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14 Helpful Kitchen Tips That'll Help You Save Money

Edited By: Natalie Smith

 In recent years, the art of cooking and baking has become a form of therapy and passion among many people. However, the desire to use the freshest raw materials and to create excellent foods just like professionals is causing them to unnecessarily buy products and waste money only to end up with meals being thrown in the trash. To prevent this and to cook just like real chefs, we’ve compiled for you 14 of the most useful kitchen tips to help you save on expenses.

1. Dry the food before roasting for a perfect color

Have you ever try to pan sear a piece of steak or chicken hoping for that golden brown hue only to end up with a rubbery piece of grey meat? To get the taste and texture you want, just as is served in restaurants, you need to dry the meat with a paper towel just before searing it on a hot frying pan. To learn more about getting the perfect sear, click here
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2. The secret to making a creamy smooth sauce

When cooking a sauce that contains vegetables, herbs, etc., there is often a desire to reach a velvety creamy texture. Many tips suggest lending the ingredients together in a food processor, however, this may not always work completely. In order to reach the desired texture, it’s recommended to pass the sauce through a sieve after blending it. Doing so will ensure the removal of any small and undetectable pieces ruining the texture and finish of your meal.

3. Use broccoli stems

Broccoli is a vegetable that has recently been used extensively in both industrial kitchens and home kitchens, but many of us only eat its green blooms, while the stems are thrown into the trash. Instead of throwing these stalks out, you can cut them into thin slices or strips and use them to make a healthy nutritious salad or add them into a vegetable broth.

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4. Using food scraps

The use of food scraps is one of the most well-known ways to make stocks and broths that serve as a basis for various foods or to add flavor to certain foods. It is important to note that we don’t mean leftover food from people plates, rather the vegetable peels, beef and chicken bones, and skin, or even fish head. All you have to do is put the leftovers in a sandwich bag or any other sealed bag and put it in the freezer; When you want to make a stock or dishes that require vegetables and herbs, you can take the bag out of the freezer and use its contents. (Note: It isn’t recommended to put vegetables in the same bag as fish, poultry or beef).

5. Revitalize old nuts and seeds

You've probably bought nuts, almonds, sesame seeds, or even whole grains and forgotten them in the pantry for a few days or weeks, and when you went to enjoy themselves, you found them to be no longer fresh. Usually, the initial instinct is to throw the product in the trash, because there’s no way to bring back their freshness. Or is there? It turns out that there is an easy and brilliant solution that not only brings back freshness but also improves the taste of nuts and seeds. 

How do you do this?

  • Gently moisten the nuts or seeds with tap water.
  • Soak the liquid up with a towel and roast them in a skillet over medium heat for 2-4 minutes while stirring until they completely dry. Alternatively, you can place them in an oven preheated to 300 °F (150 °C) for the same amount of time.
  • When done, taste one or two. If they are still slightly damp, continue roasting them.
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6. Make banana-flavored cream

If you like bananas and wanted to make a banana flavored drink or cream flavored from natural ingredients only, you can do so easily without using the fruit itself. All you have to do is place a banana peel in a bowl, pour 2 cups milk or cream into it and leave it in the refrigerator overnight. The next day you can use the milk in a shake, drink it as it is, or whip the cream and get the same great banana taste you’d get if you were using the actual fruit!

7. Don’t swap out ingredients in baking recipes

This tip may sound a bit illogical because most of us like to swap out ingredients in our recipes to add a "personal touch" as they say in various cooking programs. But you should know that baking requires almost scientific accuracy, so if you’re going to make a pastry or any other dish for the first time, it’s highly recommended to do everything as instructed in the recipe so that you get a sense of what the final product should look, feel, taste and smell like. Only after trying the recipe for the first time will you be able to change, add or subtract as many ingredients as you like, and of course, do so logically.

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8. Never try to catch or stop a falling knife

Knives in general, but mostly chef knives or professional knives purchased in specialized stores, are known as expensive products, and the desire to maintain this important tool sometimes causes people to try to protect it at any cost, even if it’s dangerous. For example, if a knife falls to the floor, the first impulse of many is to try to catch it with their hands or - but this is something you definitely shouldn’t do because the only thing worse than a bent knife is a stabbed limb! Instead, step back, let the knife fall, and just pick it up off the ground. 

9. Create a stock of orange or lemon zest

It’s known that citrus fruits are a great flavor addition to pastries, whipped cream, and many dishes, but because they are seasonal, they aren’t found on store shelves all year long. Therefore, if you’re using orange or lemon or any other citrus, you can prepare a stock of these ingredients at any time and use it whenever you wish. To do this, keep the citrus peel - place it on a tray and dry it for several days or in the oven at 225°F (110°C) for 3-4 hours. Once the skin is completely dry, transfer it to a food processor and blend until you reach the right consistency. Put in a sealed box and keep in the freezer until use.

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10. Flavor your vinegar

If you don’t really like vinegar in your food, it may be because you’re not a fan of the taste – but have you ever thought of flavoring it yourself? Curious? Great! All you need to make your vinegar taste better are leftovers fruit or herbs. Place these scraps into the bottle of vinegar and let sit overnight. The result will be so surprising that you’ll want to season almost every food with it, even your cocktails!

11. Surprising ingredients for hummus

Beetroot is used for a wide variety of dishes in different kitchens and ethnicities, however, beetroot stalks are hard and colorless and are therefore usually thrown out unused. If you use beetroot leaves and are left with unused stalks, know that you can now make a delicious, wonderful, and creamy, hummus-like dip using the following recipe:

  • Cook 1 kg of beet stems in water for 20 minutes until tender.
  • Then, transfer them to a food processor and place one clove of garlic, ¼  cup raw tahini, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, ¼ cup olive oil, and ½ a teaspoon salt.
  • Blend everything together into a uniform paste and eat or refrigerate for up to 3 days.

It might not technically be hummus, but it's a lot healthier and certainly delicious.

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12. Turn vegetable peels into a snack

Although most of us know that all the vitamins are in the vegetable peels, some still peel their vegetables and throw the scraps into the garbage. In order to avoid waste and to enjoy all the good these peels have to offer, you can do other things besides the tip mentioned in section 4; For example, you can use the peels from veggies like sweet potato, potato, zucchini, carrots and more to prepare delicious and wonderful healthy snacks, just pot them in the oven or fry them (like you would French fries) and Voila!

13. Make celery salt

With all the recent warnings about sea salt and studies showing a link between consumption and cardiovascular disease, many people have sought healthy substitutes and found that celery salt is one of the best salts available today. The use of this spice has become particularly popular, not only among vegans but also among many who want to reduce sodium intake. To obtain celery salt, buy a ready-made product at nature stores or alternatively make it at home:

  • Wash and dry celery stalks without the leaves.
  • Place the dried stalks on a baking sheet and dry in an oven heated to 250°F (130°C) for about 20 minutes or until they are completely dry.
  • After drying, place the stalks in a spice mill and grind well.
  • Transfer the contents to a jar and store in the refrigerator.
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14. Stop stirring food all the time

If you watch people while they’re cooking, you’ll often see them standing in front of the stove constantly stirring the contents of the skillet or pan for fear that the food will burn. However, there is no need to mix food all the time, and this only delays the cooking time and prevents the ingredients from turning the golden or seared color we’re often looking to achieve. It is important to note that this tip depends on the recipe because some foods do require constant mixing or stirring, so read the recipe well and pay attention to this detail.
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