10 Time-Saving Kitchen Hacks You Need to Know

15 brilliant kitchen hacks

My favorite kitchen hacks

As a food blogger and healthy food enthusiast, I’ve cultivated a list of time-saving measures over the years that save me time and money, while allowing me to prepare meals with fresh, quality ingredients.

While these kitchen hacks are now second-nature to me, I’m always reminded that they seem downright bizarre to a visiting houseguest or friend.“Why do you keep ginger and coconut flour in your freezer?” Or “Why do you store onions in lunch bags?” I’ve been frequently asked. Well, friends and family, here are the methods to my madness!

1. The Ginger Secret

15 brilliant kitchen hacks

I enjoy the convenience of always having fresh, peeled ginger on hand so I can quickly grate it into a sauce, soup, salad or dessert. My “Ginger Secret”entails peeling a couple large pieces of ginger occasionally,  breaking them into 1-inch knobs, then placing the pieces into a zip-top bag in the freezer. When I want fresh ginger, I simply grab a peeled knob and grate it – still frozen – using a microplane grater (I use this one) directly into the dish. 

2. Keep onions and garlic fresh for months

15 brilliant kitchen hacks

Recently, I discovered how to keep onions, garlic and shallots fresh for upwards of two months without moulding. This SO works! All you need is a paper bag, a whole punch and a paper clip. Here are the instructions from The Yummy Life.

3. Prevent sliced avocado from turning brown

15 brilliant kitchen hacks

When I’m packing a lunch, I love to add half an avocado. To keep it fresh and green until lunchtime, I pour a capful of raw apple cider vinegar over the cut surface of the avocado. It reduces oxidation, which is what causes the brown crust to form on the cut avocado.

When I’m keeping a cut avocado in the fridge, I use this brilliant tip from The Kitchn, which requires a piece of cut onion (which you will now have on hand, thanks to kitchen hack #2!).  This will keep the avocado fresh for one or two days.

4. Keep nut and seed flours fresh in the freezer

plain coconut flour small

I love baking with coconut flour, one of the healthiest flours available. However, I’ll often use just a few tablespoons at a time or go weeks without using it. To prolong the shelf life of coconut flour so it stays fresh for a year or more, simply place the bag in your freezer. You can use the flour directly from freezer to recipe.

If you use other nut or seed flours, such as almond flour, store these in the freezer to prolong their freshness. (Almond flour and other nut/seed flours are great on occasion, just don’t go crazy with them because they contain many anti-nutrient properties.)

5. Get perfectly shredded chicken with your standing mixer

15 brilliant kitchen hacks

Want restaurant-style shredded chicken without fuss? There’s no need to risk scorched fingers by shredding hot chicken with forks. The secret is using the paddle attachment on your standing mixer and “mixing” cooked, warm chicken breasts for a few minutes. Get the details here from Simple Healthy Family.

6. Instant Salad Dressing Jar

15 brilliant kitchen hacks

Making salad dressing at home allows us to control ingredient quality and skip on the toxic vegetable oils and preservatives found in store-bought dressings. My family always has this Salad Dressing Jar on our kitchen table. It’s marked with dashes and directions, so you fill it up with oil to one dash, then add lemon juice or vinegar to the next dash. You get perfect proportions of oil and vinegar every time!It includes a variety of recipes written on the bottle, so you needn’t look up what spices to add to your Italian salad dressing.

7. DIY Cookie Basket

15 brilliant kitchen hacks

I frequently use this kitchen hack during the holidays, when I’m gifting homemade cookies or some of my homemade Salted Date Caramels. You can dress up the paper plate basket with some ribbon and there’s no need for the recipient to return the plate after enjoying the treats. Get the directions here at One Good Thing By Jillee.

8. The most brilliant way to cut watermelon

15 brilliant kitchen hacks

Nothing beats a juicy watermelon on a hot summer day, but stuffing your face into a thick watermelon wedge can be slightly messy. For little kids, it can pose an extremely daunting challenge to even hold a big slice of watermelon. This brilliant method of cutting watermelon, from Mama Say What?!, works for young and old alike!

9. How to freeze egg whites

15 brilliant kitchen hacks

After mixing up a batch of mayonnaise or ice cream, I always faced the conundrum of leftover egg whites. That is, until I discovered you can freeze egg whites in ice cube trays for easy measuring. Here’s what I do:

  1. Put one egg white in each ice cube partition – I actually use this large silicon ice cube mold, which fits an egg white perfectly. If you have a smaller ice cube tray, you may find that two partitions are needed for one egg white.
  2. Freeze until solid.
  3. Pop out and place the egg white cubes into a labeled zip-top baggie and freeze until needed.
  4. When you are ready to use your egg whites, perhaps for a batch of merengue cookies, pop out the desired amount of egg white cubes before thawing them out. Place the frozen cubes in a bowl in the fridge and let them thaw out overnight, then they will be ready to use.

10. The Mason Jar Blender Trick

Last but not least, this kitchen hack alone may revolutionize your cooking habits. Did you know that a Mason jar can be used instead of the pitcher in most blenders? I found this tip here from Real Simple Magazine. This works perfectly for on-the-go smoothies.

