Kitchen hacks.

Bake bacon in the oven.

Ever wonder why the bacon you get at a restaurant is always evenly and consistently cooked with no annoying raw ends? Ever wonder why the middles don’t get all crumbly or hard and overcooked? The difference is all in the cooking. Whereas most home chefs fry up bacon on the frying pan, most restaurant workers bake it in the oven. Try it out at 400 to 420 degrees Fahrenheit and be amazed!

Slice a lot of cherry tomatoes simultaneously.

Cherry tomatoes add a delicious splash of flavor and color to any dish—but slicing them in half is really difficult if you have to do it one at a time. But you don’t! Not with this handy little kitchen hack. Have two plastic lids that are the same size? Good. Put a bunch of cherry tomatoes on one of the lids (have it so the inner part of the lid is facing up). Now, put the other lid on top to sandwich them inside. Hold the lid down, grab a knife, and cut through all of them at once. Pull off the lid, and all your cherry tomatoes will be sliced neatly and cleanly.

Make an orange candle.

Want to knock someone’s socks off at a dinner party or a date? This kitchen hack is for place settings, not for food preparation, but it still involves food. Instead of grabbing a candle and putting it on the dinner table, why not grab an orange instead?

Yes, oranges can be made into candles, and quite simply too. Start by slicing your orange in half. Do not slice through the part where the stem was—that part will become your “wick” inside the orange, so you want to slice perpendicularly to that part. Next, remove the flesh from inside the orange, but be careful not to remove the part that sticks out inside where the stem used to connect. This becomes the “orange wick.” Now, pour a little oil into the orange half. Olive oil works great. Then use a lighter and light the “wick.” You will have an orange half acting as a candle, burning the oil.

You can get fancy with this by cutting the orange half with patterns edges. Or you can take the other half and remove the flesh from it as well, and then use it to cover the bottom half. Cut a hole on top so that the flame is uncovered. Make the whole fancy if you want. The orange candle looks beautiful, luminous and clever, and will impress anybody who eats with you.

Pancake patterning trick.

Drizzling pancake batter into whimsical patterns using an icing dispenser isn’t the only pancake hack in our kitchen cabinet. Another easy one is cookie cutters, the same ones you use to make sugar cookies over the holidays. Simply place them on your frying pan, pour the batter inside the outlines, and watch as your pancakes rise in amazing shapes. Of course, they will largely be shaped like Christmas trees, snowmen, and gingerbread men, but this makes them the perfect holiday breakfast treat!

Oh yeah, and before we forget, you can totally do this with eggs too when you’re cooking sunny-side up. Just pour them into the cookie cutters and watch as they shape perfectly (and what’s arguably even better, cook evenly).

Peel an orange with ease.

Laziness is no longer an excuse for not eating your fruit! Oranges are delicious, but let’s face it, peeling them is a pain. But does it have to be? Not if you use this orange-peeling hack from Put your orange down on a cutting board. Use a knife to slice off a thin bit from the end, and then do the same thing with the end opposite. Next, cut a perpendicular line. You want to go almost clean through the orange, but not all the way. Then you can pull both ends away from each other and stretch out the orange in a long strip. Then you can just grab each slice off the strip and enjoy!

Get corn off the cob easily and neatly.

Corn on the cob is delicious, but it’s not fun for everybody to eat. If you have braces, jaw issues, or you just don’t enjoy getting all those corn-bits between your teeth, you might prefer to cut your corn off the cob. Of course, this is royal pain. In fact, odds are at some point in your life, you have avoided corn on the cob because you can’t be bothered to cut it off, scrape it off your cutting board and into your bowl, and then pick up all the corn you missed that fell onto the counter, the sink or the floor.
Enter the Bundt cake pan! This is an easy way to catch all the corn you are cutting off the cob. Just put the cob in the center, standing it up on the protrusion, and cut downwards. The corn will all fall down into the pan. No corn on the counter, sink or floor. And you can just spoon it right out of the cake pan and into your bowl.

Peel a head of garlic in seconds.

It turns out there is a hack for peeling garlic that is every bit as simple as the hack for shucking corn. All you need is two bowls that are the same size. Put your head of garlic in one of the bowls, and then put the other bowl on top of it to create a closed container. Then simply shake the bowls really hard. In a minute or less, you can open the container back up and look inside. Assuming you shook it hard enough and long enough, you should see all the skins separated from the garlic cloves. Awesome!

Keep brown sugar soft.

Brown sugar in a measuring cup; Shutterstock ID 1040731477; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): TOH

Brown sugar likes to compact, and when it does, it can become as hard as a brick. When you are baking, you don’t want to waste time making your brown sugar soft again (but we have a hack for that too, which we’ll share with you in just a moment). You can prevent your brown sugar from going hard by simply storing it with a piece of bread. We don’t want to get all science-y, so suffice to say, it works. What’s really cool is that you never have to change out the piece of bread either, because sugar prevents mold from forming. Alternatively, you can also use a marshmallow.
And what if your brown sugar is already as hard as a brick? It turns out this is also easy to deal with. Just put it in a baking dish, cover it with a wet paper towel, and throw it in the microwave for twenty seconds. Ta-da! Soft sugar. Don’t have a microwave? You can do it in the oven; it takes five minutes. Just use the bread trick though and this won’t happen anymore.

Get touch lids off jars with a bottle opener.

Tired of wasting time in the kitchen trying to get impossible lids off of jars? If you don’t have one of those nifty rubber things handy, but you have a bottle opener, you can get the lid off. Lift with the bottle opener at the edge of the jar lid until you hear a pop. Then you can easily unscrew the lid. Alternatively you can use any sharp thing to get the lid pop.

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