15 Cooking Hacks Everyone Needs In Their Lives

Jordan Claes
Monica Cooking in the kitchen

Great chefs aren't born, they're made. And much like how the greatest musicians come to play at Carnegie Hall, to be a top chef requires countless hours of practice, practice, practice.

However, there are certain tips and tricks you can incorporate that will undoubtedly make your life easier in the kitchen. Have a look below and check out these 15 cooking hacks that everyone needs in their lives.

Don't store your potatoes in the fridge.

Bunches of potatoes.
Unsplash | Eric Prouzet

You want to store potatoes in a cool dry place that is not the refrigerator. By storing potatoes in the fridge, you'll wind up increasing the amount of sugar that they contain.

Use aluminum foil to store lettuce instead of cling wrap.

leaf lettuce in the ground.
Unsplash | Quaritsch Photography

I'm not a scientist, so I'm at a loss to explain the complex process behind this. All I know is that it works. By wrapping a head of lettuce in aluminum foil, it won't wilt and will still be crisp enough for salads even weeks after purchase.

Soften your butter in record time!

Slicing a stick of butter.
Giphy | Kerrygold USA

We've all made the mistake of not removing the stick of butter from the fridge in order to let it thaw. The next time you find yourself in this predicament, cut the butter into small one-inch cubes. After sitting on the counter for 15-20 minutes, it will be good to go.

Freeze milk for coffee and tea.

Bowl of milk exploding.
Unsplash | Daniela Díaz

If you're someone who, like me, simply can't drink their carton of milk fast enough before it expires, try freezing it for later use in ice cube trays. Frozen milk will be safe indefinitely, but tastes the best if it's consumed within three months.

You'll go BANANAS for this tip.

Bananas tend to turn brown seemingly overnight. In order to prolong their usage, wrap the tips of the bananas in cling wrap. This will prevent the ethylene gas produced from spoiling the rest of the banana.

Save your fingers when cutting chives and fine herbs.

Let's face it, not all of us were meant to wield knives in the kitchen and that's OK. In my experience, a sharp pizza cutter works just as well and there's far less risk of a trip to the hospital.

Prolong the life of your strawberries by soaking them in a vinegar bath.

Bushel of strawberries.
Unsplash | Maksim Shutov

Nothing says summer like a fresh strawberry, but these delectable berries have an incredibly short shelf life. By bathing them in a water/apple cider vinegar solution, they'll stay fresh for up to three weeks.

Don't put garlic cloves in the fridge.

Cloves of garlic.
Unsplash | Towfiqu barbhuiya

If you want to keep your garlic cloves fresh and smelling fragrant, then keep them away from the fridge! Place them in a brown paper bag on the counter or on top of the microwave.

Keep your favorite cookies softer for longer.

Cookie monster with a plate of cookies.
Giphy | Rachael Ray Show

I love a good cookie, but once they turn stale they're as good as garbage. Next time, try placing them in airtight Tupperware containers and add a single slice of white bread.

Bring bread back to life.

Sliced bread.
Unsplash | Charles Chen

One thing I always find myself forgetting to do is properly tying my bags of bread. For those times when your loaves get a little crustier than you'd like, a single piece of celery in the bag will make it like new again.

No more dry meatloaf!

Will Ferrell in 'Wedding Crashers'.

Meatloaf has been a staple dish for generations, but more often than not it becomes a dried-out tasteless log in the oven. Instead of using an all-beef mixture, try incorporating some ground pork. The residual fat will help to make the meat soft and tender.

Make sure to always store your flour in the freezer.

Measuring spoon on top of flower.
Unsplash | HowToGym

Once it's been opened, it's a good idea to store flour in an airtight container. If you want to take this one step further, keeping it in the freezer will extend its shelf life exponentially.

Same flavor, less fat.

Plate of meatballs.
Unsplash | Emiliano Vittoriosi

Meatballs are a must-have for any proper spaghetti dish, but they're a far cry from being healthy. In order to strain away some of the excess fat, try cooking them in the oven atop a baking rack.

Extend the life of your fresh herbs.

Herbs on a cutting board.
Unsplash | Kevin Doran

A little bit of fresh parsley and thyme can really help to elevate your dish — if they don't spoil, first. To avoid this from happenings, trim the stems and place the herbs standing upward in a small glass of water. Then wrap it in plastic wrap.

Save a salty soup.

The Soup Nazi from 'Seinfeld'.

Properly seasoning soup is a fine art. Use too little and it tastes like a bowl of boiled nothing, too much and it's like ingesting a salt bomb. If you ever discover that you've been a little too heavy-handed on the sodium, one slice of raw apple will help to level it out.