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Useful Kitchen and food related tips including chopping onions, reviving limp lettuce etc.



get rid of fat don’t put it down your sink, keep an empty can in the
fridge and put your fat in there. When the can is full put it in the
bin. Even better is to keep some cheap oatmeal and scatter it on the
fat then put it all out for the birds.


mushrooms in paper bags rather than plastic bags or trays, this
stops them becoming ‘slimy’ and prolongs their useful life.

Thanks to
Sue Wand

left over wine to freeze into ice cubes. These can be used in soups
and casseroles etc. or used to chill a glass of wine quickly if
you’ve forgotten to refrigerate it!

Sue Wand

To get rid of the smell of onions
from hands, put some dish soap (Dawn) on the blade of your knife or
any other stainless utensil, carefully run the soap on the utensil
with your fingers and any other part that touched the onion. 
After 30 seconds, rinse and they should be odour free.

We have
Yvonne Cater to thank for this one.

When opening jars and bottles get a better
grip by –

wrapping a piece of sandpaper round the top, rough
side inwards.

wrapping a damp cloth around the jar.

running the lid under a hot tap (but be careful the
water is not hot enough to crack the glass).

wear rubber gloves.

put an elastic band around the lid.

Gently knock the side of the lid a couple of times
on a hard surface.

Our thanks to
Judy Smith, Georgina, Ann Cooper, Lydia Dawson and James Foulkes for these suggestions.

If you have a jar that won’t open, gently tap the rim
of the lid all the way around – I use a rolling pin. This will break the
‘seal’ and the jar will open easily.

Mandy Davies

To prevent crying when chopping/slicing
onions, you can –

chop under water

wear goggles (and just hope no-one comes to the

put a teaspoon in your mouth and keep it closed
(breathing through your nose).

from Kayleigh Trebilcock and Nich Schulz.

Before peeling an onion hold it under the
hot water tap for a few seconds.  The peel won’t flake all over the
place and it becomes pliable and comes off in bigger pieces.

Nick Schulz.

To keep bubbles in an open bottle of
champagne place the handle of a metal dessertspoon in the bottle neck.

Thanks to Karen
Reith for this one.

Cut the tie out of washing powder
tablet bags and use on bread or freezer bags.  Stays really tight
and is quick and easy to undo.

Clapton sent in this tip.

Limp lettuce can be revived by
placing in a bowl of cold water with a lump of coal.

by John Hadland.

If you often use wine when cooking
put a cup of wine into a freezer bag and freeze, when required it is
easy to defrost in the microwave.  Red wine appears to work
better than white.

This tip
received from Michelle Davidson – thank you.

You can also freeze any leftover wine !!!!!!! in
ice cube trays – these cubes can be added to stews, casseroles, sauces
etc. as and when required.


freeze leftover tea and coffee in ice cube trays-then pop them out and
put them in a labeled freezer bag or solid container. 

Use a cube, when the coffee or tea is too hot to
drink. Also useful when making “iced: teas or coffees. 

When using ice cubes the beverages become
diluted, use coffee or tea cubes and the beverage retains full flavor.

Mary Wong

Coffee cubes may also
be used in making ‘redeye’ gravy which is good served with ham. 

After frying ham and removing it to a platter;
add 1 cup of hot water and 3 cubes (tablespoons/dessertspoons) of
coffee to the pan drippings. Boil and stir, drizzle over ham…YUM!

Mary Wong

When beating cream, hold a little
back to add at the last minute.  This way, if you curdle the
cream you can add the remaining liquid to return it to a perfect
consistency, otherwise add it at the last stage of beating.

Simpson sent in this useful gem.

To get tomato sauce out of the
bottle don’t hit the bottom or shake it vertically.  Shake the
bottle from side to side until you can see that the contents have
started flowing (about 30 seconds)

We have
Richard Ramsden to thank for this one.

If you are fed up with your biscuits
and dry cereals becoming soggy or rubbery before you get to the bottom
of the pack and you have a “frost free” fridge/freezer,
store these dry goods there.

These types of  freezers don’t need
defrosting because they remove the moisture from the air (and any
foods inside).

If space is a problem remove the items from
their boxes, they don’t even need to be sealed which allows the
freezer to dry them thoroughly.  When you want to use them just
remove as much as you need and, if necessary, leave out for a minute
or two to get back to room temperature.

Les Moyes
sent in this suggestion.

To restore the edge on a sharp knife
take an ordinary glazed mug, turn it upside down and use the unglazed
ring on the base to sharpen the knife.  It won’t sharpen a dull
knife but will touch up the edge on a sharp one if done properly.

Pantling – thank you.

bread can be used to make bread pudding.
Used envelopes make a
great shopping pad

Nick Wareham

To prevent your salt cellar clogging
up because of dampness put a few grains of rice in with the
salt.  These grains absorb any moisture.

Thanks to
Gareth Cole

When using mince in casseroles,
shepherds’ pie etc. after frying with the onion and pouring off the
excess fat, add a handful of porridge oats (oatmeal) to the
mixture.  This will help thicken the dish after the stock is
added and is also healthier than flour and is high in fibre.

Thanks to
Lynne Baxter for this one.

Fresh Pod are completely natural and safe, green
pods which you place in the salad drawers of your fridge to extend the
life of fruit and vegetables by up to four times, without the use of
harmful chemicals and without losing any of the freshness, taste and
texture. They are filled with a natural mineral which absorbs the
gases given off by the ripening fruit and vegetable.

I also use mine in my fruit bowl and it has
greatly extended the time it takes for bananas to turn brown. Apples
stay crisp and firmer for longer. The pods inner sachet needs
replacing after 6 month, but the initial pack comes with two pods and
4 sachets, enough to last you a year. New refills are available. The
old sachets can be cut open and sprinkled on the garden or compost
heap. By extending the life of your fruit and vegetables, Fresh Pods
not only cut down on waste, but also reduces the length of time
between visits to the supermarket.


I bake cakes to sell from my home and my mother taught me to trace a piece of wax paper the size of the pan you are using, cut it out and then spray pan with a light spray of veg. spray. Put wax paper in pan and spray again this time cover the sides. After it is baked let cake cool for 10 minutes after baking on a wire rack and make sure the cake has moved away from sides of pan. If it has not use a knife and go around pan, then place tray over cake and flip, then remove wax paper slowly. 

If the cake has cooled turn on a burner on stove and put on oven mitts and move cake pan back and forth over burner*** till the bottom has warmed. Then try to remove cake, if it doesn’t come out then heat a bit more. Good

Wendy Montani

*** Obviously
you need to be very careful when holding the cake over the burner to
avoid burning either yourself or the oven mitts!


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