So, you’ve decided you’d like to become a little more hands-on in the kitchen. 2021 is going to be your year to wow your loved ones with your cooking prowess. Good for you! We love that. The thing is, learning your way around the kitchen can take time. And if you’re going to be hosting folks in the near future you may want to learn a few hacks that’ll cut down how long it takes you to get your spread together.
With that in mind, here are 10 surprising kitchen techniques that will save you a bunch of time:
Deseed a pomegranate in seconds using a wooden spoon
If you don’t love pomegranates, it’s either because you’ve never had one or you hate how much work they take to deseed. While many people recommend peeling it in a bowl of water, it turns out there’s an even faster method: just break it open and bang on it with a wooden spoon. You should have all those seeds in a bowl in about 10 seconds.
Stop peeling boiled eggs and just cut them in half
Peeling a hard boiled egg is a pain in the butt, but there’s a much easier way to get to the goods inside: just cut it in half and spoon it out of the shell. It should slip out pretty easily, though you should make sure there aren’t any tiny pieces of shell still stuck on it before you go shovelling it in to your mouth. If that isn’t enough of a parlour trick for you, though, you can always use the peel-and-blow method shown here. You can find more egg hacks in our exhaustive cooking guide.
Unload a 12-pack of soft drink into your fridge in 10 seconds
Most 12-packs of soft drink are designed to sit in your fridge, but who needs the entire box in there? You can never tell how many you have left and it always takes up lots of space, even with only one or two cans in there. To unload it without tediously moving each can one-by-one, just open up both ends, stick it on the shelf of the fridge and push them through. Check out the video to see how it’s done.
Make pancakes with a squeeze bottle
Ladling pancake batter into a pan is a recipe for a mess. Instead of dripping batter all over the place, put that pancake batter in an old condiment bottle and squeeze it out. You’ll get perfectly shaped pancakes without any drips or unevenness. Just make sure you wash that bottle thoroughly first, because otherwise… ew.
Split an apple in half without a knife
If you don’t like eating apples whole (they can, after all, get a little messy that way), but don’t always have a knife around, you can actually break them in half with your bare hands. Just remove the stem and get a good amount of leverage near the hole at the top. Not only is it convenient, but it makes you look like the Incredible Hulk (you know, sans anger issues). See the video for a demonstration.
Decant wine in less than a minute with a blender
True wine lovers use a long, drawn-out process called decanting to aerate their wine before drinking for better taste. True life hackers throw it in a blender for 60 seconds instead. You may scoff at this method, dubbed “hyperdecanting”, but it’s a quick way to improve almost any red wine.
A lot of people have taste-tested this method (see the wine experts from Vinum Vita share their opinions in the video), and definitely noticed a difference — though whether it’s good enough to stand up to properly-decanted wine is up for debate. Check out the full post for more info on how it works and more taste testing videos.
Peel a head of garlic in seconds with two bowls
If you have a particularly garlic-heavy recipe to make (so brave!), don’t waste time peeling each head by hand. Just crush your garlic as normal and throw it all into a big salad bowl. Then, with another big salad bowl, shake the garlic up for a few seconds, and you should find it’s fully peeled and ready for cooking. Just remember to neutralise that garlic breath after the meal with a glass of milk.
Peel a potato in one step
If you don’t want to sit there peeling countless spuds just to get your mashed potato fix, you can use this simple method for peeling them in seconds. After boiling them, place them in a bowl of ice water for a few seconds. Then, just grab it with both hands, twist and pull apart. The skin should slide right off.
Make quicker, less messy bacon in a waffle maker
A list of kitchen time savers wouldn’t be complete without a bacon hack. Have you ever tried cooking bacon in a waffle maker? Not only does it get you delicious bacon with less effort, but you also don’t have any grease to clean up — because once you’re done, you can use the leftover bacon grease to cook another piece of your breakfast. Mmmm, bacon.
Open a beer bottle with just about anything
Whether you’ve misplaced the bottle opener or you’ve found yourself in a situation where you don’t have one, don’t panic. You can open a beer bottle with just about anything, from a hard countertop to a cigarette lighter to even your forearm. Fast forward to 4:30 in the video to see a few of our favourite methods.
Of course, these are far from the only efficient cooking techniques we’ve shared. But we opted to focus on wow-worthy parlour tricks. That way, even if you aren’t a master chef, you can still impress your friends with your knowledge of strange kitchen time savers. Got any of your own shocking tricks? Put ’em in the comments below.
This article has been updated since its original publish date.