Christine Kropp is the owner of the Whimsical Bakery in Huntsville.
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Remember that time you wanted to make chocolate chip cookies and the brown sugar was too hard, or when you wanted to make guacamole and the avocado was not ripe enough.
There are many tips and tricks that cooks, and bakers alike keep tucked away in the back of their mind. Here is a list of some of the favourites for you to store in the front of your recipe book.
Avocados: run the cut end of the avocado under cool water to prevent browning.
Brown Sugar: put brown sugar into a glass bowl, top with a damp paper towel and microwave for 10 seconds. Break up sugar chunks, microwave for another 10 sec.
Store Brown Sugar: in a container with a tight-fitting lid, add a piece of fresh bread to keep in the moisture.
Bananas: wrap the tops of the bananas with saran wrap or foil; they will last up to 5 days longer. To ripen a banana quickly, place in a paper bag.
Cut Fruit: mixture of one-part honey, two parts water on fresh cut fruit will keep it from browning.
Egg Shells: if you get bits of eggshell in your egg, wet your finger, water will act as a magnet and the shell will stick to your finger.
Egg Freshness: drop the egg into a glass of water, spoiled eggs will float.
Hard Boil Eggs: Spin the egg, raw eggs do not spin.
Fresh Herbs: store herbs like flowers, upright in about 2” water
Lemon Juice: microwave a lemon for 20 sec; a warmer lemon is easier to juice and zest.
Onions: freeze the onion before cutting to save on the tears.
Tomatoes: Store tomatoes stem down to keep them from spoiling quickly. Store at room temperature, not in the fridge.
A few kitchen tool tips and tricks ...
Burnt Pots: cover the bottom of the burnt pan with baking soda, add enough water to make a paste, simmer on the stove until the burnt bits start to scrape off.
Boiling Pot: Place a wooden spoon over the pot to prevent the water from boiling over
Freshen Microwave: Heat a cup of water, ¼ cup of vinegar, and slices of lemon in the
microwave on high until the microwave window is steamy. Let the bowl sit in the microwave for 5 minutes; remove and clean inside the microwave
Hard to open Jars; Place a rubber band around the lid, then turn.
Slow sink drain: pour ½ cup baking soda followed by ½ cup vinegar; cover with a wet towel; wait 5 minutes then flush with hot water
Stained Cutting Board: run the cut side of a lemon over the board to remove food stains and smells. For a deeper clean, sprinkle with salt or baking soda to the board first.
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CHRISTINE KROPP .. I use my experience as a hotelier, a baker, a hospitality expert, and a world traveller to help curate a life you don’t need a vacation from. My lifestyle blog “The Sweet Life” includes food, fun and festive living.