Cooking Class: 5 Science-Based Food Hacks to Improve Your Culinary Skills

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Whether you’re a seasoned cook or an unseasoned newbie, there are always ways to make mealtime healthier, tastier, and more enjoyable. Since the benefits of using fresh produce and PFOA and PTFE free non-stick pans are already well established, let’s take a look at a few uncommon food hacks that can improve your culinary skills. 

1. Use lemon to prevent fruit from browning

Buying a fresh bunch of apples (or other fruit) only to have them brown in the fridge overnight is 

frustrating, to say the least. Luckily, there’s a simple hack that fixes it: lemon juice. Simply squeeze some lemon juice over the sliced fruit, place them in the fridge, and let your worries float away.

If the lemon juice makes the fruit too sour, consider diluting it. Instead of squeezing lemon juice directly onto the fruit, squeeze it into a bowl of water. Then, dip the fruit slices, seal them in a plastic bag, and place the bag in the fridge. 

2. Use coconut oil to reduce the starch in rice

Rice is a staple ingredient in everything from Nasi Goreng in Indonesia to Jambalaya in New Orleans. Although widely used and loved, rice is far from the healthiest meal on earth. That’s mostly because of all the starch that converts to fat if it’s not burnt off quickly. 

Thankfully, coconut oil can help. After boiling water, add a teaspoon of coconut oil for each half-cup of rice. Then, add in your rice, reduce the heat, and let it simmer for 8 to 10 minutes. Once cooked, put it in a container and store it in the fridge for at least 12 hours. Then, take it out, reheat it, and serve. Thanks to the coconut oil, the reheated rice should have about half the calories of regular rice.

3. Use baking soda to tenderize your chicken

Not everyone has time or patience to marinate their chicken before serving it up for dinner. Luckily, if you’re in a pinch for time, all you need is a pinch of baking soda to get the same benefits. The high pH of baking soda raises the lower pH of raw chicken, thus expanding its ability to hold water. That extra water makes the chicken more tender. 

Start by sprinkling baking soda on the raw chicken you want to use, then wrap it in plastic and put it aside for 15 minutes. After that, unwrap the plastic, clean off the baking soda, and cook the chicken as you normally do. 

4. Use salt to make your coffee less bitter

Although some people love the bitterness of black coffee, not everyone’s a fan. If you’re in the latter group, then you’re in luck because there’s a simple food hack to reduce the bitterness: add salt. A quarter teaspoon should do the trick. Not only will this reduce the bitterness, but it can also smooth out the staleness of coffee grinds that are past their prime. 

5. Let meat rest to improve moisture and temperature

Once your chicken, beef, or pork is done, resist the temptation to immediately dig in. Instead, set it aside for 10 to 20 minutes. Then come back and slice it. 

Two things happen during this rest period. First, it will counteract the moisture loss that results from the shrinkage of muscle fibers and proteins during the cooking process. Second, it can increase the internal temperature of the meat by five to ten degrees. That temperature change turns a medium-rare slice of meat into a medium cut. 

Keep the above food hacks in mind to live a healthier, happier, and tastier life.

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