We make the mistakes in the kitchen, so that you don't have to.

3 Fun Food Hacks for Pizza, Bananas, and Jam

Pizza, bananas, and jam are some of our favorite things, so we couldn’t resist sharing these quick tips. Just don’t feel compelled to use them all at the same time—but who knows?

Bananas: Even More Magical Than You Thought

Did you know that you can use a banana peel to polish tarnished silverware? After you enjoy a banana, rub the inside of the peel along the silver and you’ll see the magic happen. Just wipe it off with a clean cloth afterward to have sparkling silverware again. It doesn’t work with really dark spots, but this trick works great with lightly tarnished utensils.

Best Way to Reheat Pizza

Microwaving cold pizza makes the crust soggy, and reheating it in the oven takes almost 30 minutes. The best way to reheat cold pizza is to put a few slices in a cold skillet, cover it, and turn the burner to low. About 8 minutes in the pan gives the cheese time to melt while the bottom crisps perfectly. No more soggy slices.

DIY Salad Dressing with Leftover Jam

To savor every last morsel of homemade or storebought jam, add olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, and herbs/spices when the jam jar is nearly empty, screw the lid on, and shake away. In seconds you’ll have delicious fruity salad dressing, and nothing is wasted from the precious jams.

All of these quick tips are from the newest issue (August/September 2014) of Cook’s Country (learn more about print and iPad editions).

3 Fun Kitchen Tips for Summer Vacation Season

Sunshine and long days call for extra-hot quick tips.

Steadying Tipsy Tacos

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The rounded base of a hard taco shell usually requires one hand to steady it while the other stuffs. You can free up both hands by wedging the shell between the tines of a fork to keep it upright.

A Hole New Way to Pluck Herbs

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Plucking the leaves from a bunch of tender herbs like cilantro and dill can be tedious and time-consuming. Threading the stems through the holes of a colander (starting from the inside and pulling them through) makes quick work of the task—plus, the bowl collects the leaves.

Did Your Fridge Lose Power While You Were Gone?

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Easy way to gauge whether your refrigerator lost power while you were on vacation: Place 3 ice cubes in a zipper-lock bag on a freezer shelf before leaving. If the cubes have melted together upon your return, it’s an surefire indicator that the power shut off while you were away.

All of these quick tips are from the newest issue (July/August 2014) of Cook’s Illustrated (learn more about print and iPad editions).

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Willy Wonka may have hidden his golden tickets, but he never shared the secret to chopping chocolate. And so we meet: 
The Best Way to Chop Chocolate.
Willy Wonka may have hidden his golden tickets, but he never shared the secret to chopping chocolate. And so we meet: 
The Best Way to Chop Chocolate.

Willy Wonka may have hidden his golden tickets, but he never shared the secret to chopping chocolate. 

And so we meet:

The Best Way to Chop Chocolate.


Bake Like a Boss
If your baking marathon has left you with a shortage of cooling racks, place three or four canning jar rings on the countertop. The elevation of the rings allows for air to circulate below the cooling item. Find more cooking tips and tricks here.
Bake Like a Boss
If your baking marathon has left you with a shortage of cooling racks, place three or four canning jar rings on the countertop. The elevation of the rings allows for air to circulate below the cooling item. Find more cooking tips and tricks here.

Bake Like a Boss

If your baking marathon has left you with a shortage of cooling racks, place three or four canning jar rings on the countertop. The elevation of the rings allows for air to circulate below the cooling item. Find more cooking tips and tricks here.

Protect Your Recipes While Cooking
Place a zipper-lock bag flat on the counter, slide the paper recipe right into it, and zip it shut. Gallon-sized bags work nicely for 8½ by 11-inch sheets, while sandwich-sized bags work well for recipes mounted on index cards. Here are more useful cooking tips and tricks.
Protect Your Recipes While Cooking
Place a zipper-lock bag flat on the counter, slide the paper recipe right into it, and zip it shut. Gallon-sized bags work nicely for 8½ by 11-inch sheets, while sandwich-sized bags work well for recipes mounted on index cards. Here are more useful cooking tips and tricks.

