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Classic cooking tips that prove Grandma knows best


We could all take a leaf out of grandma’s cookbook from time to time. Whether it’s on avoiding food waste, whipping up exceptional loaves of bread and cakes, or feeding a crowd, she likely has some stellar cooking advice. Here we round up some classic tips that prove grandma always knows best.



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Sure, they might seem a little old fashioned but these little dishes help ensure your butter is always spreadable. Keeping butter at room temperature will mean it glides smoothly onto bread and other baked goods without any unwanted lumps and bumps.



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Fed up with your sugar turning clumpy and hard? This never happens to grandma because she keeps it in an airtight container. Brown sugar clumps when it has been exposed to too much air and has dried out. For white sugar, too much moisture causes the same reaction. Store sugar in a tightly sealed mason jar to solve the problem.



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You might have ignored this piece of wisdom, however it’s surprisingly important. Before you begin baking, make sure eggs and butter stored in the fridge have come up to room temperature. Just as warm butter is better to mix, room-temperature eggs blend into batter more easily and make for lighter, more consistent bakes.



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We’re all guilty of throwing out fruit from time to time – except for our grandmas, who are experts at avoiding food waste. Think: what would grandma do? Probably bake it into something exciting. When they’re whipped into a golden pie or fluffy muffins, old apples (or berries, or bananas) will take on a new lease of life.



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Do you remember your grandma using parchment paper to line cake tins before she started baking? While it may have seemed like needless fussing, it actually served a purpose. Firstly, it prevents the cake from sticking, so it’s easier to get out the tin. Secondly, lining the sides of the tin prevents the cake from becoming too dark.



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Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


Melting chocolate can be tricky, but if we’ve learned one thing from our grans it’s that patience is key. Heat chocolate slowly over a pan of simmering water, stirring it as you go, and remember to turn the hob off early as it will continue to melt over the residual heat. If it gets too hot or you rush the job, your delicious chocolate will go lumpy.



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Grandmas are genius at using up leftover food. If you’ve made a pie, don’t throw out the pastry scraps. Instead, gather the dough together, roll it out, sprinkle it with cheese, give it another roll, then cut it into fancy shapes. Bake and serve cheese straws with soup or as a snack.



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Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


Back in the day, growing your own fruit and veg was the ultimate money-saver. Make like your grandparents and have a go – it might not be cheaper, but we guarantee it will taste better than what you get in the supermarket. Begin with a plant you can keep on your windowsill such as tomato, chili, basil or lettuce.



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Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


You may have witnessed your grandma elegantly rolling a lemon, lime, grapefruit or orange underneath her palm before juicing it, and there’s a nifty reason she did this. Rolling the citrus fruit on a hard surface breaks down the cells on the inside, so when you cut it you can squeeze out more juice.



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A homely, comforting fish pie, mac ‘n’ cheese or casserole isn’t complete without grandma’s finishing touch: sprinkling crushed chips on top. This extra layer of crunch nearly always improves a dish and works with pretty much anything containing cheese, potato or served in a casserole dish.



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Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


“Just a touch more” is a phrase often heard at home and a useful tip when making informal meals. Let go of the need to always follow a recipe and taste as you go. Add a little more salt, a little more stock, a little more water – whatever you feel the dish needs. It’ll soon become second nature.



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There’s nothing worse than a curry sauce that’s too thin or a gravy that’s too watery. But there’s no need to despair: grandma would fix this with a spoon of cornflour. It’s a great way to thicken both sweet and savory sauces. Just remember to mix it with cold water first – otherwise the dish will go lumpy.



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Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


So many useful cooking tips came from our grandmas, such as removing green stems (a sign of sprouting) from garlic. If you’re eating it raw, for example in a salad dressing, it will taste bitter. However, if you’re cooking it in a stew, you shouldn’t notice the difference.



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Have you ever had a soggy stew? It’s not the worst but ideally your veg should still keep its shape. As carrots, potatoes, peas and pumpkin all take less time to cook than meat, add them towards the end to prevent overcooking. Around half an hour should be sufficient to soften them but leave some bite.



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One thing you’d never catch granny doing is letting stew bubble aggressively on the hob. While the dish is relatively hands-off, you still need to check back every now and again to give it a stir and make sure it’s simmering and the bottom isn’t scorching.



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If you have a large slick of oil on the surface of your finished dish, there are a couple of things you can do. Let the dish cool and skim it off with a spoon once it has turned hard. Alternatively, prevent it happening by trimming some of the fat from your meat before you start cooking.



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If you add fresh herbs to a bubbling pot they’ll lose their delicate, aromatic flavor. Instead wait until the dish is cooked then sprinkle them on top. The only exception to this is if your recipe asks for a bouquet garni – a bunch of bay leaves, thyme and parsley with stalks, tied up and cooked in the sauce to add more flavor, and removed at the end.



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Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


Grandma’s tip for making crispy, fluffy roast potatoes is to heat a dish containing fat in the oven first and allowing it to get incredibly hot before the potatoes go in. Goose fat works well as it gives the spuds a more luxurious flavor and crispy finish than oil. Then drop the parboiled potatoes in – the sizzle means it’s working.



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Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


If you’re making several dishes, keep the ones that are ready in the oven until the rest are done. This way the whole meal can be served hot and you don’t have to stress about timings. Just be sure the oven temperature is set very low to prevent food from continuing to cook.



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Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


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