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To 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.

Judith Saunders

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

Thanks to Sue Wand

Use 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 door!)

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

Contributions 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.

Pauline Clapton sent in this tip.

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

Contributed 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.

Sandie Apthorp

I 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.

Colleen 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.

Kenneth Pantling - thank you.

Stale 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 luck.

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!


General Food and Cooking related tips.

Food tips

General kitchen tips




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