No matter your age, there’s always something new to learn. To help expand your knowledge, we’ve put together a list of common things that people often do differently. We hope this list will help you find easier and safer ways to do everyday tasks like cracking an egg or peeling a banana. Ready to get started? Take a spin through our recommendations below.
Cracking an Egg
Maybe you thought picking eggshells from your omelet was just one more annoying fact of life, but this is an easy problem to fix. First, stop cracking eggs on the edge of a bowl. Instead, tap the egg on a hard, flat surface. This will still crack the shell, but it will leave the membrane intact, which will keep shell bits from breaking off. Then simply pull the shell apart at the indentation and side-to-side crack, just like in this video tutorial from Real Simple. The result — an all egg, no shell breakfast.
Sunshine streaming through windows on a sunny day makes every streak and smudge stand out. But spritzing and wiping windows on a hot, sunny day can make the view even worse. That’s because searing sunshine can dry the cleaner before you even wipe it away, leaving “hard-to-remove streaks,” according to Good Housekeeping. Instead, clean windows on a cloudy day, or wait until the sun isn’t shining on that area of your home.
Sleeping on your stomach might make you feel more secure, but this position wreaks havoc on your neck and back. Sleeping on your stomach is hard on your spine because your back is arched and your head is turned, according to Harvard Medical School. The best sleeping positions for the neck are on your side or on your back. If you sleep on your side, keep your spine straight by sleeping with a pillow under your neck and head rather than mainly under your head. Whatever your sleep position, avoid high pillows and try sleeping on a “memory foam pillow” that conforms to the contour of your head and neck.
If you’re like most people, you probably peel your bananas from the stem that attaches to the bunch. But guess what? That stem end is really the top of the banana, and for easier peeling and fewer strings, you should instead peel from the bottom. Just pinch the end to easily pull the peel apart.
Many coffee lovers freeze coffee beans or ground coffee because they think freezing is the best way to store for ultimate freshness. However, the National Coffee Association of the U.S.A. (NCAUSA) warns that coffee stored for long periods in the freezer can suffer freezer burn and absorb odors and moisture if the container lets in oxygen. If you choose to freeze your coffee, the NCAUSA recommends using a “truly airtight container,” removing portions quickly and freezing coffee for no longer than a week at a time.
Slicing an Onion
The days of shedding tears over your poor onion-slicing and chopping skills could be over once you learn to slice an onion the right way. You can start by cutting only the top off and leaving the root (the end with brown, hair-like strings), which contains the highest concentration of tear-inducing sulphuric compound. Then follow these steps from Allrecipes after peeling the onion:
1. Cut the onion lengthwise from the root end to the top (leaving the root intact).
2. Lay one half flat on the cutting board.
3. Then make horizontal cuts, stopping slightly before you get to the root.
4. Next, make vertical cuts, stopping before the root.
5. Chop by cutting across the top of the onion.
Want to make sure you’re doing it right? Check your technique with this onion-slicing tutorial from chef Gordon Ramsay.
Holding Your Wine Glass
It may be easier to hold your wine glass at the bottom or sides of the bowl, but don’t be too quick to toast to good wine with this faulty grip. Hold a wine glass by the stem instead of the bowl to avoid warming the wine from the heat of your hand. Red wines are best served slightly above room temperature, and white wines when chilled, so holding the wine glass incorrectly can result in “flabby, lukewarm wine,” according to KnowWines wine blog.
Storing Tomatoes, Potatoes and Avocados
If you love tomatoes, the last thing you want to do is render them bland and mealy by sticking them in the refrigerator in hopes of keeping them fresh. The chilly temperature destroys tomatoes’ delicious flavor by breaking down acids, sugars and compounds that create their tantalizing aroma. Chilling avocados stops them from ripening to the right texture, so don’t place them in the fridge until they’ve ripened. Storing potatoes in the fridge changes potato starch to sugar, causing potatoes to change in flavor and brown excessively when cooking.
Letting Food Cool
If you’re leaving hot food out to cool for an hour or two before putting it in the refrigerator, you’re allowing bacteria to grow rapidly. Some are even “doubling in number in as little as 20 minutes,” according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Instead of waiting, place hot food directly into the refrigerator or rapidly cool it in an ice or cold-water bath, says the USDA.
It may seem like pouring laundry detergent over your clothes once they’re loaded in the washing machine would give better coverage. Instead, the opposite is true. Pouring detergent on top at the wrong stage can prevent soap from dissolving fully, leaving streaks or powder on clothes. Add detergent to the washer tub first, then add laundry items.
When you open a new pack of batteries, you may think you’re being organized by storing them in a different container. What you’re really doing, however, is exposing the batteries to power-draining humidity and risking a possible short-circuit if the batteries come into contact with each other or other metal objects.
Panasonic Batteries recommends keeping batteries in their original packaging. You should also store batteries in a cool, dry place but not inside the refrigerator, where humidity can cause condensation, corrosion and leakage.
If you make a point of recycling, good for you. But did you know that different municipalities have their own curbside recycling rules about which items will — or won’t — have a chance at new life in another form? For example, many types of plastic containers can usually be recycled, such as water bottles and laundry and dish soap containers. At the same time, some cities don’t accept plastic clamshell containers or butter or yogurt tubs for recycling.
To make sure you’re recycling properly, especially since many cities have updated their requirements in the last year, search for recycling guidelines on your official city or county website ending in the .gov extension. For more information on recyclable items, check out the Environmental Protection Agency’s FAQs.
Put Your New Skills To Use
Now that you’ve possibly learned a new way to do a few common things, maybe one day you can share the newfound knowledge with friends while clinking wine glasses, confidently clasped at the stem. Meanwhile, spend some time sharpening your onion-slicing skills in the kitchen to ready yourself for all those spring and summer recipes you’ll be preparing soon.
What else would you add to the list? Share with us in the comments.