Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
9 Jul

13 Simple, Timeless Kitchen Hacks (Banish Tears, Cuts, Burns, Smells & Stains!)

If you can boil, you can hack.

1. Finally, a use for old potatoes: if you have added too much salt to a recipe, toss in a peeled potato while your dish is still cooking to prevent your tongue from shriveling up like a slug upon first bite. (Just don’t use taters that have any green tint creeping into the flesh. That’s a sure sign of the toxin solanine. Generally, solanine will not hurt you in small quantities, but just to be safe, avoid the kryptonite-hued spuds.)

2. Did you burn your finger? Immediately rub the singed spot with spicy mustard to draw out the pain. Bonus: this is a lickable solution.

3. Leftover wine? Pour the remains of the bottle into an ice cube tray, freeze, and store for future use in your drunk marinara. (Leftover wine = good problem.)

4. To remove the smell of garlic and onions from your fingers, simply run your digits along a stainless steel blade. Carefully! This won’t work for your mouth.

5. To keep sliced apples and avocados from browning, drizzle with lemon or lime juice.

6. Did you catch one of those invisible hair-like splinters that rivals a paper cut for the Most Annoying Pain Possible award? Simply press a strip of tape gently to your skin. This works far better than scraping away at your skin with fingernails or tweezers.

7. Don’t hatch your batch. To prevent cracked shells when making boiled eggs, simply add a pinch of salt to the water.

8. Keep tomatoes and citrus fruits like lemons far from the refrigerator for the nicest fragrance, juiciest results, and truest flavor (we’re horrifying grammar teachers everywhere, as we speak. Write. Read. Surf. Arrrgh!!!). Oh: nestled in a bowl in the sun is best.

9. To clean those ever-impossible crevices in vases and pitchers, just drop in two Alka-Seltzer tablets, fill the item with water, and wait.

10. To prevent your eyeballs from putting on a miniature waterworks show when you are cutting up onions or shallots, simply press your tongue to the roof of your open mouth (and do not breathe through your nose).

11. Rather than taking harsh detergents to your pots and pans, scrub them clean with a dry paper towel and coarse salt. This is invaluable for cast-iron cookware.

12. To remove those fossilized food splatters in the microwave, place a water-soaked sponge inside and “cook” on high for two minutes. Leave the microwave door closed for another five minutes (you don’t want to scald yourself). The steam will loosen up the food and you can easily wipe it all off without the use of chemical cleaners.

13. Fix a finger nick with clear nail polish (wait for the bleeding to stop, silly). The polish will s-t-i-n-g momentarily, but you’ll have a waterproof, instant bandage that won’t get in the way of your slicing and dicing…food, this time.

What handy tips do you recommend? Speak up, baby!

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Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. The whole “no crying while cutting onions thing” isn’t true. The reason you cry when you cut onions is because onions contain a high amount of sulfur. When that sulfur reaches the air, it travels up to your eyes and reacts with the already-existing water, creating sulfuric acid. Your eyes well up to try and flush out the acid.

    That’s probably one of the few things I remember from organic chemistry in high school, but at least it’s useful.

    Alex wrote on July 27th, 2007
    • I have soggy asparagus in the fridge can I still cook it or will it poison me

      Ozzie wrote on October 12th, 2011
  2. More to the point, that area with the high sulfur content on an onion comes in the form of the thin clear membrane that surrounds the first layer of the onion. For that reason, I always try to get rid of that first layer and because of it, I rarely tear up when handling onions.


    Nicole wrote on July 27th, 2007
  3. You won’t cry if the onion juice can’t get into your eyes. Work in a draft / with a fan / by window / near exhaust fan,,,or in worse case put on goggles,wrap head with plastic wrap poking a hole in wrap to breath through. So if you have to do 10-50lb bags so be it.


    Sea-Chef-Bob wrote on July 27th, 2007
  4. Great info about the sulfur. (Which, by the way, is good for your joints/inflammation.)

    Sara wrote on July 27th, 2007
  5. Now, I had learned that a sliced onion actually released hydrogen chloride, which is a gas until it comes into contact with moisture (such as in your eyes or nose), at which point it reacts to form a dilute hydrochloric acid solution. This is, or course, nitpicking, because the solution to the problem is the same no matter which particular acid you’re dealing with. Peel the onion, slice it to the center, then run it under water. Whichever gas is present then forms whatever water-soluble acid it is wont to form, and said acid is then washed down the drain before it can invade your eyeballs.