Protect Your Recipes While Cooking

Place a zipper-lock bag flat on the counter, slide the paper recipe right into it, and zip it shut. Gallon-sized bags work nicely for 8½ by 11-inch sheets, while sandwich-sized bags work well for recipes mounted on index cards. Here are more useful cooking tips and tricks.

Portion Your Butter, Better!
Cutting butter with a chef’s knife can be a slippery proposition. Avoid that by using the sharp edge of a metal bench scraper to cut cold butter into uniform pieces. Find more tips here. 
Portion Your Butter, Better!
Cutting butter with a chef’s knife can be a slippery proposition. Avoid that by using the sharp edge of a metal bench scraper to cut cold butter into uniform pieces. Find more tips here. 

Portion Your Butter, Better!

Cutting butter with a chef’s knife can be a slippery proposition. Avoid that by using the sharp edge of a metal bench scraper to cut cold butter into uniform pieces. Find more tips here. 

3 Tips For Banana Success
1. Place overripe bananas in a zipper-lock plastic bag and freeze them. When you’re ready to make banana bread, thaw the bananas on the counter until softened.
2. Know your banana. There are hundreds of varieties - baby bananas are floral sweet, Orinoco bananas have lemon undertones, and red bananas offer apple and raspberry aftertastes.
3. Kick up your banana bread with caramelized bananas: roast bananas for 20 minutes until black-skinned, cool, and peel and mash as the recipe directs. The bananas will be sweeter and more intensely flavorful.
Ready to go bananas? Our Banana Split Cake is cool and creamy.
3 Tips For Banana Success
1. Place overripe bananas in a zipper-lock plastic bag and freeze them. When you’re ready to make banana bread, thaw the bananas on the counter until softened.
2. Know your banana. There are hundreds of varieties - baby bananas are floral sweet, Orinoco bananas have lemon undertones, and red bananas offer apple and raspberry aftertastes.
3. Kick up your banana bread with caramelized bananas: roast bananas for 20 minutes until black-skinned, cool, and peel and mash as the recipe directs. The bananas will be sweeter and more intensely flavorful.
Ready to go bananas? Our Banana Split Cake is cool and creamy.
3 Tips For Banana Success
1. Place overripe bananas in a zipper-lock plastic bag and freeze them. When you’re ready to make banana bread, thaw the bananas on the counter until softened.
2. Know your banana. There are hundreds of varieties - baby bananas are floral sweet, Orinoco bananas have lemon undertones, and red bananas offer apple and raspberry aftertastes.
3. Kick up your banana bread with caramelized bananas: roast bananas for 20 minutes until black-skinned, cool, and peel and mash as the recipe directs. The bananas will be sweeter and more intensely flavorful.
Ready to go bananas? Our Banana Split Cake is cool and creamy.

3 Tips For Banana Success

1. Place overripe bananas in a zipper-lock plastic bag and freeze them. When you’re ready to make banana bread, thaw the bananas on the counter until softened.

2. Know your banana. There are hundreds of varieties - baby bananas are floral sweet, Orinoco bananas have lemon undertones, and red bananas offer apple and raspberry aftertastes.

3. Kick up your banana bread with caramelized bananas: roast bananas for 20 minutes until black-skinned, cool, and peel and mash as the recipe directs. The bananas will be sweeter and more intensely flavorful.

Ready to go bananas? Our Banana Split Cake is cool and creamy.

