Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best. Ironically, many of the following tricks for fixing common kitchen dilemmas aren't widely known. But tuck them in your proverbial apron and you'll have a far easier time resolving the following problems next time you face them:
1. How to Open Stubborn Pistachios
Pistachios are way too expensive to waste. Yet many of the delicious roasted nuts arrived in shells with little to no opening. Rather than attempting to bite them open or ruin your nails in a struggle you can't win, next time try this foolproof method for opening stubborn shells: Take one half of a shell, stick it into even the littlest opening of an unopened pistachio, and turn the shell half like a key. The pistachio will pop right open!
2. How to Easily Remove Egg Shells Dropped into Eggs
It happens to all of us: You crack open an egg and a tiny piece of its shell falls into the bowl along with the raw egg. If you've tried to get it out with your finger or a spoon, you know the slippery dilemma you face. Next time, wet your finger with water before attempting to fish it out. You'll be shocked at how easily it can be grabbed and eliminated.
3. How to Make Burnt Pots Look New Again
Considering how much a nice set of pots and pans costs, you'd expect them to be easy to clean. But even the best cooking gear gets black with use and cooked-on remnants. If you've attempted to scrub them clean you have probably succumbed to the notion that they will never glisten again. But, if you spray pots and pans with oven cleaner in a well-ventilated place (try the new "greener" versions or your own non-toxic recipe, available online) and leave them for a couple of hours the grime will wipe right off! Then wash them thoroughly with a vinegar and water solution and put them through the dishwasher before using them. Likewise stainless kettles. (Note: Be sure to read the cleaner warnings and directions; some are not recommended for pots and pans.)
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4. How to Refresh Crystallized Honey
You know that jar or bottle of honey that's hardened and crystallized on your shelf? It can easily be brought back to its easy-to-pour glory if you let it sit for 15 minutes in boiling water that has cooled for five minutes.
5. How to Soften Hardened Brown Sugar
Brown sugar hardens as its moisture evaporates over time in the cupboard. But you can easily re-moisturize it by placing the open sugar bag in a microwave with a cup of water next to it and zapping it on high for three minutes. Or you can place the sugar in a bowl, cover the sugar with a double layer of wet paper towels, and then cover the bowl with foil or plastic wrap and let it stand overnight.
6. How to Remove Stains from Wooden Cutting Boards
Can rings and wine and strawberries stains don't help the style of your cutting board. To get out stains, try sprinkling the board with salt rubbing it with lemon. For more stubborn stains, try an abrasive antibacterial kitchen cleaner and scouring pad. For the toughest, reach for sandpaper! And of course wash thoroughly afterward!
7. How to Salvage Overripe Fruit
Fruit is expensive, yet it goes bad so quickly and easily. But you don't need to toss your bruised or overripe bananas, peaches, or strawberries. The minute you see your fruit going bad, wash it, slice it, peel it (in the case of bananas) and freeze it in sealable bags. Then you have instant smoothie or pie makings anytime!
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