Monday, 18 June 2012

Tips for the Kitchen

18 Easy Organizing Tips For The Kitchen
Keeping Kitchen Gadgets & Supplies Organized Helps Save Time & Effort
Keeping Kitchen Gadgets & Supplies Organized Helps Save Time & Effort
  1. Keeping lids for pots and pans organized and contained can be tricky…try spring-tension curtain rods in drawers or small cabinets to keep them upright. Another idea is to use a dish rack fitted to a cupboard shelf, you can slide it in and out as needed.
  2. Keep plastic bags in empty paper towel tubes, hanging bag holders or even fold them so they take up less room yet still easy to grab and go.
  3. Use a large crock or container to hold your most used kitchen utensils and set it on the counter for easy access (wooden spoons, spatulas, large soup ladles, etc.). Also helps to keep the large utensils drawer better organized since less is packed inside (use dividers or shallow baskets in these drawers, helps keeps things better sorted). You could also hang a hanging wall basket to stash lightweight larger items.
  4. Store a hand mixer, its beaters and attachments into a basket before tucking away into a drawer or cupboard. No more fussing with wrapping cords, digging around for the attachments you need–everything’s neatly contained in the basket. You can use this idea for organizing all kinds of small appliances and their attachments (electric knives, food choppers, small electric juicers, etc.). (hat tip Marilyn Bohn).
  5. Spices can take up a lot of precious pantry or kitchen cupboard space–get them off the shelf and up on the wall. Mount a spice rack inside the pantry on a wall or hang a narrow basket shelf inside the pantry door (not over the stove, heat degrades the quality of stored herbs and spices).
  6. Keep your pantry well stocked and organized and you’ll find it saves you time, money and effort. See Organized Pantry: Beginner Guide to Pantry Pride for tips and information. You can use Fabric Totes, plastic bins, big glass jars as organizers. Also see Martha Stewart’s list of How To Stock Home Essentials.
  7. Consider storing measuring cups right in the bins along with the sugar, flour, etc. If you have big pantry bins, consider storing the flour sifter right in with the flour too. Great trick and you’ll never be digging for lost measuring cups again!
  8. Use shallow tubs and boxes to store like items in the refrigerator (hat tip Susiej). When you need something, just pull out the tub and grab what you need (condiments box for mustard, etc.). No more digging through the fridge trying to find that elusive jar of mustard!
  9. Keep pouches of dry soup mixes, seasonings, etc., in small plastic bins (empty margarine containers work great) or baskets…this keeps them neatly contained in one place, store in the pantry or cupboard.
  10. Insert kitchen reference charts and favorite recipes in clear plastic sleeves then hang on the inside of kitchen cupboard doors for easy access. They can easily be wiped clean and you’ll have often referenced info right at your fingertips (Kitchen Printables: Kitchen Measurements Equivalent Conversion Chart, Recipe Ingredient Substitutions & Equivalents Chart (found at bottom of page) and 34 Handy Kitchen Measurement Hacks & Tidbits).
  11. Pack lids for plastic containers or Tupperware in a clear plastic tub or large ziploc bags, you’ll be able to see easily just where the lid you need is. Keeps them contained instead of rampaging foot loose and fancy free through your cupboards.
  12. You can get the knife block off the counter by installing a magnetic bar along a back counter wall–will hold your knives securely. You could also install a magnetic bar on the wall of your pantry to hold small tools you like to keep close at hand (screwdriver, pliers, etc.) or make a hanging tool organizer.
  13. Plastic lazy susans are a great organizing tool in the pantry or small kitchen cupboard. Store like things together and you’ll know just where to grab what you need.
  14. Use cup hooks: Affix to the inside of cupboard doors and on pantry walls. They’ll hold things like measuring spoons, large bbq & kitchen utensils (with straps or holes for hanging), potholders, etc.
  15. Use small ziploc bags to hold small like-items together (like twisty ties, corn cob holders, etc.) then store all the bags together in a small plastic basket or tub.
  16. Utilize the space underneath hanging cupboards, you can install a paper towel holder, plastic wrap holder, knife holders, etc.
  17. Use charts or magnets for tracking food items in the freezer…you’ll be able to keep on top of what foods need to be eaten soon (less to throw out).
  18. A bamboo steamer makes a great countertop food organizer, it can hold bulbs of garlic, onions, shallots, and other items that don’t require refrigeration and need ventilation.
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7 Ways To Loosen A Jar Lid That’s Stuck Tight

Most times we can open jars of food with little to no problem, a bit of pressure is applied as we’re twisting and then “pop”, the seal is broken and the lid comes off with ease. Occasionally though it just won’t budge, even after bringing some serious muscle power to the job…so how does one remove them?
Here are a few different ways you can conquer the problem:
A Rubber Glove Will Give You Extra Gripping Power
A Rubber Glove Will Give You Extra Gripping Power
  1. Take a butter knife and give the lid a few good wacks along the top edge (turning the jar incrementally while you hit it), this should help break the seal and make the lid come off easily. Use the smooth edge of the knife (or the handle) against the lid and you’ll need to whack it (not light taps), but not so hard you shatter the glass. This is the method my grandmother taught me as I was growing up and it’s my “go-to” fix when problems arise, I’d say it has a 99% success rate.
  2. Put on rubber or latex gloves so you can grip really well when twisting.
  3. Lightly moisten a dishcloth or towel and use that to grab hold of the lid and twist, this also gives you more gripping power.
  4. Try breaking the seal by running the jar under hot water for up to a minute (tilt jar down so the water can reach the underside of the lid). Giving the lid a few wacks with a butter knife while doing this can also help speed up the process. You can also put the jar upside down in a bowl of hot water (just an inch or so deep to cover the lid edge) and leaving for up to a minute before trying again.
  5. Rubber bands will do the trick too! You’ll need a wide one to place around the lid edge then grab hold of it to squeeze and twist. Not working? Try another wide rubber band, this time placing around the glass jar so you have two firm places for gripping.
  6. Keep a square of rubberized non-slip drawer and shelf liner in with your kitchen gadgets, this can also be used to give you more gripping power (drape over jar before twisting off lid).
  7. Try breaking the seal by giving the bottom of the jar a good wack with the heel of your open hand. You may need to do this a couple times. You could also wack the bottom on the countertop (cover with a towel first to prevent damaging the surface), do so with enough force to break the seal without shattering the glass.
If the jar has been opened previously and the air-tight seal isn’t the problem, it’s likely stuck because syrup or sauce has crusted underneath the lid and around the glass rim. To fix this, a hot water soak should do the trick (as mentioned above) since it will help soften the crusted goo. You may also need something for extra grip when twisting (such as a rubber glove, elastic band, etc.). To prevent this problem in the future, wipe rim with a clean damp cloth before sealing.

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