Last updated: March 12. 2014 12:02AM - 2042 Views
By Sara Pokorny spokorny@civitasmedia.com

It may look funny, but this method for keeping bananas fresh is no joke.
It may look funny, but this method for keeping bananas fresh is no joke.
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I wish this were easier.

How many times have you muttered this phrase to yourself as the pot on the stove is boiling over, the fruit you just cut up is already getting funky, and the counter looks like someone attempted a watercolor in juices and condiments?

Thankfully, plenty of people out there have figured out, little by little, how to make life in the kitchen much easier. With their powers (and ultimate failures-turned-lessons-learned) combined, our readers have provided us with tips and tricks to make time in the kitchen a breeze. We’ll call them kitchen hacks.

How do you perfect the hard-boiled egg? What’s the best way to deal with messy peanut butter? How in the world do you keep bananas fresher for longer?

Look no further; we’re here to lend a hand.

On freshness:

  • “I put a paper towel or a napkin in with my lettuce or salad mix. It helps it stay crisp.” — Deirdra Maloney, Exeter
  • “Put asparagus right into a glass of water in the fridge (like flowers) and it lasts way longer.” — Catie Belardo, Kingston
  • “We wrap Saran wrap around the stems of bananas to stop them from ripening if we know we won’t need them for a few days. Works wonders.” — Taryn Barclay, Swoyersville
  • “Bay leaf in the flour keeps it from getting buggy.” — Steve Harmonas, Exeter
  • “Pouring a little lemon juice over cut apples to prep for a pie can keep them from browning. Also, keeping cut potatoes covered in water in the fridge keeps them from browning.” — Pam Wintersteen, Dallas

On storage:

  • “Empty Mio containers are great for taking salad dressing in for lunch.” — Robert Vanderveken, Shavertown
  • “Take old Tic Tac containers and fill them with spices to store them.” — Amelia Maragni, West Wyoming
  • “Put fresh herbs in olive oil in an ice cube tray to freeze them for later use.” — Christine Uher, Scranton

On hard-boiled eggs:

  • “I bake my eggs now for ‘hard-boiled.’ 325 degrees Fahrenheit on a cookie sheet for 30 minutes. Throw them in cold water with ice and the shells come right off.” — Nina Mattioli, Exeter
  • “Add two tablespoons of white vinegar to the water and boil the eggs for 20 minutes. The shells then peel so easily.” — Mariann Owens, Kingston

On getting things ready last minute:

  • “If you’re making breaded chicken and you forget you don’t have any eggs, mixing mayo and milk together can be a substitute.” — Nina Mattioli, Exeter
  • “Softening butter can take a while, so if you don’t have time to let it sit on the counter, put it in a Ziploc bag and use a rolling pin to flatten it. It’ll become room temperature much quicker.” — Andrew Jacobs, Moosic

On keeping the kitchen clean:

  • “Lay a wooden spoon over a pot of pasta to keep the water from boiling over.” — Kristen Mazar, Wilkes-Barre
  • “I use two cutting boards: one for meat, and one for everything else. That way I don’t have to worry about cross-contamination.’” —Jeannine Mauser, Wilkes-Barre
  • “When using peanut butter in a recipe, spray the measuring cup with Pam first. That way the peanut butter slides right out, and there’s no mess.” — Tanya Horsky, Scranton

On making things simpler:

  • “Put blocks of cheese in the freezer for a bit prior to grating them; they don’t have to be completely frozen. It makes the grating process much easier. To take the sting out of an onion, run it under cold water, cutting off both ends and peeling it. When you cut it, your eyes won’t water. Or you can just keep it in the fridge prior to use, and that’ll take the sting out as well.” — Jeremy Yonkondy of Center City Cafe in Wilkes-Barre

  • “My mom has always put uncooked rice inside of our salt shakers.” (The rice keeps the salt from drawing moisture and hardening into chunks.) — Michele Aed, Forty Fort native

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