes this food not only eatable but enjoyable as well. Clean pork cuts, beef cuts, lamb cuts, chicken cuts, and fish cuts can be achieved by knowing how to slice through meats and having the right tools to accomplish the task.
To make your life easier, consider the following kitchen tips and techniques:
- A complete arsenal of kitchen tools will make the cooking process easier and more enjoyable as well. So, if you’re always preparing meat dishes, consider having these tools to help you out:
- Boning knife – this tool will help you a lot in deboning raw meats.
- Carving knife – you need this type of knife when cutting and serving cook meats.
- Meat grinder – if you have your own meat grinder at home, you can make your own sausages and prepare ground meat using particular portions of meat that you have chosen for a recipe.
- Stove – Gas stove, electric stove, and induction stove are all useful in cooking meat products on the stovetop. Likewise, have a good set of cooking pots and pans so that all your meat dishes can be properly prepared and accommodated.
- Oven – Baked meats are preferred over fried meats as dishes come out less fatty and more flavorful when cooked in the oven. You have a lot of choices in setting up an oven in your kitchen – you can have a compact microwave oven, a countertop convection oven, a convection microwave oven, an over the range oven, etc.
- Grill – There are grills for indoor and outdoor use, and you can have both if you love grilled meats and barbecues. Indoor grills are made to be smokeless, while outdoor grills can handle food preparations for weekend barbecues and the like. Today’s choices in affordable grills are plenty – you can surely get the model that’s most suitable to your needs.
Cooking Measurement Conversions
Having an infographic on cooking measurement conversions will prove to be useful when you’re preparing recipes that require a lot of measurements. As we all know, most dishes require exact measurements of ingredients in order to end up with a tasty result.
Should you lack some of the tools you need for measuring, knowing the right measurement conversions will allow you to use other instruments to achieve the same results. For example, do you know how many tablespoons are in a cup?
Here are just some of the most basic conversions you need to know:
- 1 cup = 16 tablespoons
- 1 tablespoon = 3 teaspoons
- A pinch – 1/8 teaspoon
Note that basic kitchen utensils like regular cups, tablespoons and teaspoons are not as accurate as the real thing. Therefore, your cooking tools should include measuring cups and measuring spoons. Don’t scrimp on these things because the taste of your cooked dishes will rely greatly on correct measurements of ingredients.
More Cooking Tips:
- Visit food blogs for recipes, tips, food hacks, etc. (you will learn a lot from expert cooks and bloggers).
- Watch videos on top cooking youtube channels that showcase cooking. You can learn how to make simple recipes, easy recipes, and even healthy recipes in such sources.
- Don’t be afraid to try new things when it comes to cooking. You’ll be amazed at the new tastes and flavors that you’ll discover if you are adventurous in cooking.