Healthy Lifestyle

10 Time-Saving Kitchen Hacks

pomegranate seeds
True, time in the kitchen can be relaxing and therapeutic — but that doesn’t mean efficiency is a bad thing. There are lots of shortcuts that make cooking a healthy meal quicker and simpler. Here are ten favorite tricks of the trade.

• Pomegranate seeds are like gold — especially if you have to take your time to pick them out individually. Try this instead: Cut the pomegranate in half, and gently loosen it with your hands. Holding the cut side down over a bowl, whack the skin with a spoon. The seeds will pop right out!

• For easy cutting of fruits and vegetables, start by cutting a small piece from one side of the ingredient to form a wide, flat surface. Then use the flat surface to stabilize the produce. The food will be less likely to roll around (and you’ll be less likely to cut yourself).

• Forget chopping ginger. Use a Microplane and grate it instead. The same trick works for garlic.

• Avocados are actually quite simple to cut, if you know this old move: Cut the avocado in half lengthwise. Give it a twist to release the halves. Strike the blade of the knife into the pit. While holding that half, twist the knife to remove the pit. Then use a spoon to easily scoop out the flesh.

• Honey crystallized? Heat it up in a pot of warm water. (Moving forward, store it in a cool place and avoid getting moisture in the container.)

• When cracking eggs: If a piece of shell goes rogue, forget using fingers to fish it out. Use the remaining piece of eggshell, which will attract the broken bits like a magnet.

• Limes can be tricky when it comes to extracting their juice. Try soaking the fruit in warm water or popping it in the microwave for 5 to 10 seconds. (The heat will loosen the juicy bits.) Follow that with a sturdy roll on the counter, and you should have a juicy lime ready to squeeze over your dish.

• When it comes to lemons, avoids the seeds by juicing the fruit in your cupped fingers, which will act like a little colander. The juice will fall between your fingers while the seeds remain in your hand.

• Make tough winter squash easier to peel by roasting it for a few minutes first. This will soften the squash just enough for a knife to easily remove the skin.

• Planning to peel your potatoes? Cook them (even partially) first, dunk them in cold water and then use your hands to gently remove the skin in seconds.

Katie Cavuto Boyle, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian, personal chef and owner of HealthyBites, LLC. See Katie’s full bio »

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