25 Food Prep Helpers From Yesterday’s Homemakers

This collection of vintage tips was gathered from books and magazines that were published in the 1940’s, most are still quite useful for today’s kitchen.

Fresh Green Apples & Basket
Fresh Green Apples & Basket
The Timeless Wisdom Collection has evolved into a regular weekly feature here on Tipnut, I’m glad so many of you enjoy them like I do :). I choose them for their usefulness, but also those that give a glimpse of how life was back then. They didn’t have all the little gadgets and appliances like we do now and techniques were sometimes a little less sophisticated, but they worked well enough to recommend to each other. I find them all interesting and charming.

I’m sometimes asked how many of these little snippets of vintage tips I have, I’m not counting them but I know I have thousands. I find it interesting that time and time again I come across tips and advice from decades ago that are offered by today’s celebrity homemaking pros. It seems everything old really is new again (or maybe grandma’s advice proved too valuable to forget)!

The following focus on preparing food items for best results when cooked as well as some handy kitchen hacks too.

  1. Do this and that first apple won’t be brown and soft by the time you peel the fifth one. Place peeled apples in a basin of cold slightly salted water until you are ready to use or serve them.
  2. To draw out the salt from salted fish, add a glass of vinegar to the water in which the salt fish is soaking.
  3. Tenderize chicken and other fowl by rubbing them inside and outside with lemon juice after cleaning and before dressing.
  4. Hard-shell clams are easier to open if boiling water is poured over them. No hammers, please!
  5. To remove the kernels whole from pecan nuts, pour boiling water over the nuts and let them stand until cold. Then hammer on the small end of the nut.
  6. To clean currants, wash them well in two or three waters, drain, dry in a cloth and finish in a slightly warm oven. A little flour dredged over them will absorb any remaining moisture.
  7. To blanch almonds, put them into a saucepan, cover with cold water, bring to a boil, and having strained them, run cold water over them, dry in a cloth, and the skins will slip off easily.
  8. To peel an orange easily and to get the skin off in one piece, heat the orange slightly for three or four minutes before peeling.
  9. When baking apples, prick the skin of the apples and they will cook without bursting.
  10. When peeling tomatoes scrape the skin gently with the back of the knife, then peel in the usual way. It will be found that the skins will slip off easily.
  11. Before scraping new potatoes, soak them for half an hour in cold water which has been salted. Not only do the skins peel off easily, but the hands are not stained.
  12. Peel onions under water and they will not irritate the eyes.
  13. If parsley is washed with hot water instead of cold it retains its flavor and is easier to chop.
  14. To keep a boiled fowl a good color, rub the fowl over with a piece of cut lemon and wrap in grease-proof paper for boiling.
  15. To make meat tender, put it in a strong vinegar water for a few minutes.
  16. Bones required for making soup will keep in good condition for a considerable time during warm weather if they have been allowed to remain in a hot oven for a few minutes.
  17. Make short work of pin-feathers by plucking them from fowl with an ordinary strawberry huller or a large pair of tweezers.
  18. To prevent eggs from cracking when they are to be boiled, allow them to stand a few minutes in very warm water before putting in boiling water.
  19. Beets practically pop right out of their skins after they’re boiled if dipped in cold water.
  20. To put attractive scalloped edges on thin cucumber slices, just run the tines of a fork lengthwise over the peeled cucumber, and then slice.
  21. Wilted asparagus will come to life if the stems are set for a while into cold water.
  22. Fried potatoes will be deliciously golden brown if sprinkled lightly with flour before frying.
  23. Before squeezing oranges, and lemons, grate the rind and use as a flavoring for cakes, puddings, pies, etc.
  24. Before shredding the kernels off corn on the cob, pierce the corn vertically with an ice-pick. This provides a convenient handle. Rest the other end of the ear on a cake tin.
  25. Keep pared fruit looking bright by pouring a little lemon juice over it.

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    • Doc

    Clams (or just about any bivalve) are easier to open if you soak them in salt water first. Not only do they release their shells a bit, but they also spit out the sand they have swallowed.

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