Ten student-friendly kitchen hacks
From finding perfectly ripe avocados and never wasting a half-eaten loaf of bread again to minimising common kitchen messes, arm your children with these ten clever kitchen tips and they’ll find cooking a cinch.
1. The egg test
Check to see if an egg is still edible by dropping it into a bowl of cold water – if it sinks, it’s fine to eat but if it bobs to the surface then you should throw it away. Eggshells are porous and the older they are, the more air they absorb so old eggs have enough air inside to float.
2. The avocado trick
Avocados have become as much of a staple as bread nowadays, but finding a perfectly ripe one in store can sometimes be tricky. Avoid inspecting endless avocados and instead pop out the little ‘navel’ that’s left where the fruit has been removed from its stem. If it’s pale green or white, it’s not quite ripe, brown means it’s overripe and medium yellowy green means it’s just right.
3. The fresh bread cheat
If you’ve bought a loaf of unsliced bread and only eaten half of it before it’s gone stale, revive the remaining half by turning it cut-side down under water. Let the water run all over it before wrapping it in foil and baking it in the oven at around 200°c until it’s crisp and looks like new.
4. The fuss-free fridge clean
Get rid of a whiffy fridge by popping in a few used tea bags on a saucer. Used tea leaves are porous, so they will help suck up all those unpleasant odours rattling around an overstuffed university fridge. You can get rid of the smell in your microwave by squeezing the juice of a lemon into a cup of water and heating it for a minute or two in the microwave.
5. The lemon trick
As well as refreshing your microwave, lemons also help keep cut fruit from turning brown. Squeeze a little lemon juice over half-eaten fruit like apples, pears or avocados to help stop them turning brown so quickly.
6. The easy way to flavour
You can use your ice cube trays for more than just water - freeze leftover fresh herbs in olive oil in the different compartments and pop one or two out when you want to cook meat, fish or a sauce for an instant hit of added flavour.
7. The wooden spoon trick
Avoid spills on the hob when you boil water or anything liquid in a saucepan by balancing a wooden spoon over the top of the pot. This stops it boiling over every time.
8. The super-juicy fruit hack
If you want to get more juice from citrus fruit, warm the whole fruit in the microwave for 20 seconds before you slice it. The heat makes the cell membranes more permeable in the fruit, meaning more juice when you squeeze.
9. The instant ice cream
Chances are the thought of making ice cream from scratch sounds like a bit too much effort for most students. Luckily you can cheat your way to ice cream with frozen bananas. Freeze a bunch of ripe bananas then whizz up in a food processor or blender with a squeeze of honey or some nuts.
10. The pizza shortcut
With tight budgets and the lure of takeaways, every leftover slice of pizza counts. You can keep yesterday’s pizza tasting fresh by placing a cup of water in the microwave while you reheat it – the added moisture in the air stops the dough from drying out.