    Steve wrote on July 28th, 2007
  6. Also, the tongue trick could work by causing most of the acid to form harmlessly on the bottom of your tongue instead of in your nose and eyes. However, it doesn’t seem like it would be particularly effective.

    Steve wrote on July 28th, 2007
  7. If you soak the sponge with white vinegar instead of water when you’re cleaning your microwave, you’ll loosen the stuff faster and sanitize and deodorize at the same time.

    Sherri wrote on August 9th, 2007
  8. You can use a stainless steel SPOON and avoid any possible injury! (Rinsing your hands with white vinegar seems to work to eliminate the garlic/onion smell, too.)

    Sherri wrote on August 9th, 2007
  9. Have y’all discovered microfiber cleaning cloths for cleaning everything? They are amazing! especially on glass.

    Sherri wrote on August 9th, 2007
  10. The very best green cleaning product I have ever found is Orange TKO! You can clean and deodorize everything (you have to be careful with plastic) with very little product. It’s especially good on stainless steel, laminate (gets the stains out), and kills mold and fungus in the bathroom. You can use it as a laundry additive (infact, you can make your own really cheap laundry detergent with TKO and baking soda and/or borax. (It smells really good, too!)

    Sherri wrote on August 9th, 2007
  11. The onion – the stinging stuff (whatever its chemical makeup) is in the root ball of the onion. Don’t cut into it. Either cut out a cone shape (with the widest part around the root end of the onion)and remove the root ball or cut around it, but don’t cut into it, that’s where the sting comes from.

    Works every time! I’ve been astonished and no more onion tears!

    crazy cat lady wrote on August 17th, 2007
    • Just put a tooth pick in your mouth or don’t breath through your nose the fumes from the onion go through your ole factory making your eyes water and please don’t rub your eyes IT WILL BURN!

      Ozzie wrote on October 12th, 2011
  12. This was the best post!! I did not know the first one and thank you for posting it. I just bought a bag of potatoes that have greenish hue!!! out they go.

    jennifer wrote on September 3rd, 2007
  13. I burn a tea light while chopping onions and I also take off the top layer if they’re not very new onions.

    Lemon juice and salt work great on brass.
    Toothpaste works great on silver.

    Baking soda with vinegar can clean almost anything!

    I like cleaning the microwave with vinegar too and I like cleaning the fridge with it because at least if I miss some, there’s nothing toxic in my frige. Great deodorizer!

    dana wrote on March 4th, 2008
  14. These are just some of the best tips that I ever encountered in my whole entire life. I particularly loved crazy cat lady’s comment. she sounds very intelligent.

    Lauren wrote on October 29th, 2008
  15. If you have an open flame near where you are cutting (a decent sized one – not a stove burner) it will keep you from tearing.

    Seth wrote on March 28th, 2010
  16. I do the microwave cleaning all the time. I like to use vinegar. To keep your avocado from turning brown leave the seed in the part you don’t use or put it in the guacamole.

    Liz wrote on June 15th, 2010
  17. As far as I know, a fool proof solution to the onion crying thing is cutting them up in a tub of water. That way, the sulfur doesn’t exit the water of the tub. I do that to avoid annoyance. Also, for the eggs not cracking and spilling white in the water, a bit of vinegar in the water also works.

    Bill Pairaktaridis wrote on July 14th, 2010
  18. I start my hard-cooked eggs in a pot with cold water, then bring the whole thing up to a boil — never got a crack this way.

    Slicing/chopping onions without crying: As has already been mentioned, the compounds in onions that cause tears are volatile. Most compounds become less volatile as the temperature goes down, so I store my onions in the fridge. As long as they have their full skin on I don’t have problems with dehydration. Also, the faster you slice/chop the less time for the fumes to waft into your face. A good, sharp knife really helps with this, and you’ll marvel at the difference it makes in the rest of your food prep as well.

    Andrea Reina wrote on November 8th, 2010
  19. Wow, that looks absolutely delicious! Great post, you did such a nice job presenting the pictures too…I am definitely going to have to try that recipe this weekend! Thanks!

    Glucose Meters wrote on December 18th, 2010

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