How to sharpen knives with a coffee mug, and 10 other kitchen hacks you should know

These cooking tips and tricks may not turn you into a gourmet chef, but they will save you time, money, and, in some cases, embarrassment. 

1. Invest in a proper knife.

A quality knife stays sharper longer, cuts better, and helps you save you money because it lasts forever. It’s considered an investment for a reason.

2. Sharpen knives with a ceramic mug in a pinch.

Stroke the blade against the exposed, unpolished ceramic bottom and voilà, your former dull knife is ready for action. (But, at some point, you definitely want to get a real sharpener. A decent one can be had for about $US15.)

3. Devour chicken wings the correct way.

Those two little bones cause so many issues, which is why we’re thankful for this blogger. Watch how to remove the bones so you can enjoy the wing in its entirety without sacrificing precious meat. 

4. Use your thumb to see if your steak is cooked to perfection.

Old Homestead Steakhouse co-owner Greg Sherry shared a tip with us: Put your index finger and thumb together and feel the fleshy part of your hand below your thumb — that’s what rare meat feels like. Do the same thing with your ring finger and thumb — that’s medium. The pinky finger and thumb is well-done. 

5. Evenly roast veggies and fries without flipping them.

Simply pre-heat the cookie sheet or pan before you start roasting. Since the surface will already by hot, you won’t have to worry about the mid-roast flip.  

6. Chill a glass of wine quickly with a handful of frozen fruit.

Putting ice in your wine isn’t the end of the world — but it is frowned upon. A better, judgement-free alternative to ice is frozen grapes or berries, which can be plopped into wine or cocktails for an instant chill. 

Frozen grapesFlicker/kendialaFrozen fruit keeps drinks chilled without diluting the alcohol.

7. Grill fish on a bed of sliced lemons to avoid sticking.

Line your grill with sliced lemons and place the fish on top. This prevents it from falling apart and sticking to the grill while adding a slight citrus flavour. 

8. Bring flat Champagne back to life with a raisin.

No, we’re not joking. Restore a flat bottle of sparkling wine or Champagne by adding one or two raisins to the bottle. According to Country Living, the dried fruit’s natural sugars are the miracle workers. 

9. Clean and disinfect your grill with an onion.

Heat up your grill, cut an onion in half, and start rubbing down the grates. This will clean your grill and impart a savoury aroma before you even start cooking. 

10. Juice a lemon with tongs. 

No juicer? No problem. Cut a lemon in half and push the end of a pair of tongs into the flat, flesh-side of the lemon. Simply twist the lemon around the tongs until all of the juice is expressed. 

11. Cut soft foods with unscented dental floss. 

For times when you need to slice a cake or soft cheese, grab some dental floss. Pull the two ends taught and use it like you would a knife.

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