Kitchen Hints Tips

Read these 54 Kitchen Hints Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Recipe tips and hundreds of other topics.

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What´s an easier way to know which appliance plug to pull?

Coding Appliances

Put a different colored dot of nail polish on each electrical cord of multiple appliances sharing the same outlet.

How do I keep my food safe at a picnic?

Picnic Safety Measures

Food poisoning is a real danger at outdoor picnics. Make sure to keep any food you plan on serving below 45 degrees or above 140 degrees for as long as you possibly can. Keep your salads (especially mayonnaise based salads) in the refrigerator until mealtime, and make sure that any grilled foods are fully cooked and served hot. If possible, keep your cold foods in a cooler at all times, or replace in the cooler as soon as everyone has been served.

Where do I keep raw meat for safety?

Keeping Raw Meat

Place raw meat on a plate or pan in the refrigerator to keep juices from dripping on other food.

How long after the expiration date is milk safe to drink?

Got Milk?

Expiration dates on milk are usually very conservative. If the milk is properly stored, it should be fine to drink up to a week after the date on the carton.

How do I clean up after making chicken?

Keeping the Kitchen Sanitary

Whenever handling food, the utmost care must be taken not to spread germs and bacteria. Always wash your hands before AND AFTER handling any kind of raw meat. Also clean off all areas that the raw meat has come in contact with. This is ESPECIALLY important when handling poultry. Wash down everything with hot soapy water, then follow with an antibacterial cleanser. You can not be too careful in your handling of food.

What is the best way to extinguish a kitchen fire?

Dousing Kitchen Fires

If you have a grease fire, never use water to put it out, because it will spread the fire.

One way to smother a grease fire is to sprinkle baking soda over the fire. Also, remember to keep a tight fitting lid for your pan close by, so you can cover the pan if a flame erupts. Leave the lid in place until the pan cools.

Always keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen, and learn how to use it before a fire occurs.

What is the best way to keep my celery from wilting?

Crisp Celery

Dampen a paper towel, wrap it around your celery, and then wrap completely in foil. It will stay crisp in your refrigerator for at least a month.

Do spices spoil?

Spice Storage

Your herbs and spices will keep for about a year, if you store them in a tightly sealed container, preferably out of the light. They will be safe to eat after the year is up, but will have lost most of their flavor.

What can I do with bananas that are overripe?

Storing Bananas

You can save ripe bananas for baking later, just mash them and freeze in the amounts needed for your recipes.

If you are short on time just put them in the freezer, unpeeled, and when ready to use let them defrost and peel. You barely have to mash them, because they are already very soft.

How do I keep celery fresh?

Keep Celery Fresh For Weeks

I found a way to keep celery fresh for 2 weeks or longer. Take it out of the bag it came in, rinse it with water and wrap it in aluminum foil. This will keep it chilled and lasting longer.

How can I store shredded cheese?

Grated Cheese

Put a teaspoon of baking soda in your container of grated cheese. Shake well before freezing and your cheese will not stick together.

How can I clean darkened aluminum pans?

Darkened Aluminum Pans

You can clean darkened aluminum pans easily by pouring in two teaspoons cream of tartar mixed in a quart of water. Place on stovetop and boil for 10 minutes.

How can I reduce cooking time?

Reynolds Bags

Cooking bags, such as those made by Reynolds, are great for moist cooking and can actually reduce cooking time. They also greatly reduce the mess to be cleaned up afterward!

How do I remove odor from a microwave?

Microwave Odor

Placing a few ounces of lemon juice and water in a cup and heating in the microwave will remove the smell of burned popcorn from the microwave.

How can I save time in the kitchen?


Save time in the kitchen by making storage space work for you. Keep baking products, mixer bowls, baking pans and measuring cups in the same area of the kitchen. Save space by storing coffee, filters and mugs near the pot, dishes and cutlery near the sink.

How can I cook safely on the stove.

Stove Top Safety

Make sure to turn the handles of the pans in, so they don't stick out over the edge of the stove. Also make sure they aren't over other burners.

How do I get the smell of onions out of my plastic storage containers?

