THERE is a hack for everything these days – and TikTok and YouTube users love to share their quirky kitchen tips.
But which ones will save you time and how do we know if they work?
Food scientist Helen Conn says: “You should be mindful of cooking tricks you see online. You don’t want to get hurt trying these hacks. And you need to be mindful of harmful bacteria as food must be prepared safely.”
She tells Lynsey Hope what she thinks of some of the most popular online cooking hacks – and we give them a tick or cross for whether you should try them at home or not.
Cook salmon in the dishwasher
THE YouTube channel Chowhound recommends cooking your salmon in the dishwasher.
The chef wraps it in tin foil with lemon and dill and tells viewers to finish it off in the toaster if it’s not cooked through at the end of the cycle.
HELEN SAYS: “I certainly wouldn’t be cooking salmon with dirty dishes for health reasons. You’d need to make sure the temperature reached at least 65C.
“Most dishwasher cycles take at least an hour and you could poach a salmon in ten minutes, so is it worth the hassle? I would advise against putting it in the toaster.”
Grate butter for sandwiches
SPREADING cold hard butter on to your sandwich is a tricky task.
But YouTuber @MakeSushi1 suggests grating it first – and his kitchen tricks video has been viewed more than 15million times
HELEN SAYS: “This is actually a very good idea. Many cooks grate butter into flour when they are making pastry while it is still very cold.
“It is a useful trick if you want to spread it on a sandwich too, as well as for baking if you forgot to get it out of the fridge.”
Mashed potatoes in microwave
MAKING mashed potatoes involves lots of peeling, boiling and mashing. But TikTokers – including Eitan Bernath – have been popping spuds in a microwave-safe bag and microwaving them for 15 minutes.
He finishes them off with milk, cream and seasoning before tucking in.
HELEN SAYS: “Lots of us put baked potatoes in the microwave to cook so this is no different really.
“The smaller you chop your potato the quicker it will cook. A small baked potato takes about ten minutes in a microwave so you’d probably get mash in half the time.”
Flip pan to cook cheese sandwich
INSTEAD of flipping a cheese sandwich in a frying pan, TikTok user @donnabonnana picks it up with a spatula and flips the pan.
With the inside of the pan on the topside of the sandwich, she then turns the pan back over. The trick went viral with 3.6million views and more than 400,000 likes.
HELEN SAYS: “It would be OK to fry a grilled cheese sandwich in a frying pan, but you shouldn’t flip it as you might scald yourself. Use tongs or a fish slice to turn it over.
“You should also never put it in a toaster on its side, which I’ve also seen online.”
Add ice cube to reheat ice
TIKTOK user @caloriequeen14 put an ice cube on her rice before warming it up in the microwave.
It steamed the rice perfectly, making it fluffy and delicious.
HELEN SAYS: “In the old days, it was advised not to reheat rice because there were worries about bacteria. It’s fine to warm it now, but just once – not several times over.
“If I reheat rice, I simply put it in the microwave without ice. Adding an ice cube isn’t going to do any harm but all you are doing is reproducing steam.”
Microwave garlic to peel
A CLEVER trick to avoid peeling garlic was posted on TikTok by user Kushi Ali (@k_ali98). The video has had nearly 4,000 views.
She places individual cloves in a bowl, before microwaving them for 30 seconds. The garlic separates perfectly from its wrapping.
HELEN SAYS: “A lot of people choose to put garlic in boiling water to make it much easier to peel and this is no different.
“The only downside of this method is that it will turn the garlic quite soft and mushy. You are far better to crush it with the flat blade of a knife.”
Make corn on the cob pop
YOUTUBE’S Farmhouse Delivery demonstrates making popcorn on the cob.
Coat the corn in butter, put it in a paper bag and place that bag upside down in another bag so it creates a seal. Microwave for four minutes.
HELEN SAYS: “It’s a palaver for one ear of corn but it would work. Make sure the bag is long enough to seal tightly or you’ll end up with corn all over your microwave.
“Safety-wise it shouldn’t be a problem.”
Cookies on your car’s dashboard
A VIDEO by Howcast on YouTube suggests baking cookies on a car dashboard. You must keep the windows and doors closed, park in a sunny spot and use a dough without eggs to avoid food poisoning.
Then put the dough on a baking tray on the dashboard. Cooking times will vary.
HELEN SAYS: “This is unlikely to work if you live in the UK.
“It would need to be around 70C in the car, so around 40C outside. I’d stick with the oven.”
Freeze wine for cooking
PLACING wine in ice cube trays in the freezer is a great way of saving open bottles for use in stocks and casseroles, according to Sainsbury’s Food on YouTube.
HELEN SAYS: “A lot of chefs use this trick.
“If you have the end of a bottle and you don’t want to throw it away, put it in ice cube trays and use it in your stews or casseroles.
“It will save you opening a new bottle if you only need a dash for dinner.”
Cook omelette in a bag
WEBSITE allrecipes.com recommends cracking eggs into a resealable freezer bag and adding ham, cheese, onion, green pepper and mushrooms before squeezing out as much air as you can.
It then says to boil the bag in a pot of water for 13 minutes to produce an omelette.
HELEN SAYS: “To make this safe, you have to make sure the egg gets to temperatures of at least 60C to cook through.
“It would work if the egg is in boiling water.”
Cut cakes with dental floss
FIND “Mad Genius” Justin Chapple on YouTube and you can see him cut a cake in half using dental floss.
The ingenious clip has racked up over 14,000 views.
HELEN SAYS: “This is a great tip for cutting a cake. If you pull the floss taut enough it would act like a cheese wire and works very well if you want to cut quite a thin slice.
“It would certainly be easier and less damaging than using a knife.”
Chill wine with frozen grapes
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IF you would rather not water down your wine with ice, you can keep it cool by using frozen grapes, according to @purewow on Tik Tok.
The clever tip has helped @purewow amass more than 250,000 followers.
HELEN SAYS: “This works well. The main advantage is that you don’t water down your alcoholic drink as you do when you use an ice cube. Melon and raspberries also work well.”
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