Just because you’ve been doing something your whole life doesn’t mean it’s right! So many of us learn to do things when we are young and then we just keep on doing them, whether or not the practice is effective, correct or even smart. With that in mind, here are seven things to stop doing in the kitchen. Because seriously, who knew?
1. Overcrowding the pan
It seems like we are always in a hurry, so in order to maximize our time, we put as much meat in the pan as will fit; however, that’s wrong. Meat needs room to release moisture so that it can properly cook and if it’s touching other meat it can’t do that, so be sure to cook your meat in batches, even if it takes longer.
2. Rinsing pasta after cooking it and adding oil to the water
I don’t know about you, but I was always taught to add oil to my water and rinse my pasta in a colander after I cooked it, but the oil clogs the pores in the pasta which hinders the sauce from sticking to the starch. Then, when you rinse the pasta off, you are actually rinsing off that starch, which I always thought was a good thing, but when it comes down to it, it’s not. The sauce won’t stick to the pasta and the pasta will slip off your fork.
3. Refrigerating foods that don’t need to be refrigerated
Refrigerating foods you don’t need to can actually make them go bad.
Here’s a list of foods that shouldn’t be refrigerated: potatoes, tomatoes, onions, garlic, honey, bread, butter (can be refrigerated if you don’t consume it very quickly), avocados, bananas, oranges, basil, melons, oil and coffee (an airtight container is the key to freshness).
4. Washing with soap and water after cutting garlic or onion
Soap and water is not going to cut it. You need a stainless steel soap bar like the RUB-A-WAY bar, or just to rub your hands on something that’s stainless steel. It’s super odd, but it works.
5. Storing herbs in a bag
Do you store your herbs in the refrigerator in the bag in which they came? I think most of us do. If so, that’s probably why they are dying so quickly. Next time, take the herbs (like mint, rosemary, thyme and sage) out of the plastic bag, trim the ends and then put them in a jar of water — like you would fresh flowers — and leave on the counter. Coriander and parsley can be left in the refrigerator. Just take them out of the bag and wrap in a paper towel.
6. Melting the butter when the recipe calls for softened butter
We all do this, right? Who remembers to have enough butter at room temperature when they need it? So, we pop the butter in the microwave but it’s always for longer than it should be and before we know it, the butter is liquid … oops. Recipes are specific for a reason, though, so an easy way to get butter to room temperature is to use this trick: using a glass drinking cup, microwave water for 1–2 minutes. Dump out the water and then place the glass upside down over the butter than needs to be softened. Let it sit for 10–15 minutes. Remove the glass and the butter should be at room temperature. The warm glass should have done the trick!
7. Boiling when you should be simmering or vice versa
There’s a difference between boiling water and bringing water to a simmer and if you don’t know the difference then you are not alone. Simmering water has almost no bubbles breaking the surface where boiling water has bubbles breaking the surface constantly. How your recipe turns out depending on a simmer or a boil can be drastically different!