Summer is a delicious season, filled with grilling, shopping at farmers markets filled with fresh vegetables and picking your own fruit straight from the bush. Even so, you would probably rather spend time outside than slaving over a hot stove. Maximize your time in the sun with these food hacks for easy summer dinners.
Here are 10 tips to streamline your summer culinary adventures.
Use an egg slicer to slice mushrooms or strawberries
Wire slicers are handy for sectioning hard-boiled eggs to top salads and the like. You can also use this handy tool to quickly slice mushrooms or strawberries for easy summer dinners.
Section ground meat before freezing
Whether you are making burgers or gyros, ground meat is great for easy summer dinners. If you are adding ground meat to the list of food you plan to freeze, section it off with a knife before you put the package into the freezer. That way, you can use what you need without defrosting the whole slab of meat.
Cool drinks quickly with a wet towel
Did you leave the wine out in your hot kitchen before your summer picnic? Never fear: you can easily cool down drinks by wrapping them in a wet towel and putting them in the freezer. The water will both rapidly evaporate and cool in the dry, frigid environment of your freezer. Plus, the fibers in your towel increase the surface area of the cooling medium, which helps your drink chill faster than it would alone. After about 10 or 15 minutes, your drink will be chilled and ready to drink.
Cut corn kernels in a bundt pan
During the summer, corn seems ubiquitous. If you have piles of leftover boiled or grilled corn, erect the cob on the center of a bundt pan and use a knife to strip the kernels into the pan. The pan is easy to rotate, and the kernels will pile up at the bottom of the pan for easy collection.
Hull strawberries with a straw
Whether you are making a summer salad or strawberry shortcake, you can save time slicing those pesky strawberry tops by pushing a straw through them instead. Use a metal or glass straw if you are looking to reduce your plastic waste in the kitchen.
Pit cherries with a chopstick
Same idea as with the strawberries, you can remove cherry pits by spearing the center of the scrumptious summer fruit with a chopstick. Balance the cherries in the mouth of a bottle and let the pits fall in for even easier cleanup.
Prepare quick breadcrumbs with a cheese grater
Skip the stale bread and save money on bread crumbs by freezing a slice of bread and running it over a cheese grater to make bread crumbs in a pinch with easy clean up. Your grated crumbs will need a quick roast in your toaster oven to dry them so they are crispy and ready for use.
Spray measuring cups with oil when using sticky ingredients
If you are adding a cup of honey, peanut butter or molasses to your favorite summer treat, first spray your measuring cups with cooking spray. The sticky substance will slide right into the bowl and make for easy clean-up after you cook.
Roll your citrus
Citrus juice, zest and peels can be used in many ways around the kitchen, but some lemons and limes are easier to squeeze than others. If you want to get the most out of your citrus, roll the fruit on the table before you squeeze to soften the flesh for easy juicing.
Do you have any favorite food hacks for easy summer dinners? Add them to the comments below.