Much like in my field of graphic design — or in any industry for that matter — a great philosophy to live by is: work smarter, not harder. Efficiency, creativity and a clever shortcut here and there can and will make a big difference in the long run.
With that being said, here are 15 of my favorite foodie lifehacks, sorted by category:
FOOD PREPI find chopping, slicing, peeling and other preparations to be the most boring parts of cooking. Planning ahead really makes a difference, especially if you don't have time during the week.
1.) Designate a day out of your week for food preparation.
- Chop frequently used vegetables such as lettuce, onions, peppers, carrots, etc. and store them in good quality containers in the fridge or freezer (I recommend the kind that are made of glass with plastic lids). Only chop enough for a couple days, it will spoil if you let it sit!
- Plan on making mashed potatoes? Peel them way faster by boiling them first, placing them in a bowl of cold water and twisting the skin off with your bare hands. Chop them up or leave them whole for later.
- Cook a large slab of meat (pork shoulder, chicken, or beef chuck steak works well) in the crock pot and portion it out into separate storage containers. Protein for the whole week!
- Hard boil a bunch of eggs all at once for a quick on-the-go breakfast.
- ...Or make a batch of bacon egg muffins.
- If you're not into eggs or bacon for breakfast, make a large batch of pancake batter and store in an empty ketchup bottle in the fridge for easy squeezing!
- If you like smoothies: make a large batch, pour into some ice cube trays and store in the freezer. Pop a couple of them into your blender with some milk, juice or water for a quick frozen drink!
2.) Peel a whole fist of garlic in seconds, flat.I absolutely love, love, love this trick. No more sticky fingers.
For best results, use mixing bowls like the ones in the video (decently sized and metal). I love using garlic (liberally) but I hate peeling it. This trick saved me big time!
3.) Make dried fruit without a dehydrator.Did you know you can dehydrate fruit with your oven at low temperatures? If you like to snack on dried fruit, use this trick for homemade raisins, craisins, dates and whatnot! Less additives, less sugar and better tasting
4.) Make your own pre-mixed spice blends for easier seasoning.A healthier and more economical way of spicing things up than buying the pre-made mixes!
- Italian Seasoning (use with sauces, pizza, vegetables and more)
- Taco Seasoning (use with ground beef, steak, chicken and guacamole)
- Greek Seasoning (use with lamb, steak, chicken and to make tzatziki sauce)
- Indian Seasoning (use with beef, chicken or curries)
5.) Make a printable grocery list template.
They say never go to the grocery store when you're hungry and never go without a list... Instead of writing out a list every time you go to the store, have a pre-made list of frequently bought items on your fridge. Leave some blank spaces just in case you need an odd ingredient that you usually don't shop for. Check off items as you use them to keep a stocked inventory!
FOOD PRESERVATION & STORAGEThere's nothing more depressing than throwing away spoiled food from the fridge or frost bitten freezer items. Use these tricks for less waste!
6.) Organize your fridge for optimal storage space and functionality.
7.) Keep squeezable citrus at room temperature for more juice.
Here are some other foods you shouldn't store in the fridge. When you're ready to squeeze, roll the fruit on a hard surface with the palm of your hand before slicing. Store the fresh juice in the fridge for up to 3 days or freeze in an ice cube tray for convenient portions.
8.) No more brown guacamole!
To prolong the life of guacamole, pour a layer of water on top in its storage container to keep it from turning brown. When you're ready to serve, just dump the water out and stir. The layer of water keeps the air out of the dip and it won't get absorbed in it, either!
9.) Wrap lettuce in a paper towel to prolong its shelf life.The paper towel will absorb the moisture, keeping those green leaves fresh and crispy!
10.) Vacuum seal food in a plastic bag with your microwave.
No FoodSaver? No problem. All you need to do is to nuke your food in the bag for 20-30 seconds, leaving a small opening in the bag's seal for the air to escape.
KITCHEN CLEANINGNext to food prep, keeping a clean kitchen is another boring but necessary task. A clean kitchen is a happy kitchen!
11.) Designate a bowl for fruit and vegetable trimmings when chopping.Temporarily storing the trimmings in a bowl not only frees up space on your cutting board, it also limits trips to the trash can. Get rid of all the trash in one sweep this way.
12.) Reuse a foaming soap dispenser to make dish soap last longer.Mix concentrated dish soap with a little bit of water in those foaming dispensers to cut down waste! Lets face it. We're all guilty of using too much dish soap every now and then.
13.) Use baking soda for literally any kitchen cleaning you can think of.
Baking soda is magic. Clean the stove, microwave, dishwasher, fridge, floors and more with it. Here are just a few ideas. It does wonders on dishes with caked on food. Soak them with some water and baking soda and that crud will come right off! Mix with lemon for a fresh and clean smell. Not only is it effective, it's not nearly as harsh on your lungs, skin and the environment as chemical cleaners.
14.) Invest in a silicone oven liner if you hate cleaning the oven.Keeping a liner at the bottom of your oven when you're making something messy will save loads of time. Instead of hunching down and scrubbing the inside of your oven, simply wait until its cool to pull out the liner and wipe it clean!
15.) Easily clean a dirty microwave with a bowl of water.Microwave a bowl of water for a minute or so uncovered to help loosen up caked on foods. Add a little dish soap to give it some extra cleaning power. The steam from the water will make wiping away the mess a lot easier!
What are your favorite lifehacks in and out of the kitchen?