Ever wonder how your grandparents managed to whip up amazing meals without all the fancy gadgets we have today? They had their own set of kitchen hacks, secrets passed down that are just as genius now as they were back then. We’ve dug up 15 of these timeless tricks that still make cooking easier and more fun today. Add a touch of old-school magic to your modern kitchen with these tried-and-true tips.

A person slicing a block of marbled cheddar cheese on a wooden cutting board.
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Keep Potatoes White with Cold Water

Peeled potatoes soaking in water in a blue pot.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Got peeled potatoes sitting out? Dunk them in cold water to keep them from turning that weird brown. It stops air from messing them up, keeping them ready for your pot. People have been doing this for ages because it’s easy and it works. No fancy stuff needed, just water. It’s like a little potato spa day, keeping them fresh until you’re ready to whip up something tasty.

Revive Stale Bread with a Damp Cloth

Sliced loaf of bread on a wooden cutting board with a knife and cloth.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Stale bread isn’t a lost cause. Wrap it in a damp cloth and give it a quick oven stint. It steams the bread back to life, making it taste almost new. This trick is old as hills but gold because it saves food and money. Plus, it’s a neat party trick: “Watch me make this bread fresh again!” Perfect for when you forgot to seal the bread bag… again.

Use Salt to Clean Cast Iron

An assortment of cast iron cookware on a marble countertop.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Cast iron pans can be a pain to clean, but salt is the hero you didn’t know you needed. Just sprinkle it on and scrub. No soap, no fuss, just salt and some elbow grease. It’s a method that’s been around forever because it works and keeps your pan in top shape. It’s kind of like giving your pan a good exfoliation session, making it ready for its next cooking adventure.

Sharpen Knives with a Coffee Mug

A hand reaching for an empty coffee cup on a denim surface.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

That old coffee mug has another trick up its sleeve—turn it upside down and use the unglazed part at the bottom to sharpen your knives. Just a few swipes and you’re slicing like a pro again. It’s quick, easy, and doesn’t require a fancy sharpener. Just like the old timers, it’s all about using what you’ve got smartly. Who knew coffee mugs could be so versatile?

Peel Ginger with a Spoon

Fresh ginger root peeled and placed on a wooden cutting board next to a metal spoon, with more unpeeled ginger in the background.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Forget the peeler or knife; a spoon is your best friend for peeling ginger. It scrapes the skin right off without wasting any of the good stuff underneath. This method is gentle, effective, and something your grandma probably knew well. Plus, it’s a safe bet for keeping all your fingers intact—definitely a hack worth passing down.

Store Herbs Like Flowers

A person slicing herbs on a cutting board.
Photo credit: Depositphotos.

Extend the life of fresh herbs by treating them like a bouquet. Trim the ends and pop them in a glass of water in the fridge. Covering them loosely with a plastic bag helps, too. This keeps them fresh for weeks, not days. It’s an old trick that still impresses because who doesn’t love having fresh herbs on hand? It’s like a mini garden in your fridge.

Rescue Over-Salted Soup with a Potato

A bowl of soup with a wooden spoon.
Photo credit: Depositphotos.

If you went overboard with the salt, toss a peeled potato into the pot. It absorbs the excess salt, saving your meal from disaster. It’s a classic save-the-day move that’s been used by cooks for generations. After about 15 minutes, remove the potato, and you’re good to go. Just a simple potato doing big things in the kitchen.

Freeze and Grate Stale Cheese

Person garnishing pasta with grated cheese.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Don’t toss that hard chunk of cheese! Freeze it and then grate it over your dishes. It’s perfect for when the cheese has gotten a bit too hard to slice but you hate to waste it. This hack breathes new life into your cheese, making it perfectly usable for cooking. It’s a no-waste approach that’s smart and budget-friendly.

Use Vinegar to Freshen Up Wilted Vegetables

Person pouring olive oil from a glass bottle in a kitchen setting with fresh vegetables on the countertop.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Soak wilted veggies in a bowl of cold water and a splash of vinegar to bring them back to life. The vinegar helps to perk them right up, making them salad-worthy again. This is a fantastic way to reduce waste and get the most out of your veggies. It’s an old-school trick that still works wonders, proving some things just don’t go out of style.

