When it comes to trick-or-treating, I'm all about the trick — cooking tricks, that is! You can try and woo me with treats (especially tempting now that you know what you're doing!), but I will never pass up a smart, time-saving cooking trick or tip. Here are 10 of the best.
1. The trick to keeping guacamole green.
Don't you just hate it when you attempt to save guacamole for a few hours or overnight and it inevitably turns brown? That's why this trick is amazing. There is finally a way to keep guacamole fresh and green! And it doesn't involve avocado pits or extra limes, either.
2. The trick to making perfect bacon (with less splatter).
The trick to better bacon on the stovetop isn't to switch out the pan, or adjust the heat, or flip it incessantly. It's much simpler: You just need a little water! Besides helping to make your bacon brown and crispy, this trick also minimizes grease splatters. Game-changer.
3. The trick to peeling ginger.
If you've ever tried to peel ginger with a vegetable peeler, or to remove the skin with a knife, you know it feels like you're removing almost as much of the flesh as the skin! Here's the thing: The best way to peel ginger isn't with a peeler at all, but with a spoon. Try it!
4. The trick for the perfect poached egg.
Poached eggs can be tricky ... unless you have an absolutely foolproof way to make them perfect every time. (Seriously!) And who better than Julia Child to show us the way?
5. The trick to quickly ripening bananas.
When a banana bread hankering hits, there's no fighting it. But what if you have a bunch of unripe bananas on your countertop? Do you wait three more days before satisfying that craving? Well, you could — or you speed it up and ripen those bananas in 30 minutes, in the oven. It really works!
6. The trick to frothing milk without a frother (or espresso machine).
This trick is for all you cappuccino lovers. You don't have to sacrifice that foamy topping just because you don't have an espresso machine at home: You can make foamed milk in the microwave, no separate frother required (but you will need a little arm strength).
7. The trick to making ice cream with just one ingredient.
Conventional ice cream calls for cream, sugar, and whole milk, but there is another way. It might not taste exactly like a pint of Ben & Jerry's, but it's cold, creamy, doesn't require an ice cream machine, and you can amp it up however you like. It will also amaze your friends.
8. The trick to softening brown sugar right away.
Gah! You just opened your container of brown sugar, and it's hard, hard, hard. You don't have time to try all the usual softening methods, so those cookies will have to wait ... or not. That's right! There's a 30-second way to soften brown sugar, and you need to know about it.
9. The trick to perfect add-ins for baked goods.
Typically when things like fruit, nuts, or chocolate get added to a muffin, scone, or quick bread recipe, they sink to the bottom of the batter, leaving you with a soggy-bottom or unevenly spaced baked good — which is no good. Fortunately, there's a very simple trick you can do to keep this from happening.
10. The trick to storing salad greens for a long time.
Say it with me now: No more soggy, wilted salad greens! We tried three methods of keeping greens fresh for a long time in the fridge, and found a decided winner.
What cooking tricks do you love and rely on?
(Image credits: Leela Cyd; Faith Durand; Kelli Foster)