Produce Productivity

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Gardeners sure know the best dirt, but I have secrets to share too. To start off a series of posts on the topic, this entry highlights 10 cooking hacks associated with harvested fruits (F) and vegetables (V) that are sure to maximize your time in the kitchen!

In this survey by GfK, consumers in the US spent 5.9 hours per week cooking.  On an annual basis, this is 306.8 hours - which is equivalent to nearly 8 work weeks valuing $7,890.90 (at $25.72 per hour – the wage used throughout all my blog posts for reasons defined in my FAQ page).  Incorporating some of my time-tested tips noted in the below list is sure to lesson your opportunity cost. Now, "lettuce" discuss these cooking hacks!

1.       Banana (F)

While monkeys claim the easiest way to peel a banana is from the top (not the stem as typically done), my go-to method for opening a banana is to snap it in half and peel from the middle.

2.       Corn (V)

Instead of waiting for the cob to cool after cooking the ears in order to then cut them in half for little eaters, try snapping those bad boys into twos before boiling them.

3.       Strawberry (F)

Instead of slicing the top off and wasting all that valuable fruit surrounding the stem, rip off the greens and then use a paring knife to cut a circular/triangular divot out of the top. Or, just splurge and use this gadget!

4.       Garlic (V)

To avoid the gross smell of garlicy fingers, my go-to recipe is 1) touch something made of stainless steel, then 2) squeeze a few drops of lemon juice on the affected area and rinse with water. Try it out!

5.       Tomato (F)

Use a serrated knife (aka a bread knife) to cut through the waxy skin and form nice, even slices.

6.       Beans (V)

In place of soaking dried beans in a pot overnight, try this faster method. Place beans in water about 2-3in higher than bean level, boil for 1 minute, remove from heat and cover, then soak for 1 hour, drain and use.

7.       Guacamole (F)

For smashing up a perfect bowl of guacamole, try blending the avocado with your gloved hand; it’s a lot more malleable than a fork, whisk, or other mashing tool.

8.       Onion (V)

Courtesy of a Martha Stewart tip, I learned that burning a candle while slicing onions prevents any unwanted tears. I’m not sensitive to crying while cutting, but enjoyed having a new scent in the kitchen!

9.       Pepper (F)

Once split into two pieces flip the product upside down so that your knife makes contact with the inside that is crisper and easier for your knife to slice through than the outside.

10.   Potatoes (V)

When making mashed potatoes, boil the water with the lid on to save 30 seconds or over 10% of the time it takes to boil the pot according to this experiment.
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