Healthy Kitchen Hacks #51

*How To Cook a Whole Pumpkin**How To Remove Beet Stains**Simple Healthy Kid Snack Idea**How To Make Perfect Stovetop Popcorn**How to Cool a Hot Pepper Burn*

Healthy Kitchen Hacks: How to Cook a Whole Pumpkin, How to Remove Beet Stains, Perfect Stovetop Popcorn, Healthy and Simple Kid Snack Idea, How to Cool a Hot Pepper Burn

Here are the top five shortcuts and kitchens tips I’ve personally tried in the past week (#5 got a little TOO personal for my liking as you’ll see.)

And if you are digging this series and want more, check out all of our Healthy Kitchen Hacks from the past year.

1) How To Cook a Whole Pumpkin

Did you know you can cook a whole pumpkin in the oven? It's so easy and makes a great vessel for soups, chili or this Pumpkin Cheddar Gratin - recipe at @teaspoonofspice.com

One of our most popular fall posts is one Serena did for Recipe ReDux way back in 2011 on Whole Pumpkin Gratin. Turns out you can stick an entire sugar pumpkin in the oven to cook it (for step by step, instructions, follow Serena’s recipe.)

Now, this is not quick (cooking time takes about 80 minutes) but it couldn’t be easier – and you can then use the pumpkin shell as a cooking vessel and serving bowl. After cooking and scooping out the flesh, you can make that super easy, cheesy, delicious gratin right in it or use it to serve soup or chili. And save the seeds (bonus tip: How to Cook Pumpkin Seeds in 15 Minutes)

2) How To Remove Beet Stains
via Cook’s Illustrated

Healthy Kitchen Hacks: here are two easy solutions to remove beet stains from cutting boards and your hands.

I’ve been receiving beets every week in my CSA share for awhile so stained fingers and cutting boards have become the norm. Usually a good scrub with warm water and soap works, but for stubborn stains (like ones that are not cleaned within minutes), try this trick from Cook’s Illustrated:

Before placing beets on your coating board, coat it with cooking spray (it won’t be too slick for your knife.) And after cutting, wipe board clean with a towel. For those stained hands, sprinkle salt on the skin and gently rub it in. Then rinse and wash with soap – the salt crystals should help to lift up the beet juices and remove the stain.

As for those stained hands, sprinkle salt on the stain and gently rub in. Then rinse and wash with soap – the salt crystals should help to lift up the beet juices and remove the skin stain.

How to Remove Beet Stains + 4 more #healthykitchenhacks via @tspbasil Click To Tweet

3) Healthy and Super Simple After-School Snack: Snack Platters
via Sally @Real Mom Nutrition

Healthy Kitchen Hacks: Easy snack idea for after school - have kids build a "snack platter."

When it comes to successfully feeding kids healthier eats (or some adults for that matter), it sometimes can be as easy as relabeling what you are serving. Instead of asking her boys if they want fruit and veggies as a snack, Sally of Real Mom Nutrition tells them she’s making a “snack platter” and they come running.

I tried this with my 9-year old and she thought it was the coolest thing especially when I gave her a few choices of fruit, veggies and crackers that she got to add to the platter herself.

Sally’s got a whole list of snack platter ideas and if you’d like to add popcorn to your snack platter – as we do – this next hack should come in handy….

4) How to Make Perfect Stovetop Popcorn Everytime
via Elise @Simple Recipes

Healthy Kitchen Hacks: Here are the secrets behind making a perfect batch of stovetop popcorn with fewer burnt and unpopped kernels!

I’ve been making popcorn on the stove for years so I thought I had it down pat with this trick: Drop 2 – 3 kernels into coconut or olive oil (to ensure the oil is hot enough) and once they pop, pour in the rest.

So, I was intrigued to try the hack of soaking the kernels in water for 15 minutes before popping to get every kernel to pop. That turned out to be a big fail BUT I stumbled upon another hack that DID work.

After doing the 2 -3 kernel test and once you pour in the rest of your kernels, cover the pot and remove from heat for 30 seconds. then put back on the stove. This ensures even heating, more popped kernels and less burnt ones.

How to Make Perfect Stovetop Popcorn + 4 more #healthykitchenhacks via @tspbasil Click To Tweet

5) How To Cool a Hot Pepper Burn
via @BlogHer

Healthy Kitchen Hacks: If you've ever gotten hot pepper oil on your skin, lips, nose or eye, you know how painful the burn can be! Here are two quick remedies to cool the burn immediately.

I now sheepishly share what happened while chopping what I thought were bell peppers from my CSA share last week. Turns out there were a few hot peppers in the bunch (long story on why but definitely my fault) and I unknowingly touched my face and rubbed my nose after the process.

Within minutes my lips and nose were burning. I tried blowing my nose (mistake #1) and then put a cold wet washcloth under my nose (mistake #2.) The burning spread up my nose like wildfire and at one point, the pain got so bad that I actually contemplated an ER visit as I frantically googled “What To Do If You Get Hot Pepper Up Your Nose.”

The answer, my friends, is to use whole milk. Trying to rinse or pat with water does nothing and in fact, exacerbates the process. But milk works because the capsaicin from the pepper is much more soluble in fat so the milkfat helps to quickly remove the burn. So, much to my husband’s amusement, I stuck two milk-soaked paper towels up each nostril and had immediate relief. (Photo not available.)

I also read olive oil will work but I’m not planning on having to test the oil remedy anytime soon.

I have no clue how you people eat super hot peppers (a smidge of jalapeno is as hot as I can go.) Have you ever been burned this bad by a hot pepper?? LMK in the comments below.

Would you try any of these hacks? Do you have any healthy kitchen or healthy living shortcuts to share? Shoot us an email (or share in comments below and we’ll try them out.)

Welcome!

We’re Serena & Deanna, two dietitians who love food as much as you do!  

We're also moms and business owners who share our family recipes, healthy kitchen hacks and nutrition adventures while keeping it real in the kitchen with you.

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