Kitchen Hacks: Less Mess Broccoli Prep and 4 Kitchen Tools with Secret Uses 

Shandra Martinez

| 4 min read

Broccoli in a pile
Tired of that big green mess when you slice your broccoli? Want to make your kitchen tools do double duty? We have some cool Kitchen Hacks for you.

Less Mess Broccoli

It seems like every time we turn around, nutritionists are suggesting we find ways to get a little more green onto our plates. For lots of people, their go-to veggie in this category is broccoli.
Part of the crunchy cabbage family, broccoli has healthy goodness in their stems, but especially in all the tightly-packed florets that make up the rounded head. Eating broccoli is a great way to get fiber, vitamins, minerals and even protein all in one handy package. It’s also got the power of antioxidants, which help protect our body’s cells from damage.
But prepping broccoli can be messy. Using a knife to slice apart those crumbly florets will often leave you with a big green mess on your cutting board or countertop. But we’ve got a kitchen hack to save you from the mess. All it takes is some hot water and a few seconds of blanching:
  • Using a medium saucepan, bring a few cups of water to a boil.
  • Pick up a small head of broccoli, or part of a head connected to a longer stem piece.
  • Holding the stem, dip the broccoli head into the water for five to 10 seconds.
  • Move the dipped broccoli to a cutting board.
  • Use a knife to easily separate the cooled head into pieces.

Four Kitchen Tools with Secret Uses

Everyone is multitasking these days. Your kitchen tools and gadgets should be no exception. Sure, many of us have used the tip of a knife to pry out a wine bottle’s cork in a pinch, or flipped pancakes with a big fork if we’ve lost track of our spatula, but some kitchen tools are just made to do more than one thing pretty easily. Here are some of our favorite double-duty kitchen tool hacks:
Spaghetti Spoon = Pasta Serving Guide. This might be the oddest looking spoon in our kitchen collection. It’s rounded like a ladle, has spaced-out prongs on the sides and usually a hole in the middle. It’s great for scooping spaghetti or other shapes of pasta out of boiling water, leaving all the water behind. But don’t forget that whole in the middle. It’s typically the same size as a serving of dry spaghetti. So if you’re not sure how much spaghetti to make per person, use the amount that will slide into that hole as a per-serving guide. 
Tongs = Citrus Juicer. We use tongs to flip bacon, slide burgers across the grill, even capture a big serving of tossed salad. But don’t overlook their use as a handy citrus juicer. If you need to juice a lemon or lime for a recipe, slice the fruit in half, pick it up with the tongs and give it a good squeeze. You’ll have your juice in seconds.  
Coffee Grinder = Spice Grinder. Electric coffee grinders that you can plug in on your countertop magically make mornings better when they are whirring up a fresh batch of coffee beans for your cup of joe. But they are also handy for grinding whole spices. Need some ground cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon or other spices for your cooking or baking? Drop the pieces into the coffee grinder and give them a whirl. You’ll have freshly-ground spices in seconds.
Pizza Cutter = Herb Cutter. Gone are the days of finding your sharpest knife to carefully mince a bunch of fresh herbs while trying to protect your fingers from the blade. Step up your slicing game by grabbing your wheeled pizza cutter and let it do the work faster and more efficiently. Start with a fresh bunch of herbs, lay them on your cutting board and use the pizza wheel to mince only as much as you need.
Photo credit: Getty Images

A Healthier Michigan is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.
No Personal Healthcare Advice or Other Advice
This Web site provides general educational information on health-related issues and provides access to health-related resources for the convenience of our users. This site and its health-related information and resources are not a substitute for professional medical advice or for the care that patients receive from their physicians or other health care providers.
This site and its health-related information resources are not meant to be the practice of medicine, the practice of nursing, or to carry out any professional health care advice or service in the state where you live. Nothing in this Web site is to be used for medical or nursing diagnosis or professional treatment.
Always seek the advice of your physician or other licensed health care provider. Always consult your health care provider before beginning any new treatment, or if you have any questions regarding a health condition. You should not disregard medical advice, or delay seeking medical advice, because of something you read in this site.