Remove odor from plastic

If your plastic storage containers have a residual odor from storing onions or garlic, wash the container, and then wad up a piece of newspaper and seal it inside the container. In a few days the odor will be gone.

How can I clean my can opener blade?

Cleaning your can opener

The best way to clean your can opener blade is to use an old toothbrush loaded with anti-bacterial dish soap and scrub vigorously. Your can opener blade should be cleaned frequently to prevent bacteria.

When I bake pies my oven is a mess! How can I clean it up?

Cleaning up pie spills

If the juice from fruit pies overflows while you're baking, sprinkle some salt onto the spill. The juice will then burn to a crisp, making it easily removable.

How can I freeze berries?

Freezing Berries

Freezing berries is easy. Spread berries out on jelly roll pans in a single layer, making sure the berries are not touching. Freeze until firm. When berries are completely frozen, remove from the pan and place in freezer containers of your choice.

Freezing the berries individually means you can remove the amount you want without having them stick together.

Where do I start?

Get Organized!

Spend a quiet weekend organizing all of your recipe files. Try the recipes you've been saving, and discard the recipes you know you'll never use. Remember that dish that takes 3 days to make? Get rid of it!

How can I prevent mold and germs on my kitchen counter?

Streak Free Counters

Wipe your kitchen work surfaces down with full strength vinegar. Besides streak free cleaning, it will also prevent mold.

How do you clean baked on food in a skillet?

Skillet cleaning

Cleaning a skillet after use is simplified by adding a couple of drops of liquid dish soap and a little water to cover the bottom of the pan. Bring the liquid to a boil on the top of the stove and wash after the water has cooled.

How do I prevent splattering foods in a microwave?

Piercing Food

When cooking foods with any form of a skin or membrane, they should be pierced beforehand to prevent splattering. Steam builds up inside the food during cooking. Eggs, potatoes and hot dogs are good examples.

How do I store cheese?

Cheese Storage

1)The best place to store cheese is in the refrigerator, the closer to the bottom the better...preferably in the vegetable crisper.

2) Hard cheeses will keep in the freezer, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and aluminum foil, for two to three months. It is best not to store a soft cheese in the freezer.

What is a good safety tip for beginners to avoid burns?

Avoiding Burns

To avoid burns, use thick, dry pot holders. Wet pot holders will allow the heat to soak through.

How can I help prevent food poisoning?

When In Doubt

When in doubt that leftover food is good, throw it out.

What is the best way to keep fish fresh?

Fresh Fish

The best way to keep fish really fresh is to place the fish in a double plastic bag filled with water and place near the freezer wall. Fish should never be refrozen.

What is the best way to store nuts?


If I am not planning to use nuts immediately, I like to store them in the freezer to preserve their freshness. They will also crack more easily after freezing.

What can I do with extra tomato sauce when I only need to use a little

Saving Sauce

Place any extra sauce or broth into a plastic ice cube tray. When they are frozen, pop them out and put them in a ziploc bag for storage. If you measure out the sauce or broth before you freeze it, you won't even have to defrost it when you need to use it, just toss it into the pot.

How can I prepare chicken safely?

Chicken safety

You should always wash your hands, knife and cutting board thoroughly in the dishwasher or very hot, soapy water after cutting or skinning raw poultry. Do not reuse the knife and cutting board until it has been thoroughly cleaned.

Never place cooked poultry on the same platter that you used for your raw poultry. If I am taking chicken outside to grill, I will cover a plate with foil, place the raw chicken on top of that, and then remove the foil for after the chicken has been cooked.

I found some apples that I bought last month, are they ok to eat?

Apple Storage

If the apples have been stored in your refrigerator, they should be fine to eat for up to 2 months.

How long can I store ground meat safely?

Ground Meat Safety

Ground meat will keep safely in the refrigerator for only 1 to 2 days. If you don't plan on using it immediately, put it in the freezer where it will keep for 3 months.

What is the best way to store tomatoes?

Tough Tomatoes

Keep tomatoes in a brown paper bag or closed container. Adding an apple or pear to the container can also hasten ripening. Store the tomatoes in a single layer and with the stem ends up to avoid bruising.

Is it safe to put my cooked meats back in the marinade?