3 Tips For Avocado Success
1. Use a pastry blender instead of a fork to mash avocados more quickly.
2. Check an avocado for ripeness by flicking its small stem. If it comes off easily and you can see green underneath, the avocado is ripe. If the stem does not come off or if you see brown underneath it, the avocado is not ripe.
3. To cleanly remove pits, slice around the avocado with a chef’s knife. Twist the two halves apart. Stick the blade sharply into the pit. Lift the knife, twisting the blade if necessary to loosen the pit. Use a large wooden spoon to safely pry the pit off the knife.
Now try our Pineapple-Avocado Salsa, amazing with fish, chicken, or by the spoonful.
3 Tips For Avocado Success
1. Use a pastry blender instead of a fork to mash avocados more quickly.
2. Check an avocado for ripeness by flicking its small stem. If it comes off easily and you can see green underneath, the avocado is ripe. If the stem does not come off or if you see brown underneath it, the avocado is not ripe.
3. To cleanly remove pits, slice around the avocado with a chef’s knife. Twist the two halves apart. Stick the blade sharply into the pit. Lift the knife, twisting the blade if necessary to loosen the pit. Use a large wooden spoon to safely pry the pit off the knife.
Now try our Pineapple-Avocado Salsa, amazing with fish, chicken, or by the spoonful.
3 Tips For Avocado Success
1. Use a pastry blender instead of a fork to mash avocados more quickly.
2. Check an avocado for ripeness by flicking its small stem. If it comes off easily and you can see green underneath, the avocado is ripe. If the stem does not come off or if you see brown underneath it, the avocado is not ripe.
3. To cleanly remove pits, slice around the avocado with a chef’s knife. Twist the two halves apart. Stick the blade sharply into the pit. Lift the knife, twisting the blade if necessary to loosen the pit. Use a large wooden spoon to safely pry the pit off the knife.
Now try our Pineapple-Avocado Salsa, amazing with fish, chicken, or by the spoonful.

3 Tips For Avocado Success

1. Use a pastry blender instead of a fork to mash avocados more quickly.

2. Check an avocado for ripeness by flicking its small stem. If it comes off easily and you can see green underneath, the avocado is ripe. If the stem does not come off or if you see brown underneath it, the avocado is not ripe.

3. To cleanly remove pits, slice around the avocado with a chef’s knife. Twist the two halves apart. Stick the blade sharply into the pit. Lift the knife, twisting the blade if necessary to loosen the pit. Use a large wooden spoon to safely pry the pit off the knife.

Now try our Pineapple-Avocado Salsa, amazing with fish, chicken, or by the spoonful.

STALE COOKIES NO MORE
Sure, you can try to eat an entire tin of soft, chewy cookies before they grow stale and harden—or you can store them along with tortillas and parchment paper. The tortillas fit tidily into the tin, where their moisture keeps cookies soft for days. Start by tracing the bottom of a cookie tin on a sheet of parchment paper, then cut it out and repeat as needed. Layer the parchment, a tortilla, parchment, and layer of completely cooled cookies in the tin. Repeat until the tin is full, ending with a layer of cookies. Get more tips here. 
STALE COOKIES NO MORE
Sure, you can try to eat an entire tin of soft, chewy cookies before they grow stale and harden—or you can store them along with tortillas and parchment paper. The tortillas fit tidily into the tin, where their moisture keeps cookies soft for days. Start by tracing the bottom of a cookie tin on a sheet of parchment paper, then cut it out and repeat as needed. Layer the parchment, a tortilla, parchment, and layer of completely cooled cookies in the tin. Repeat until the tin is full, ending with a layer of cookies. Get more tips here. 

STALE COOKIES NO MORE

Sure, you can try to eat an entire tin of soft, chewy cookies before they grow stale and harden—or you can store them along with tortillas and parchment paper. The tortillas fit tidily into the tin, where their moisture keeps cookies soft for days. Start by tracing the bottom of a cookie tin on a sheet of parchment paper, then cut it out and repeat as needed. Layer the parchment, a tortilla, parchment, and layer of completely cooled cookies in the tin. Repeat until the tin is full, ending with a layer of cookies. Get more tips here.