Surprising Solutions to Common Kitchen Queries
When it comes to cooking there are all sorts of questions that we all have our own answers to. What’s the best way to find healthy recipes? How do you achieve crispy turkey skin? There are all sorts of helpful kitchen tips out there, but some problems are harder than others, and require a bit of outside of the box thinking. That's what this article's about, taking you through some of trickiest kitchen questions and showing you some unorthodox but effective answers. So this is the place to be if you've ever wondered:
How do you make sure your oil is hot enough? With a grain of rice!
Lots of the recipes on this site require you to heat your oil before adding the ingredients, but how much should you heat it? If you don’t heat it enough your food can end up damp and greasy, but at the same time you don’t want to risk burning it.

For most dishes you ideally want to get the oil to 360 degrees before you start cooking with it, but measuring the temperature of hot oil is no mean feat. That’s where this surprising and useful tip comes in, and all you need is a grain of rice.

All you need to do is drop a grain of rice into the oil. If the rice jumps straight back up and begins to cook, the oil is ready to go!
Is there any way to make food less salty if you accidentally add too much? Use a potato!
Getting the seasoning just right in a dish can be a real challenge. If you don’t add enough it might as well not be there. If you add too much then that’s all you can taste. Even the best chefs will occasionally tip just a bit too much into the dish, and once it’s in there it can seem like your cooking is ruined.

There are a few obvious tricks you can use here. With spaghetti you can just add more water to dilute the salt, and likewise if you’re willing to up the portions, adding more ingredients can dilute the salty taste, but if you’re mixing a sauce and you’re out of ingredients, or don’t want to end up with way too much sauce, it looks like your doomed.

Unless you add a slice of raw potato to the mix! Believe it or not a slice of raw potato added to a sauce while it’s cooking will draw in the salty liquid. You might want to add a bit more liquid to stop the dish drying out, but on the whole this is a fool proof trick.
How do you stop garlic from getting tacky while chopping? Add salt!
Garlic can be one of the ingredients that's harder to prepare at the best of times. It normally needs chopping very finely, and isn't that big in the first place, so it doesn't hurt that garlic has a tendency to get sticky while you’re working on it.

But by sprinkling a little salt onto the cutting board it can help stop the garlic sticking to your knife while you work. This results in a much more even, finer dice that takes less effort. Some chefs will even argue that the salt helps absorb oils from the garlic, resulting in a much sharper flavour when you’re done.

This is especially useful when you’re preparing a garlic paste or when the recipe requires the garlic to be really finely diced. The sort of salt you use won’t really make much difference, although sea or kosher salt will probably give you the best results.
How do I get the lids off really stiff jars? With elastic bands!
For many of us our favourite solution to this problem is to find someone with stronger hands, then claim you loosened it for them once the lid is off. However, sometimes a strong pair of hands just isn't to be found, and in those situations a bit of imagination is called for.

This is where the elastic band comes in. Simply wrap it round the lid several times to give you a better grip. It works best on small lids, but can be effective on larger lids as well. Try to find thicker elastic bands rather than thinner ones, as these will be much more effective and you’ll need fewer of them to get a good grip.


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Surprising Solutions to Common Kitchen Queries