Ashamedly, the never-ending-story lockdown of 2021 finally gave me reason to succumb to TikTok. And, even more ashamedly, I love it.
And while yes, I found myself in a 1am Jennifer Lawrence interview TikTok spiral, I have also discovered some quite useful cooking hacks.
Starting from a culinary base of zero means I am easily impressed, correct, however it is still fairly easy to jettison some of the more useless hacks, even for a… hack… like myself [eg. who bothers removing the core of strawberry? Well, if you do, a straw will apparently do the trick!]
Here are some of the more useful tips and tricks I’ve stumbled upon, given a try, and mastered… to varying degrees of success…
REMOVING The peel from garlic
Garlic is incredible. Fact. On bread, vegetables, in a stir fry, it’s a flavour bomb and worth the accompanying halitosis. AND it also comes with a host of health benefits, including reduced inflammation, lower blood pressure and immunes system support. However peeling garlic is less idilic. The smell gets under your nails, hanging around for days like a, well, bad smell.
Well thanks to my adventures on the ‘Tok, I’m here to tell you, if you lightly microwave your garlic cloves, the skin slips off with just a gentle squeeze. However, peeler beware, with an emphasis on the ‘lightly’. Go too hard, and you have pre-cook garlic, all mushy and gross. Hit 20 seconds to start with, that should do the trick.
Juice a Lemon Without Cutting It
I have a citrus juicer, and even with the aid of that I end up with a sticky bench. There’s the admin of the knife, the chopping board, the juicer and then the ick all over your fingers. Too. Much.
Well apparently you can just skewer the end of the lemon, and squeeze. It seems almost too simple. Well as an addition, and to make the juice flow more easily, ‘tenderise’ the lemon the bench-top before skewering the end. This will loosen the flesh inside, still without cutting into the rind. Zesty.
PERFECT EGG SANDWICH
I had never eaten an egg sandwich, and never had a desire to, before I saw this hack. And it’s probably my favourite of all the hacks I’ve found.
Essentially, you’re toasting your bread while cooking an omelette. Genius, time saving, and down-right logical.
When you inevitably become an egg-sandwich addict, you’ll want to start removing the yolks to avoid surplus calories… enter our next hack.
REMOVE EGG YOLKS WITH A WATER BOTTLE
I’ve know the benefits of egg whites for years, particularly when I’ve been known to have up to 6 eggs per omelette. But to be honest, separating the yolk from the white has always seemed too hard basket. Until now.
In this hack, you crack your eggs into a bowl as per usual, however you can basically hoover up the yolk with an empty plastic water bottle. Squeeze the bottle prior, and the resulting suction will separate the yolk. Sure, some egg white goes up with it, but slowly tip that back in with the rest and the results are eggceptional.
PEEL A MANGO USING A GLASS
As we approach mango season once again, I can already hear a collective f*ck yeah echoing out across our sunburnt land. And whilst I’m not usually one to peel my mango – I’m a noughts and crosses man myself – this does seem like a good way to maximise mango flesh intake.
I’ve seen this trick replicated many times on my TikTok spirals, however I’ve traced the origin back to a pre-Tok era, and it seems one of the first to post it was Aussie supermodel Rachel Finch on Instagram. Or at least, that’s where my tracing ended.
This method involves slicing off a cheek of mangoey goodness and essentially scooping the guts out with a cup, allowing the good stuff to slide right into your vessel. Italian kiss.