It’s easier to bust hacks than it is to come up with new ones.
So, for the sake of faith in internet tips, we put 25 of the “hacks” we’ve seen circulating the web to the test—and lo and behold, some of them really do work (…and then there are those that don’t). We’ve separated out the winners from the (no offense) losers.
1. Separate Eggs Using An Empty Plastic Bottle.
We’ve all seen this video—or at least 2 million of us have—and see it included in lists like Buzzfeed’s 21 Kitchen Hacks That Will Make Your Life Easier.
The verdict? It works!
Our Office Manager Adam Becker, who tested the trick, says it “works most of the time,” resulting “in many perfectly-separate eggs.” While “every once in a while, a yolk wouldn’t cooperate and it would break apart into the white,” Adam didn’t mind: “Luckily, I really love scrambled eggs, so nothing went to waste.”
So what to do now that you are an egg-separating machine?
2. Put A Wooden Spoon Over A Boiling Pot To Prevent It From Bubbling Over.
Here’s a tip we’ve seen bubbling all over the internet (and specifically on Buzzfeed’s 35 Clever Food Hacks That Will Change Your Life).
While the wooden spoon balancing act may not change our VP of Sales Lauren Locke’s life, it was effective—and “actually quite beautiful, the boil/froth all collected by the spoon. I kept thinking it was about to boil over, and it didn’t.”
How does this work? The hydrophobic wooden spoon punctures the surface of the bubbles, which causes the water to retreat; and, since the temperature of the wooden spoon is below boiling point, the steam in the bubbles condenses upon contact.
3. Squeeze Out Cooked Spinach With A Potato Ricer.
On ChowHound’s list of 47 Kitchen and Food Hacks That Will Change Your Life, they told us that potato ricers (and food mills and sushi mats) can effectively extract water from cooked spinach. And they weren’t lying! (Though change my life, I’m not so sure.)
4. For Perfectly Boiled Eggs, Punch A Hole In The Base Of The Egg With A Thumbtack Before You Boil It.
Our co-founder Amanda Hesser tested this tip, which is included on Buzzfeed’s list of 21 Kitchen Hacks That Will Make Your Life Easier.
Pressing a thumbtack into the rounded end of an egg wasn’t nearly as tricky as I thought it would be—the shell gives easily and you’re left with a tiny hole. I cooked the egg for 8 minutes. The egg did come out properly cooked with the egg yolk fairly well centered within the white. I suppose, if you’re fussy about how your eggs look and about having your eggs cooked evenly, then this technique is made for you. If you’re more of a forgiving egg chef, then the extra thumbtack step will seem as pointless as ironing a t-shirt.
Life easier? No. Eggs prettier? Yes.
But also! Amanda reported that the egg was, indeed, extremely easy to peel: “I think a little water gets in between the egg and the shell while it cooks,” causing the shell to slip right off.
5. “Grill” A Panini With Your Clothes Iron.
Managing Editor Kenzi Wilbur was intrepid enough to try this at home. Yet she was not rewarded with something that looked “delightful,” as they say in the video. While it worked and lightly toasted one side of the sandwich, “after seven minutes of pretending my grilled cheese was an ironing board,” she stuck it in a skillet anyway.
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