15 brilliant kitchen hacksWhich of these kitchen hacks are you going to try? Pass this list on to your friends with the sharing icons below!

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Comments

  1. Michaela says

    Does the onion trick work with organic onions? I find organic onions spoil MUCH quicker than “traditional” onions, which only makes “traditional” produce more freaky! What the heck are they doing to those things?! =s

    • says

      I get organic onions and garlic, and so far I’ve kept them for 3 weeks with that method before using them all. One thing that *might* play a role here is irradiation – some stores may irradiate fresh produce, but organic produce cannot be irradiated. I’ve heard anecdotal stories about irradiated produce lasting a scarily long time without spoiling.

      • Michaela says

        I’m not surprised! A regular potato can seem to go months just fine. Within a week my organic potatoes are sprouting. I actually like to see that because I know I’m getting better quality produce. Scary stuff!

        Thanks for your response! =)

        • says

          there was a photo circulating the internet a while back about a girl who tried sprouting organic vs. non-organic (sprayed) potatoes for a science fair project. The non-organic one NEVER sprouted.

        • Gina Marie says

          If you ever have a sprout on a potato, cut it off and plant it outside. I just harvested 3 potatoes from one sprout I planted in fall 2013. Fall is the time to plant separated garlic cloves and the roots of your onions that have been cut off. I had such amazing onions and garlic grow from last year. Use what you have, just make it smarter. Enjoy!

      • Mrs G says

        I would also add the recommendation to always store organic lemons and limes in the fridge as they spoil much quicker than conventional ones.
        Conventional citrus fruit is coated with a fungicide and wax (check the label) to prolong shelf life. I noticed that my organic lemons would get mold within a couple of days from purchase if stored outside the fridge.
        I’ve also read that in the US it is even allowed to use color on orange skin, but here in the EU this particular sort of color cannot be used for food.

  2. Cathi C. says

    These are great! I’ve been using the micoplane/frozen ginger for years, except I don’t even bother to peel it. Can’t wait to try some of these great tips. Thanks, Lauren

  3. says

    That mason jar trick is amazing! And so simple! Thanks Lauren
    You can also use lemon juice on avocados to help keep them fresh instead of the apple cider vinegar :)

  4. says

    These are LIFE HACKS indeed. Thank you for sharing. These are all helpful in everyday cooking and food storage. I especially like the tip about watermelons. I have learned a lot from one single post! Thanks!

  5. says

    Very good information! I’ve been doing several of these for a while, but freezing egg whites and shredding chicken in a stand mixer are both new to me, love it! I love to freeze homemade chicken broth as well, I use a silicon muffin “pan” where each cup is 4 oz. They pop out easily and then I always have chicken broth on hand when I need it!

  6. Kayla says

    My favorite ginger trick is peeling it with a spoon! It sounds crazy, but it totally works! and you don’t accidentally hack off pieces of ginger, which always happened when I used a veggie peeler :)

  7. Bette says

    My mother broke the pitcher that came with blender she got when she married in 1958. She grew up during the depression when you neverthrew anything away. The only blender she ever owned had a mason jar attached to it. Thank you for the memory..

  8. Margaret Hunter says

    I just have to add to the canning jar/blender hint. I make all of my salad dressings. I line up the jars toss in the ingredients then give each of them a whirl. Quick easy and not very messy. Label the lid using permanent marker.

  9. says

    Lauren, you totally blew my mind :-) I assumed, being an awesome kitchen hacker, that I’d know most of these and the truth is, I didn’t. I always appreciate your posts, such a valuable resource!
    Hugs,
    Robin p.s. 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 10 were all new to me!

  10. Jill C. says

    Want to save even more time with the ginger? You don’t have to peel it. The skin is extremely thin, and once you’ve grated it, you pretty much don’t notice.

  11. Lois H. says

    Thanks for a couple tips. I don’t peel ginger either but I do scrub it with veggie brush and dry real well when I bring home from market

    • Candace Gaines says

      I’d like to know this one too…haven’t seen a salad dressing jar with hints and such…

  12. Amber says

    I usually have a cut up lemon in the fridge for water, so I squeeze a little lemon juice and rub it on the cut avocado and it stays good for quite a while (the day usually)
    !

  13. says

    Good tricks!
    But for Ginger I have only one since I found it! Ginger Crush in liquid form from Ireland.
    It is giving me a lot of energy and works even for my health when I drink it every day….tested on Me!
    No more grating and peeling :)

  14. Beverly Haynes says

    I tried to send this to myself on e mail but it
    Keeps telling me the e mail is not valid. it’s MY e mail.

  15. Eve says

    Awesome ideas. Will buy more avocados knowing this little trick. Lemons, I store whole lemons in ziplock baggy, occasionally I take them out, wipe both baggy and lemons dry and put them back in frig. They last for months.. After I harvest my ginger, and horseradish this fall, well, probably soon, I was going to shred, then freeze, now I can clean, dry, freeze for later.
    AWESOME SAUCE!!!!!!!!!

  16. Shannon says

    I’ve been doing the chicken shredding for a few months now and I LOVE IT! Just make sure you don’t put in too much at a time (or maybe use the shield) or the chicken will jump out.

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