Marinating: Safety

Don't put cooked meats in the same dish that held the meat\marinade when it was raw. The bacteria from raw meat can contaminate cooked food.

How can I prevent bacteria?

Beware of Bacteria

Bacteria grows most rapidly between 40 degrees F and 140 degrees F. Keep foods above or below this range as much as possible.

How can I keep bread fresh?

Bread in the Refrigerator

Don't let bread go to waste. Bread will keep up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator if you wrap it in foil and store it on a low shelf.

How can I clean my stainless steel sink?

Stainless Steel Sink

Use vinegar to clean your stainless steel sink. It will really make it shine.

How do I clean up a dropped egg?

Egg on the Floor

If you drop an egg on the floor, cover it with salt and leave it alone for a couple of minutes. When you come back, you'll be able to easily clean the mess with a paper towel.

How do I get food stains off of silverware?

Cleanup Silverware

Rinse food products off knives immediately after use, especially mayonnaise, which is a highly corrosive substance. If staining should occur, use a non-abrasive polishing compound to remove it.

How do I store my appliance cords?

Tangled Cords?

Use empty toilet paper rolls to store appliance cords in. It keeps them neat, and you can write on the roll what appliance it belongs more searching for the right cord.

How can I help prevent food poisoning?

Wash Hands

Wash your hands often in warm soapy water before, during and after you prepare your meal.

What are some chicken safety tips?

Chicken Safety

-Marinade in which raw chicken has been soaking should never be used on fully cooked chicken.
-Thaw frozen chicken in the refrigerator, not on the countertop.
-Freeze uncooked chicken if it is not going to be used within 2 days.

How can I keep my cucumbers fresher longer?

Cucumber Storage

To extend the life of a cucumber once it has been cut open, wrap it in a paper towel and keep it in the vegetable drawer of your refrigerator.

How do I store foods I´ve dried?

Storing Dried Foods

Almost anything can be used as a storage container for dried foods, as long as it has a tight fitting lid. Lidded jars or other containers work well, as well as storage bags or plastic containers. Be sure to store the dried food in a dark, cool place to prevent oxidation. Store the food in small batches, and be sure to check weekly for signs of mold for the first several weeks.

How do I store pasta?

Storing Pasta

Store uncooked pasta in a tightly sealed package or container in a cool, dry place. Store and use non-egg pasta for up to three years and egg pasta for up to two years.

Do you have a recipe for a safe-to-use drain cleaner?

Drain Cleaner

To unclog a drain, mix a cup of salt with a cup of baking soda. Pour the dry solution into the drain, and then add a pot of boiling water.

Is there and easy way to remove the grease from my oven?

Cleaning your oven

To remove grease from inside your oven, put a small pan of ammonia in the oven in the evening, and then close the oven door. In the morning, remove the pan of ammonia. The grease inside the oven will
wipe off very easily.

What is the easiest way to remove baked-on food from my dishes?

Removing baked on food from your baking dishes...

Scrape off any loose bits of food. Put a couple of tablespoons of dishwasher detergent in the dish and add hot water. Stir the solution - a small wire whisk helps. The solution should be so heavy with detergent that it doesn't all quite dissolve. Leave it overnight. By morning, the baked on food will have lifted right off the surface of the dish. Don't use this method on non-stick surfaces.

How do I remove tea stains from my mugs?

Cup Cleaner

Make a paste by mixing baking soda and water. Rub lightly over stains and they will disappear.

How do you clean greasy dishes?

Cleanup Greasy Dishes

To cut grease and odor on dishes, add a tablespoon of vinegar to your hot soapy water.

Does freezing affect taste of food?

Seasoning Defrosted Food

Freezing may affect some spices, so it's a good idea to check and re-season if necessary when cooking previously frozen food.

What´s an easy way to clean a microwave?

Microwave Cleanup

After you've had food splattered in your microwave, it's hard to clean up. Just boil 1/4 cup of vinegar with 1 cup of water in the microwave. This will loosen splattered on food and deodorize for easy clean up.

How can I help prevent food poisoning?

Two Cutting Boards

Have two cutting boards. One for raw meats and the other for ready to eat foods.

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Guru Spotlight
Lynne Christen