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How to Peel a Banana Like a Monkey: 12 Kitchen Shortcuts and Tips

Over the years, I have come up with dozens of kitchen hacks, shortcuts, and tips that I think you will love.

Make your life easier with these 12 kitchen hacks.

Make your life easier with these 12 kitchen hacks.

12 Kitchen Shortcuts to Make Your Life Easier

I love shortcuts and "hacks" that help make cooking a little easier. Over the years I have come up with dozens of kitchen tips that I think you will love. Sometimes the easiest way to do something is also the smartest!

I have compiled this list in hopes that some of my kitchen shortcuts might come in handy for you too. You are never too old to learn something new! Happy cooking and baking!

1. Use Baking Soda to Put Out Kitchen Grease Fires

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when you have a grease fire is to pour water on it. This just spreads the flaming grease around and makes the fires much worse!

If you don't already, make sure you have a box of baking soda on hand just in case you encounter a grease fire. It's amazing how fast a grease fire can get going -- almost like a flash, and there you are with a big fire you need to put out fast.

Every kitchen should have a box of baking soda to put out grease fires. It smothers the fire and puts it out when water will only make it worse.

Did you know that monkeys peel bananas upside down? Or maybe they're the ones doing it right-side up!

Did you know that monkeys peel bananas upside down? Or maybe they're the ones doing it right-side up!

2. Peel a Banana Like a Monkey

Only humans go about peeling a banana from the top down. Monkeys watch us doing that and shake their heads—what are we thinking? The top stem is the toughest, most difficult part of the banana to get through. Dumb humans are wasting time and probably also smashing the top bit of the banana by trying to twist off that tough stem.

Monkeys, being smarter than us, simply turn the banana over and pop it open from the bottom. It's a whole lot easier to open and peel a banana that way, folks. Just take it from a monkey.

Removing pomegranate seeds is easy!

Removing pomegranate seeds is easy!

3. Easily Remove Pomegranate Seeds by Whacking It With a Spoon

Pomegranates are beautiful, sweet fruit, but every bit of the sweet insides contains about a million inedible seeds. Getting those seeds out is a real pain unless you know the trick:

  • Cut the pomegranate in half
  • Hold it open-side-down over the sink
  • Whack it with a wooden spoon
  • Watch the seeds fall out!

This kitchen shortcut can save you serious time when you're trying to do a million things at once!

Caramelize onions in a flash!

Caramelize onions in a flash!

4. Caramelize Onions Quickly

Caramelized onions are a wonderful source of flavor and sweetness. All it takes is a chopped onion, some butter, and a good amount of time. The onions slowly get a little browned, and the sugar in them intensifies or "caramelizes." Served over a nice grilled steak, there is really nothing better!

To cut the time it takes to caramelize onions, simply add a pinch of baking soda to the cooking onions. You'll be surprised by how quickly the process is accomplished!

No more tears!

No more tears!

5. How to Cut Onions Without Crying

Speaking of onions, to do anything with them in your kitchen, you're going to have to cut them up. Onions have a pungent, irritating juice that protects them from being eaten up by wild animals. It makes your eyes sting and run, and if you're like me, it can be so bad that you can't even see what you're doing! Onion 1, me 0!

But you can beat the crying onion problem with a few tricks. The one I use is easy: I keep my mouth shut. It really works! For some reason keeping your mouth shut keeps the onion fumes from getting to your eyes.

My mom used to cut onions under water. I tried that, and I didn't cry, but it was a real pain, and a lot of the slices floated away. So I think I'll just keep my mouth shut when I slice onions.

6. Quickly Peel an Entire Head of Garlic

Here's how you can quickly peel a whole head of garlic in one minute or less. Take two bowls the same size, place the head of garlic in one bowl, put the other one on top, and hold them together. Give the whole thing some good shaking. You will end up with peeled garlic cloves!

Did you know you can microwave corn on the cob?

Did you know you can microwave corn on the cob?

7. Microwave Corn on the Cob in Just a Few Minutes

This is an easy way to cook corn on the cob. Take off any outer husk that is dirty. Cut the bottom end off of the corn. Get a paper towel and moisten it, and lay it in the microwave. Lay the number of ears of corn you want to cook on the paper towel.

Guide for cooking corn on the cob in the microwave:

  • 1 ear corn: 2 minutes
  • 2 ears corn: 3-4 minutes
  • 3 ears corn: 5-6 minutes
  • 4 ears corn:7-8 minutes
  • 6 ears corn: 8-9 minutes

Time can vary depending on your microwave.

8. Peel Ginger With No Hassle

Ginger is such a great flavor. It's also cheap, and you can freeze it if you want to. One problem with ginger is the tough outer skin that you have to cut off, which is a total pain and takes effort.

This is a great technique to peel ginger: simply use the edge of a spoon to gently scrape the tough outer skin away. You don't cut anything—just scrape.

No mess!

No mess!

9. Handle Sticky Ingredients With Ease

It's easy to keep sticky ingredients like shortening, honey, and peanut butter from sticking to the spoon or cup when you're using them for baking. Prepare the surface and it will just slip right off. Just spray the measuring cup or spoon with cooking spray before you dip it into that sticky stuff.

Try this easy hack for peeling tomatoes.

Try this easy hack for peeling tomatoes.

10. Peel a Tomato in Seconds With the Microwave

Peeling a tomato with a knife is just about impossible. My mom showed me how to dunk them in boiling water for a few minutes and then ice water to get the skin to slide off, but you can make it even easier if you just place it in the microwave for 30 seconds. Let it sit for two minutes, and then the skin will slide right off.

Wash veggies with homemade wash

Wash veggies with homemade wash

11. Make Your Own Fruit and Vegetable Wash

To make your own fruit and vegetable wash, simply fill a spray bottle with 1 cup of water, 1 tablespoon of baking soda, and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Give it a shake to mix, and it will bubble some! This is a great, inexpensive wash that will keep your fruits and vegetables clean and fresh.

12. Safely Cut Hot Peppers

My skin is sensitive to the juice from cutting hot peppers. You can protect your sensitive skin from pepper juice by coating them with a little vegetable oil before you chop. The oil keeps the juice off of your hands.

© 2016 Margie's Southern Kitchen