Keep Cookies Soft with Bread

A glass jar filled with biscotti and red berries on a wooden background.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Toss a piece of bread into your cookie jar to keep those cookies soft and fresh. The cookies pull moisture from the bread, which keeps them from turning into rocks. It’s a classic trick that’s been saving cookies for decades. Plus, it’s a great way to use up the end slice of bread nobody wants. Who knew bread could be the hero your cookie jar needed?

Use Ice Cubes to Steam Fish

Grouper fish with chili sauce on a white plate.
Photo credit: Depositphotos.

Cooking fish? Place it on a bed of ice cubes before popping it in the oven. The ice melts, steaming the fish perfectly. It’s a fuss-free way to keep fish moist and tender without adding extra fat or calories. This old fishermen’s trick works like a charm every time, making it a go-to for healthy and delicious fish dishes.

Remove Garlic Odor with Stainless Steel

Various kitchen utensils, including spoons and a spatula, hanging from a metal rack.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Rub your hands on a stainless steel utensil under cold running water to get rid of garlic smell. The steel binds with the sulfur compounds in garlic, pulling the smell off your skin. It’s a bit of kitchen magic that’s been around for ages, proving you don’t need fancy soaps to get the job done. Just grab a spoon, and you’re set.

Quick-Ripen Bananas in the Oven

Bananas in a basket on a white background.
Photo credit: Canva Pro.

Need ripe bananas for baking, but all you have are green ones? Pop them in the oven for a quick ripening session. The heat accelerates the ripening process, giving you sweet, soft bananas perfect for that banana bread recipe. It’s a quick fix that’s been used by bakers in a pinch for years, proving that sometimes the oven isn’t just for baking.

Minimize Cooking Splatters with a Spoon

Adding salt to boiling water in a kitchen.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Tired of cleaning up after those splashy cooking moments? Here’s a slick trick: use the back of a spoon to add liquids to your pans. It’s all about the spoon’s back curve—it spreads liquid out, letting it flow neatly and splash-free into the pot. Just tilt the spoon close to your ingredients and pour gently. This simple move keeps your kitchen clean and your skin safe from splats.

Simplify Meatball Making with Ice Cream Scoop

Four different types of scoops and spoons on a wooden surface.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Use an ice cream scoop to make perfectly uniform meatballs or cookies. Not only does it save time, but it also keeps your hands cleaner. This hack goes back to the days when quick, efficient kitchen shortcuts were gold. It’s about making cooking easier and more enjoyable, proving that sometimes the best kitchen tools are the ones originally meant for something else.

11 Things You Should Never Keep On Your Kitchen Counter

Bright kitchen interior with green cabinetry and marble countertop, free from things not to keep on the kitchen counter.
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Your kitchen counters should be a space for cooking and gathering, not a storage unit for every gadget, spice, and unread mail that finds its way home. With daily use, it’s no surprise these surfaces quickly become cluttered catch-alls. To help you keep your kitchen organized and functional, we’ve gathered expert tips on the items that really shouldn’t live on your countertops. Ready to clear the clutter? Here’s how to keep your kitchen space neat and welcoming.

See Them Here: 11 Things You Should Never Keep On Your Kitchen Counter

11 Ways To Give Your Kitchen A Facelift Without Breaking The Bank

A white kitchen with a center island and bar stools.
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Thinking about giving your kitchen a fresh look but worried about the cost? Many of us dream of a kitchen makeover but hesitate at the thought of a hefty renovation bill and the impact of that kind of project. Luckily, there are plenty of smart and affordable ways to breathe new life into your kitchen without emptying your bank account. We’ve rounded up some of the best ideas to get your kitchen looking its best without the stress of a major remodel.

See Them Here: 11 Ways To Give Your Kitchen A Facelift Without Breaking The Bank

10 Best Frozen Veggies To Keep In Your Freezer At All Times For Easy Meals

A freezer full of vegetables.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Keeping the right frozen veggies on hand is like having a secret weapon for easy meal prep. This list is a carefully selected lineup of the best frozen vegetables that promise to turn your everyday cooking into something effortlessly delicious. From the sweet char of fire roasted corn to the versatile goodness of chopped spinach, these freezer staples ensure you’re always ready to whip up something tasty.

See them here: 10 Best Frozen Veggies To Keep In Your Freezer At All Times For Easy Meals

Select images provided by Depositphotos.

Founder and Writer at Running to the Kitchen | About

Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.

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