Ice Cubes in Your Soup- and Other Helpful Hints

Ice Cubes in Soup Stock

So why are there ice cubes in my soup? Well, not in my soup, but rather in my pot of soup stock. This is an old trick of my Grandmother’s. When you make a pot of soup stock, there is often quite a bit of fat on top. If you have the time, you can just chill the soup and remove the fat later. But what if you want to use the stock right away, when it is still pretty hot? If there is a lot of fat you can skim some off with a spoon. Then just drop in a tray of ice cubes. Bob them gently on the surface with a slotted spoon. The fat will freeze around the ice cubes. Work fast so they don’t melt. After the cubes are coated with fat just lift them out with the slotted spoon. You won’t dilute the soup- you’ll only add a couple of ounces of water, if that.

Over the years, I have collected some really good tips for around the kitchen- and around the house. I thought I might share some of these tips with you today.

When is the oil hot enough? You’re wanting to fry something and you aren’t sure the oil is hot enough. Low-tech solution- just put a single kernel of un-popped popcorn in the pan with the oil. It will pop when the oil reaches 350 degrees.

How do I get all the food out of my food processor? It’s very frustrating to make something in the food processor and then try to navigate around the blade to get it all out. I am sure I am not the only person who has cut a rubber scraper on that sharp blade. The easy solution- scrape out what you can easily- leaving anything on the blade behind. Then turn the processor back on. Since it is nearly empty the remaining food will go to the outside of the work bowl- leaving the blade clean. Just remove the blade and finish scraping out the bowl.

How do I clean the flour off the work surface after making bread?  I love baking bread. My father was a baker and he taught me a little trick. Using hot water will cook the flour- causing it to get thicker and stickier. first scrape off any loose flour. Then clean counter tops with cold water. It will dissolve the flour without making it sticky. Use cold water to clean out bowls, too. Once the flour is gone you can wash with warm, soapy water. This also works when cutting raw meats on a cutting board. If you start washing the surface with hot water, you cook the meat and it sticks. Better to do a cold water rinse first, to remove any residue, then follow up with a hot, soapy wash.

How can I peel garlic faster? This is really fun. Just break apart a head of garlic into individual cloves. Place them in a bowl. Get another bowl that is the same size and turn it over on top of the bowl with the garlic, like a dome.  I like to use bowls with a nice edge on them- makes it easier to hold. Grab the bowls and shake them really hard for 10 seconds., When you take off the top bowl you will have a bowl full of peeled garlic cloves! You can do this in a jar, too. Just make sure it has a tight fitting lid.

How do I get honey and other sticky foods out of a measuring cup?  The easiest way I know is to spray the measuring cup with non-stick spray before adding the honey, molasses or other thick liquid. It will pour out quite easily. You can also add a little oil instead or coat the measuring cup with butter or margarine.

Fruit flies are around my kitchen- how do I get rid of them? Fruit flies are more common in warm weather but can show up any time of the year. Just take a jar or glass and pour in a little apple cider vinegar. Add a drop of dish washing liquid then cover the glass with plastic wrap. Poke a few holes in the wrap with a pencil and set on a kitchen counter- closest to where you are seeing the fruit flies. They will fly into the jar- but can’t find their way out. The detergent removes the surface tension of the vinegar so if they land on it, they will sink.

How do you get the rest of the spaghetti sauce out of the jar? My niece Sarah, also shared a good tip. When using a jar of pasta sauce, use wine to rinse out what is left in the jar. That way the wine adds extra flavor to the dish. I love this tip- I normally use water. Thanks, Sarah.

How do I make my salad greens crisper? For crisper salad greens, wash them and spin dry several hours before using. Keep in the fridge until ready to use and they will crisp up nicely. If you don’t have a salad spinner, shake off as much water as you can before storing in the fridge.

How can I keep my salad green from getting rotten? Speaking of storing leafy greens, have you ever tried storing them in a fabric bag? Plastic does not allow air in, and can cause the greens to spoil more quickly. You can purchase, or even make a fabric bag. Linen and muslin both work well. Just place washed greens in the bag and store in the fridge. They stay fresh so much longer.

My drain is running slow. How can I fix it? An easy fix is to use baking soda and vinegar. Just pour some baking soda in the drain- a few tablespoons should be fine. Then pour a cup of vinegar in. It will bubble like crazy. Let it alone for 30 minutes, then flush the drain with hot water. It really helps drains to drain faster.

How can I keep fruit juices from getting all over when I cut up large fruits, like melons or pineapples?   When you cut up a pineapple, melon or other juicy fruits do you get annoyed at juices dripping everywhere? Simple solution: Place your cutting board in a jelly roll pan. That way drips are contained and clean-up is so much easier.

How can I keep my linen closet more organized? I know how annoying it is when changing sheets to find the whole sheet set. There always seems to be one pillowcase missing. One easy solution is to use one pillowcase to hold the whole set of sheets. When you wash your sheets and are getting ready to put them away- fold the top and fitted sheets and one of the pillowcases. Take the sheets and folded pillowcase and put them inside the unfolded pillowcase. Now, when you are ready to change the sheets, the whole set will be together.




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