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Equipment, Safety & Cleaning

Follow these simple tips for safety in the kitchen.

  • To prevent accidents in your kitchen drawers, push a cork onto the end of sharp tools like fondue forks and metal skewers.
  • To quickly polish silver, rub a little bit of toothpaste (not gel varieties) on the silver until shiny, then rinse with water. (This is best used on smaller pieces of silver.)
  • A toothbrush does a good job of cleaning out the holes of a garlic press. It also comes in handy when cleaning out the small holes of a cheese grater and shredding disks of a food processor.
  • To clean caramelized or burnt-on sugar from a saucepan, bring water to a boil in the pan until it dissolves the sugar layer.
  • To clean a dirty blender carafe, fill it halfway with warm water and a few drops of dishwashing soap. Replace the lid and run at low speed, then pour out the water and rinse clean.
  • Stretch a wide rubber band (like those that hold bunches of broccoli together) around the lids of jars to help you grip them. Wrap a few rubber bands around your knife handle, too. This will be easier to hold on to than a wet, greasy handle.
  • If you don’t have a strawberry huller, a drinking straw does the trick too. Simply push one end of a straw up through the bottom of the berry and through the green top.
  • Make a wide-mouth funnel by using scissors to cut off the top of a 2-liter plastic soda bottle around the upper edge of the label.
  • Prevent a cutting board from sliding on a work surface by placing it on top of either a damp kitchen towel or a sheet of nonskid rubberized shelf liner (sold in the housewares section of grocery stores).
  • Put a few marbles in the bottom of your teapot before filling with water. You’ll know when the water has boiled down by listening to the rattle of the marbles inside.
  • Nonstick skillets have a tendency to nick if stacked on top of each other in cabinets. To protect the nonstick surface, place inexpensive paper plates or folded up paper towels between the pans before storing.
  • Use a stiff wire brush to scrape any cooked-on residue off the grill grates. Clean grates are key to preventing sticking.
  • Line a large platter or cookie sheet with foil before taking meat out to the grill for cooking. Once the meat is on the grill, simply remove and discard the foil—the platter is clean and ready to use after the meat is cooked.
  • The next time you grill burgers, put the condiments in a muffin tin—no more toting several bottles and jars to the picnic table.
  • A coffee grinder is great for grinding spices but should be cleaned between tasks—add a tablespoon of dry rice and buzz until all traces of the spice are gone. Wipe the grinder clean with a dry paper towel.
  • For easy cleanup, coat the inside of a colander with nonstick spray before draining pasta or potatoes. The starchy residue in the cooking water won’t leave a sticky film on the colander.
  • When pureeing hot soups in a blender, prevent scorching splatters by filling the carafe just half full and covering the lid with a kitchen towel. Use short on/off bursts of power—this keeps built-up steam from blowing off the lid.
  • Keep a pair of tweezers handy specifically for kitchen use. They’re perfect for retrieving herbs from simmering soups or removing small bones from fish fillets. You’ll be amazed at what you use them for!
  • Before slicing pizza, coat the wheel of the pizza cutter with nonstick spray—this will help keep the cheese and toppings from sticking to the blade.
  • If you don’t have a small funnel to refill your pepper grinder, cut the bottom off of a cone-style coffee filter at the seam and fold the filter in half. Fit the filter into the opening of the grinder and pour in the peppercorns.