25 mind-blowing food preparation techniques to save you time & frustration


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Never again will you have to tediously peel off every layer of each tiny pearl onion, or spend half of your prep time peeling hard-boiled eggs or removing corn husks, or panic that you won’t finish prepping before your produce browns. These simple, brilliant tips save you the trouble — without any fancy gadgets.


1. How to: Peel individual garlic cloves

Source: The Kitchn

Photo: The Kitchn
Lay the clove on the cutting board and place the flat side of the knife on top of it. Use the heel of your hand to hit the knife, putting enough pressure on the clove for the skin to simply fall off.


2. How to: Peel many garlic cloves at once


How to Peel a Head of Garlic in Less Than 10 Seconds from SAVEUR.com on Vimeo.

Even with the previous trick to peeling individual cloves, it can be a pain to peel a whole bunch of cloves for garlic-heavy dishes. The trick: Hit the head of garlic with the heel of your hand to open up the cloves. Throw all the cloves into a big mixing bowl, and cover with a second mixing bowl. Then “shake the dickens out of it,” as Saveur executive food editor Todd Coleman demonstrates. Voila! It’s peeled — like a magic trick only with mixing bowls instead of a hat.


3. How to: Remove husks from ears of corn

Cleaning corn can be time-consuming — and it can seem impossible to eliminate those thin corn silks that get stuck in your teeth later. You won’t believe how easy the solution is: Place two ears of corn in the microwave (husks still on) for eight minutes. Use oven mitts to remove them from the microwave, place them on a cutting board and use a sharp knife to cleanly chop off the entire bottom end of the ear of corn (the one that doesn’t have a bunch of green pieces coming out of it). Now squeeze the other end of the husk, and the corn should easily slide out — with none of that annoying corn silk!


4. How to: Remove the tough stems of hearty greens

Real Simple had a nifty trick for getting rid of the tough stems on veggies like kale, chard, mustard greens and collards — no knife required. With one hand, hold a leaf at the bottom by the thickest part of the stem, use your other hand to gently pinch the leaf with your index finger and thumb, and then pull it up and off along the stem.


5. How to: Peel pearl onions

We love pearl onions; and for years, we avoided using them in dishes because honestly, we just didn’t feel like spending 30 minute peeling each one. Finally, someone saved us from our impatience with this trick: Chop off the tip of the onion (the end opposite the root end), cook in boiling water for two minutes and drain. When they’re cool enough to touch, gently squeeze each one at the root end, and the little guys will slip right out! Chop off the remaining roots, and you’re ready to get cooking. (via Cooking Light)


6. How to: Remove an avocado pit

If you haven’t learned this trick yet, it will change your life. To remove an avocado pit, simply cut the avocado in half length-wise, firmly strike the pit with a knife and twist it. Done! (Just be careful removing the pit from the knife.) Scoop out the fruit from each half with a large spoon.


7. How to: Soften butter

For the impatient baker, waiting for butter to soften can be like waiting for a pot to boil. To quicken up the process, use a grater to shred the required amount into a mixing bowl. It’ll be ready before you know it. (via Martha Stewart)


8. How to: Prevent apples from browning

The Yummy Life blog has a variety of unique tricks for this problem: 1) Soak the slices in a bowl of cold salt water (1/2 teaspoon of salt per 4 cups of water) for three to five minutes. 2) Soak them in a bowl of cold lemon water (1 tablespoon of lemon juice per 1 cup of water) for three to five minutes. 3) Soak them in a bowl of Sprite, 7-Up or a similar lemon-lime carbonated soda for three to five minutes. 4) Sprinkle them with Fruit Fresh, a citric acid powder that most stores have with their canning supplies.


9. How to: Prevent avocados from browning

The long-held myth is that replacing the pit in an avocado half will keep it fresh and prevent it from browning, but unfortunately it’s just that — a myth. One effective trick is to place the halves in a bowl of water with the peel still on. Unless you’re making guacamole or smoothies, just wipe off the wet side and slice when you’re ready. (via 52KitchenAdventures.com)


10. How to: Prevent potatoes from browning

Are you sensing a pattern here? With this tip, you can break up the prep time and not worry about peeled potatoes becoming brown. Peel them one night, throw them in a bowl of cold water and store them in a cool place (not the refrigerator) overnight. The next day, they’ll still be fresh for slicing and dicing. (via SlashFood.com)


11. How to: “Peel” hard-boiled eggs without peeling


We have no idea how Tim Ferriss figured this out, but it works! Boil the eggs at slow boil for about 12 minutes with about two inches of water above the eggs and a teaspoon of baking soda. Here’s where it gets crazy: Give one end of the egg a good tap on the counter and remove the shell pieces from the tip. Repeat with the other end of the egg. Now hold the egg’s width in a cupped hand, raise it to your mouth and blow. The egg falls right out of the shell! Another option, for when you don’t need the eggs to be whole, is to simply cut the egg in half with a knife and scoop out both halves with a spoon. No peeling necessary!


12. How to: Peel a potato in 10 seconds


Make a thin cut all around the potato, length-wise, trying to cut only the skin. Boil the potato until it’s soft inside, and then plunge it in ice water for 10 seconds. Now all you have to do is gently rub the potato, and the skin falls right off.


13. How to: Remove salmon bones

Unless you’ve had plenty of practice, removing the thin, soft pin bones in a salmon fillet can be challenging. Real Simple’s trick to pulling it off without mutilating the salmon: Run your index finger along the center seam of the fillet, going against the grain. If there are any pin bones, you should feel them protruding at about half-inch intervals. Use clean tweezers to grasp the tip of the bone and tug, pulling at a slight angle instead of up and out.