This is where I’ll post tips, probably mostly related to cooking or preserving food, though maybe some will be related to sourcing food (seems like most of those would end up under resources though). Here are a few to start with. When I have more I’ll figure out the best way to organize them.
The Right Garlic Press
I go through a lot of garlic! While it’s certainly possible to mince garlic with a knife, and crush it with the side of a knife, I find it so much faster to run the cloves through my garlic press when I make salad dressing or do anything else calling for garlic. I used to have one of those metal presses with a hinge. I find the garlic squishes out the side of those. This plastic screw type shown at right is so much better! You put the peeled cloves in the tube, and the put the plunger in and turn the screw. All the garlic stays neatly inside and is forced out the perforated end in a nice neat even crushed mince.
Since it is plastic, it is not quite as hard-wearing as the metal type. I broke the perforated end of my first one because after peeling the cloves, I didn’t cut off the hard ends where they attach to the bottom of the bulb and over time I guess forcing those hard bits through weakened the plastic. But now I always cut off the ends and my second press has lasted many years so far.
They don’t make my exact press anymore, but I was pleased to find out that there is a similar product called Turn-It. Made in the USA, and dishwasher safe (although I always clean mine by hand–it only takes a moment and I find I usually need to pick out a little garlic debris with the tip of a knife). In theory you can crush out some garlic, and then leave the rest of the cloves inside the tool and put it in the fridge with the rubber cap on the end. If you do this I would use it up in the next day or two. I used to do this, but I found that over time the garlic will eat away at the plastic, more so the longer it’s in contact. I much prefer to just use it and wash it right away, and not store garlic inside.
Turn-It only sells wholesale, and after going through all the retailers they list on their site, I found that Silver Leaf International is selling it on clearance for only $13 (regularly $16). I actually just bought several because if mine breaks I want to have more than one backup, that’s how much I like this tool. Let’s all buy one from them and maybe they won’t discontinue selling it!
Slicing an Avocado
- Slice it in half
- Scoop out the pit
- Gently draw a knife through the flesh while it’s in the skin. Just in slices, or do it crosswise as well for chunks or diced
- Scoop out the slices or chunks with a spoon directly onto your plate or bowl.
Less mess on your hands!
The Right Whisk
The spiral whisk at right is SOOO much easier to use and better than the balloon type whisk. Get one of these and try it with gravy. So, so, so much easier to whisk briskly without splashing and get in every corner of the pan. Lump free gravy.
Should be able to get this pretty much anywhere. If you have any ideas for how to repurpose the, inferior other style whisk, let me know!
The handy French invention called a “butter bell” is a great way to keep your butter soft and spreadable. The base is filled with water, and the top has a cup that holds a stick of butter. You invert the top down into the base, where the water rises up and seals air out, keeping the butter fresher at room temperature longer.
But, in case you didn’t know, you can keep a stick butter on your counter for quite a while and it will be perfectly good. It doesn’t have to be in the fridge. (Perhaps during the hottest days of summer if your house isn’t air conditioned you may want it in the fridge.) You’ll want to keep it covered to keep dust out. If you go through butter pretty quickly you may not need the butter bell. But it is pretty, and serving it looks nicer than as a stick on a plate, I think.
Immersion or Stick Blender
This inexpensive and handy gadget is awesome for blending soups in the pot and smoothies in a pitcher or even a large plastic cup.