You may have seen our Top Kitchen Gadgets To Save You Time post, which showcases clever bits of kit, some well known some less so, for helping you cut down on time and effort in the kitchen. As great as these gizmos are, they’re not much help if you don’t already have them to hand when you’re cooking!
If you’re in need of a quick fix (or you’re not ready to splash out on a mini-blowtorch just yet), then these smart kitchen hacks should still save you time but without costing you a penny. Let’s begin…
1. The Cheese Slicer Hack
You’ve seen those high-tech, professional cheese slicers at the delicatessen…they look expensive right? That’s because they are. But you know what’s not? Dental floss! It’s thin, strong and does the job of a cheese slicer pretty well as long as you put your cheese on a raised surface so the floss can cut straight through. Oh, and don’t use flavoured floss (unless you like your cheese to be minty fresh).
2. The Salad Dryer Hack
Of all the kitchen gadgets out there, salad spinners win the prize for taking up the most space while doing the smallest task. OK, they’re kinda fun to use and sure, you don’t really want wet lettuce in a salad.
But there’s another simple way to dry salad which doesn’t need a big contraption. Take your wet, washed salad and place it into the centre of a dry tea towel. Gather the four corners of the tea towel together, then swing the towel with your salad inside around in circles! The big perk of this kitchen hack is that it’s also fun – just make sure you don’t spin the salad in front of someone because they’ll get sprayed through the tea towel (unless they deserve a soaking!).
3. The Piping Bag Hack
Unless you’re training to be on a contestant on the next series of Great British Bake Off, you’re not all that likely to have a piping bag handy at home. Not to worry – take a (clean!) plastic bag and fill it with your icing, squeeze the icing into one corner and tie or seal the opening of the bag. Then, snip or pierce a very small hole in the corner of the bag and squeeze away! If not enough icing is coming out, just make the hole a little larger.
Even if you don’t bake all that often, it’s nice to know that with this hack you’ll be able to decorate cakes like a pro without having to worry about buying a piping bag.
4. The Funnel Hack
Funnels… Not just a key bit of kit in school chemistry labs, it turns out. They make life so much easier in the kitchen, and to be honest they’re not even very expensive. However, until you get round to getting some (or if you’re not a fan of a gadget/utensil filled kitchen, which might explain why you’ve been reading this post) try this trick instead.
Yup that’s right – it’s pretty much the same as the piping bag hack. Use a (again, clean!) plastic bag or wallet with a snipped corner in place of a funnel. This is a massive time saver when you’re playing around with fiddly small ingredients, like the grains of rice above.
5. The Blowtorch Hack
We’ll be the first to admit that kitchen blowtorches are pretty niche bits of gear. The one time they really come in handy though is for caramelising the sugar on the top of a crème brûlée. In the very possible event that you don’t have a blowtorch handy but want to get that lovely golden brown finish on your creme brulee, you can pop them under the grill until you get the same effect. Or, if you’re feeling daring, brace your brûlée with some steel tongs, hold it on its side and use the kitchen hob as a fixed blowtorch. It’s high risk – you need to make sure the crème brûlée is well chilled so it won’t slip out of its ramekin – but quicker than the grill hack and if you pull it off, you’ll feel like you’ve mastered creative kitchen hacks!