Cooking hacks
Cooking hacks

10 Cooking Hacks for Colder Weather

If you can't stand the cold, head to the kitchen. Winter is the ideal time for experimenting in the kitchen and cooking up your favourite winter warmers, and these cooking hacks make preparing meals and desserts easier while saving you time and money.

1. Pre-heat your plates
Keep food warmer for longer by heating serving and dining plates in hot water first, or taking them fresh from the dishwasher. This can be especially useful when cooking light meals such as fish and seafood, as these lose heat quickly.

2. Grate that butter
Butter can take forever to melt at winter room temperature, and microwaving isn't an ideal solution as it spoils the texture. An easy fix is to rub butter over a cheese grater, giving you instant pliable butter ready for spreading or mixing.

3. Chop potatoes in a snap
Potatoes are a key ingredient of many hearty winter meals, from mash to Shepherd's pie, but all that chopping can be time-consuming. Save time and effort by repurposing an apple slicer to produce uniform potato chunks in a jiffy.

4. Speedy seed scooping
Removing seeds from pumpkins and other winter vegetables can also be a chore – one that's made easier by using an ice cream scoop. These scoops have a large surface area to get the job done quicker, and their sharp edges cut more easily and smoothly than a spoon.

5. Wrap your greens
Cut down on trips to the grocery store by wrapping fresh greens like broccoli and celery in aluminium foil when you store them in the fridge. They'll now keep for up to a month.

6. Instant herb cubes
You can also preserve your fresh herbs for longer by freezing them in an ice cube tray with olive oil. You'll now have ready-chopped herbs on hand to drop into your cooking pots all winter long – it's not as if you needed ice anyway.

7. Freeze your sauces
You don't have to make a fresh batch of sauce for every meal. Make a large batch and refrigerate or freeze the leftovers for another day, and you may find that your home-made sauces, soups and stews taste even better when their flavours have had more time to blend.

8. Get crispier roasts
If your chicken wings and roasts tend to turn out more soggy than crispy, this may be due to them coming into contact with baking foil, as this causes the skin to steam. Arranging meat evenly on a baking rack will allow the heat to reach all areas.

9. DIY rolling pin
Winter is prime baking season, and you don't have to miss out on cakes and pastries just because your kitchen isn't fully equipped. A clean wine bottle makes the perfect substitute for a rolling pin.

10. The cleanest cut
Want your cakes to look as pristine as those in the cooking magazines? Simply heat your serving knife in hot water between slices, and you'll have cakes good enough for the bakery window.

Now all you need to do is head to Woolworths for all your ingredients and start cooking up a storm!