Tips & Tricks from the Kitchen Witch

One of my friends recently called me their kitchen witch. They say it’s because I’ve always been able to prevent culinary disasters in their kitchen by answering any cooking question or interpreting any mystery due to a poorly written recipe. And I’m flattered. Really, I am! That I’ve inspired productivity, confidence, and safety in their kitchen makes me feel like their good luck charm. And in turn, they’ve inspired me to finally begin writing this new column that I’ve meant to start for quite some time. I’ve named it Tips & Tricks from the Kitchen Witch, which will occasionally appear between videos and recipes. Let me explain.

If you’ve ever tuned in to one of my videos, you know how much I love giving my viewers tips and tricks to make life in the kitchen easier. This could include anything from a great new product, or an everyday item put to a new use or a suggestion that simplifies annoying kitchen tasks. I don’t have any strange abilities or psychic powers; these ideas just come to me since I’m usually the one on kitchen duty regardless of being in a professional kitchen and most certainly my home kitchen.

So, without further delay (drumroll), I’ll begin with what I’ve been collecting to date.

Scrub Daddy

Scrub Daddy. Priced at $3.99.

Safely cleans just about anything from non-stick pans, skillets, saucepans, and stainless-steel surfaces, and glassware. The eyes provide a place to put your fingers for a better grip while the smile cleans both sides of utensils simultaneously. Does double duty as a vegetable scrubber (potatoes, carrots, beets). Soak in warm water if you need a soft scrubber, or cool water if you need a firmer scrubber. You can even use this scrubber as a skin exfoliator (yes, that’s right). Just be sure your “daddy” is soaked in hot water long enough to soften before gently using with your favorite body soap. Toss into the dishwasher for easy cleanup.

Blue Apples

Bluapple. Priced at $9.99.

These cute little blue apples contain carbon packets that neutralize ethylene gas emitted by produce. Just toss one into your crisper drawer or your countertop fruit bowl to enjoy fruits and vegetables for up to twice as long.

grapefruit spoons

Grapefruit Spoons. Set of 4 priced at $4.99.

An oldie, but a goodie! Use the serrated edges to scrape the skin from ginger, seed peppers, squash, tomatoes, cucumbers. Works well on grapefruit, too!

Squeeze Bottles. Set of 6-8 oz. bottles priced at $9.99.

Multipurpose BPA-free, leak-proof plastic squeeze bottles help you neatly store and use just about any condiment. Fill with oils, sauces, syrups, dressings, and vinegars. Control the quantity used with just a squeeze. Adjust the size of the opening with the snip of a scissor. Toss into the top rack of the dishwasher for easy cleanup.

Bar Keepers Friend. 21 oz. priced at $2.99.

One of the most versatile cleaning products on the market today. Made with oxalic acid, also found in small quantities in veggies such as broccoli, cucumbers, spinach, and potatoes. Cleans just about anything from cookware, stovetops, ovens, sinks, tubs, showers, faucets, tile, and grout. This amazing powder removes rust from ceramic, polishes tarnished copper and brass.

Evendough Bands. Priced at $7.99.

Love to bake cookies and pies but can’t roll the dough evenly? Now you can with Evendough Bands. Simply select a set of bands according to the dough thickness required (there are four different sizes included in each pack). Slip the bands onto each end of your rolling pin to roll an even thickness of dough to achieve evenly baked goods every time.

Chopsticks. Free with your next take-out order.

The most affordable tool of all! Use them as popsicle sticks, skewers, drink stirrers, to spike up orchids and seedlings, to level off dry ingredients in measuring cups, to clean hard-to-reach places, as a cherry pitter, for kindling in a fireplace, to unclog bottle tips and funnels. The list goes on and on. Keep a pair handy, and you’re sure to find different uses for them.

–Chef Diana

Giving credit where credit is due, the beautiful photograph in the header appears courtesy of Clem Onojeghuo.

*Please note that the opinions above are entirely mine and that I have not been compensated for any products reviewed.

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