Tricks And Treats For Tackling Kitchen Tasks


Most of us never get a crash course in how to cook or find our way around the kitchen. We learn from others: friends, parents, cooking shows, or cookbooks. Even if you do know your way around a kitchen, odds are you’ve come across a problem or two that you just didn’t know how to tackle. Here are some tips to keep you in the clear in your kitchen.




How to Properly Dispose of Frying or Cooking Oil 

Frying can produce a lot of leftover oil. If you’re frying something particularly flavorful, like bacon, that oil can come in handy later. Just wait for it to cool, pour it off into a container, and save it to pop popcorn, cook eggs, or use anywhere else bacony goodness is called for. However, if you’re cooking something that just leaves oil you don’t want, don’t pour it down the sink. It can harden and clog your pipes and do serious damage to your plumbing and the surrounding water system Instead, grab a couple of plastic bags, put one inside the other, and pour the (cooled!) leftover oil into the interior bag. Tie them both shut, and toss them in the rubbish.



How to Peel Peaches, Nectarines, or Tomatoes

Stone fruit like peaches, tomatoes, or any fruit with thin skin and delicate flesh can be tricky to peel. The flesh bruises easily if you just take a knife to it and the techniques offered are quite different from one another. Instead, try blanching them to loosen the skin. Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil and cut an X in the bottom of each peach or tomato. Lower it into the water, and let it sit there for about 30 seconds to two minutes. Remove the fruit and immediately drop them into an ice bath. When cooled, take your paring knife again and pull the skin away from the flesh. Not too many recipes call for peeled peaches or tomatoes, but when you stumble into one, you’ll be glad you know how to do it.



How to Clean Your  Dishwasher and Washing Machine

Most people don’t think about cleaning their washer or dishwasher, because they use them to clean other things. We assume as they clean other things, they will clean themselves!

For your dishwasher: Regular use should keep your dishwasher pretty clean, but with age it may wind up collecting hard water stains or scale or other mildew buildup. Remove the racks then run the dishwasher empty, on a hot water cycle. Sprinkle baking soda around the bottom of the dishwasher, and leave a cup of vinegar on the top rack.



For your washing machine: Run your washing machine empty, with hot water. Add some baking soda and vinegar to the wash cycle, but don’t forget to clean the fabric softener well, or any other crevices or parts of the machine not normally touched by the hot water. An old toothbrush works well for this.

You don’t have to clean these appliances terribly often. Every few months or a year should be enough. Make them part of your spring cleaning regimen, or do it now if you’ve never done it before.

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