Ready to save time & money with simple food prep tips? In this article, I’ll show you some underrated hacks to make your life easier.
I’m a sucker for little life hacks that seem like nothing but make a huge difference in everyday life. Especially if they save time or money – ideally even both.
So I collected some of the tips that I’m using on a regular basis that help achieve one or the other. They might seem neglectable at first, but if used at the right time, these tips can develop into little rays of sunlight:
#1 Save time & money by reviving stale bread rolls
Simply place your roll or muffin in your microwave for 5-15 seconds. And voilá: They will be restored to old glory for the next 15 minutes or so. More dense foods like muffins will need longer (up to 20-30 seconds) than a light bread roll or piece of baguette.
If it is really dry, loosely cover it with a damp kitchen towel. You can also use this hack for frozen rolls or muffins by simply adding another 20-30 seconds.
Warning: Work your way up in 5-second-increments until you have an idea how your microwave works. Ten seconds too long will cause hot and dense spots that are beyond redemption.
#2 Saving time when cutting pumpkin
Whenever a recipe calls for cubed pumpkin, I prefer to soften my pumpkin beforehand. You can do this either by roasting or steaming pumpkin halves.
Carefully cut your pumpkin into halves and remove the seeds. Place on a baking tray cut side up and bake in a 400°F/200°C oven for 20-45 minutes. If your recipe involves further cooking of your pumpkin, then 20 minutes is just enough to have an easier time cutting.
If the pumpkin gets added at a later stage, 30-45 minutes depending on the size will get it fork-tender. Allow to cool a bit and then easily remove the skin.
A really quick way is steaming pumpkin pieces in an electric pressure cooker. Simply pour a cup of water in the bottom of the pot and add the grid with the pumpkin pieces on top. Close the lid and cook on high pressure for about 12 minutes. Depending on the size you might even be able to fit an entire pumpkin.
Note: Save more time by doing this one or two days in advance. Then keep the pumpkin in the fridge. Save more money by roasting while something is in the oven anyway.
#3 Cutting melons
We used to cut watermelon into wedges until I learned this trick to cut it into sticks instead. It saves so much time:
- it reduces the mess in your face
- the melon is much easier to eat
- it’s also quicker to cut cubes from sticks
It may not seem like much, but it’s been a game changer in our home.
#4 Keeping potatoes from sprouting
You can keep your potatoes from sprouting two ways:
- store in a dark, cool place and separate from onions and garlic
- or place an apple with your potatoes
The apple’s ripening gas prevents the potatoes from sprouting and keeps them fresh longer. Much easier!
It will shrink and shrivel over time and needs to be replaced at some point. But it can still be turned into applesauce or added to a smoothie.
#5 DIY Disinfectant wash for fruits and vegetables
Generally, rinsing fruits and vegetables under running water is enough. But what if you share your home with people of the following groups?
- People whose immune system is compromised (e.g. undergoing chemotherapy, pregnant women)
- or it’s not fully developed yet (newborn or even preemie in the house)
There’s no need to buy commercial disinfectant for fresh produce, though. Simply put them in a sink full of water with a generous splash of vinegar.
Another option is baking soda. Simply add a teaspoon of baking soda per quart of water when washing fruits and vegetables.
#6 Even-sized cookies and muffins
If muffins or cookies aren’t roughly the same size you risk burning part of the batch. Save time & money by using an ice cream scoop with a release mechanism.
Simply scoop up and level the batter against the inside of the bowl. I also use this method to freeze cookie dough balls or for making cake pops.
I love these life hacks for their sheer simplicity. I hope at least one of them will make your life easier and brighten your day with an extra smile.
I can’t wait to hear which one is your favorite – I think mine is #1!
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