We do plenty of stupid things we do in the kitchen, including things that seem smart or helpful, but really just waste our time and make cooking and cleaning up more annoying than it needs to be. Here's a list of kitchen time-wasters you should stop doing right now.
- Using Dull Blades: Dull knives are more dangerous in the kitchen than sharp ones, but they're also more time consuming to use. Struggling to slice vegetables before you cook, sawing at meats and bread after you cook, it all adds up to precious wasted prep and eating time that could trim down the time you spend in the kitchen. Please, for time and safety's sake, hone your knives regularly.
- Hand-Washing Your Dishes Before Putting Them In The Dishwasher: Not only does pre-washing dishes waste water and energy; it wastes time. Most modern dishwashers are designed to handle the tough, caked on ick all over your pots and pans, so unless you enjoy handwashing, rinse, wipe and toss right in the dishwasher.
- Washing Your Meat In The Sink Before Cooking: It's been said there's no point in rinsing meat before cooking it. However you plan to cook your meat, if you're cooking to the appropriate internal temperature, anything on the outside will be long dead, whether your meat is headed for a searing hot pan or the oven. Rinsing meat does one thing though: it washes all of the bacteria off of the meat and all over your sink, raising the risk of cross contamination. Now excuse me, I'm off to wash down my sink.
- Cooking Too Little, Too Often: Cook larger meals like soups and stews in a crock pot or on the weekend and pack enough away as leftovers so you don't have to spend time cooking when you don't want to. Check out our tips on healthy eating for people who hate cooking for more time-saving suggestions anyone — even people who love to cook — can use.
- Fetishising Manual Work And Ignoring Useful Kitchen Gear: When we asked Mark Bittman for his cooking tips, he warned against spending too much time chopping and dicing and not embracing some kitchen workhorses — like the mandoline slicer and immersion blender — that can make cooking easier, faster, and more fun. Speaking of essential kitchen gear, check out this list of budget kitchen upgrades.
- Ignoring Simple, Time-Saving Skills: The few seconds it takes to master many kitchen skills can save countless minutes in your cooking. Some favourites include:
- Use a Two-Bowl Method for Easy Kitchen Cleanup
- Peel a head of garlic in 10 seconds with two bowls
- Keep canned soups from sticking in the can with a knife
- Get the most juice from a citrus fruit
- Make spice kits for faster, more flavourful cooking
- Write sauce and salad dressing recipes on squeeze bottles for easy duplication
- Core a head of iceberg lettuce in three seconds flat
Do you have a cooking tip or trick that we've neglected to mention? A technique that you just know other people out there are wasting time doing, but really should stop? Share it in the comments below.