Today, I am happy to share this post from Amy on saving time in the kitchen. I know I will certainly be using a few of these tips. My favorite is clean as you go, I practice that regularly!
Studies show that a person spends an average of 5.5 hours a week in the kitchen, compared to over 20 hours a week in the 1960s. With the advancement of technology and development of new skills, kitchen tasks are now more convenient and manageable. Despite this progress, however, many homemakers find that kitchen work still consumes a lot of their time—what with a full-time job, a family to take care of, and various other chores to do.
Aside from food processors, there are other shortcuts that you can use to make cooking easier and faster. Here are some things you can do to cut down on the time and energy spent in the kitchen:
Prepare vegetables in advance. You can do this on a weekend or on your days off, when you have nothing to do. The trick in keeping vegetables fresh is storing them in dry, airtight containers. Lettuce, for example, has to be dried before storage. Otherwise, it turns into mush. You may also ask help from your kids, but make sure they’re old enough to handle knives and know how to use them safely.
Clean as you go. When preparing a meal, keep a large bowl nearby where you can dump all the vegetable or fruit peelings and other food waste. This lessens the clutter as well as the time spent cleaning up after you’re done.
Keep your knives sharp. Dull knives are dangerous for cooking. Aside from wasting time, they increase the chances of kitchen accidents. Remember to use the proper knife for food items. For instance, a paring knife won’t work well with a squash. Also, using the right kind of chopper will help you get the right cut and size of your tomato wedges and onions.
Keep everything at arm’s length. Proper placement keeps accomplishing tasks easy. Spice racks should be less than a meter away. The kitchen sink should be close to your stove and oven. Potholders and cooking utensils should also be accessible for when you need them.
Avoid clutter when working on a recipe. Gather all the ingredients that the recipe calls for and keep everything else in the cupboard or pantry. For instance, if you only need salt, pepper, and chili powder, then put away all the other spices. This will help lessen distractions.
Cook in bulk. This will save you from the lengthy preparation again. Just pop your dish in the microwave and you have a meal! This works well especially with dishes like soups and stocks.
Hot water is a helper. This is particularly useful after meals. Boil some water and pour it into used pots and pans. This will help remove food remainders stuck in pans or pots. All you have to do is to run water on them, scrub them lightly, and put them in the dishwasher. Another alternative is adding water and letting them boil while you eat.
Nothing beats a home-cooked meal—it bonds the family together and minimizes the costs of eating out. Follow these tips to make tasks more efficient and you’ll have a hearty meal with your loved ones without slaving away at the kitchen all day.
Kristen works as a freelance writer for Backyard Ocean, an online store for above ground swimming pools, inflatable pool toys, and accessories. She loves to cook and no matter how busy her day is, she always finds the time to prepare a meal for her family.