Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wednesday Fun #74 - Tricks of the Trade

Brown sugar here is CRAZY expensive. So, imagine my surprise when I ordered some brown sugar from the commissary in Japan only to find it packaged in wax paper and a cardboard box! (C&H brand). I mean, shouldn't it always be put in an airtight package to prevent it from turning into a block?!? Sheesh!

When it did turn into a hard block, I placed the brown sugar in a Ziploc along with an unpeeled, but scored in 2-3 places, apple for two days. Voila! Soft brown sugar again.

I remember learning this trick in 7th grade Home Ec (The class was actually called "Foods" and was a requirement for everyone. I still have the cook book.)

Anyway, this got me to thinking, what other tricks have you used in the kitchen to possibly save some food item, clean baked on grease, whatever? Feel free to post them as a response or in a seperate post with the tag "Tips and Hints".


Ms. Huis Herself said...

One of the handiest thing I learned in Home Ec was that there are 3 teaspoons in a tablespoon and 4 tablespoons to a quarter cup. I use those all the time when halving or doubling or one-and-a-halving recipes.

Keep your nuts, wheat germ, etc. in the freezer so the oils in them don't turn rancid.

If you're making something like wild rice that has a long cooking time, you might want to make extra and freeze it.

And related... check your freezer for such like extra frozen wild rice when you're going to make soup. :)

(BTW, good question! I'm totally going to be checking back in to see what other tips & hints I can pick up!)

The Dude said...

A quick trick to clean up stuff dried on a pan (on the off chance you forgot to clean it right away) is to throw a 1/4 cup of water in it, and then bring the water to a boil-- it loosens/dissolves most food in a snap.

Anonymous said...

sounds funny, but works, put water in pan, drop in fabric softener sheet, overnight, in am easy to clean

Syl said...

I use baking soda for cleaning stoneware, since you can't use soap. It has a nice abrasive quality, but doesn't leave a weird taste behind and won't scratch.

I use OxyClean for cleaning just about everything else in the kitchen.

The only other tip I have is to put a saltine cracker in your salt if it has too much moisture in it.

Pusher said...

I felt really stupid when I realized that none of the horrible, toxic cleaning products I used managed baked-on grease on a ceramic stovetop better than a regular ol' baking soda paste.

Syl, rice also works to keep salt from clumping in humid environments -- Mama B uses it up at the lake in the salt shakers.

In keeping with this month's theme, for extra-fluffy pancakes, separate the egg whites, whip to soft peaks and fold them in.

Avocados ripen beautifully when stored with apples.

DiploWhat said...

I've often done the water in the hot, greasy pan before. Works like a charm.

Here's another we do here since butter and the like is not marked in US measurments:

If you don't know how much butter or any other solid you have left, or if you need a clean way (won't stick to the sides) to measure it here's what you do. Take a measuring cup that is at least double the size of what you need, fill to an even measurment with water, and then add the item you need measured up to the appropriate point.

Ex: When making mac n cheese we need 1/4 c milk and 1/4 c butter. Fill a 1/2 cup measuring cup 1/2 way with the milk. Add the unmarked butter until it gets to full. Therefore you have 1/4 c milk and 1/4 cup butter.

This trick also works well for things like peanut butter etc.

DiploWhat said...

Oh, remembered another. Cookies dried out? Put a piece of bread in the bag for a few hours. The cookies will absorb the moisture from the bread.