Whether you’re cooking for a large group or simply solo on a weeknight, preparing ingredients can be a time-intensive affair. Rest assured, we’re here to help. Below are some of our favorite time-saving meal prep ideas to speed up that pesky prep-work. From tools like a garlic press to swift tricks for beautifully sliced herbs and leafy greens, we’ve got it all, and we’re ready to share!
1. Mincing Garlic
We’re firm believers that you can never have too much garlic. However, thanks to its small cloves and sticky flesh, mincing garlic can be a less-than-fun task. We have two recommendations for you. First, consider a garlic press! This genius tool takes the time and energy out of mincing garlic, and it’s as easy as peel and press! Second, if you don’t have a garlic press, but do have a microplane or other handheld grater, simply grate the garlic! It’ll take less time—just be careful of your fingers.
2. Prepping Green Beans and Asparagus
If you find yourself spending hours chopping off green bean tails or woody asparagus stems, think again! Simply stack the beans or asparagus on top of each other, grab a sharp knife and slice them all in one fell swoop. Alternatively, you can snap the ends off with your hands.
3. Removing Ginger Skin
Ginger skin can be trimmed with a knife, but if you have a metal spoon handy, it’s even easier: Scrape the edge of the spoon along the outside of the ginger to quickly peel its delicate skin.
4. De-stemming Herbs
To strip herbs off of their stem, rather than tediously picking them off individually, pinch the stem near the top with one hand, then slide the fingers of your other hand down the length of the stem from top to bottom. Voilà!
5. Chiffonading Herbs
You know those gorgeous strands of herbs you’ve seen artfully sprinkled atop a restaurant dish? You too can achieve this level of plating beauty. The technique, called chiffonade, is actually very simple: Stack leaves on top of one another, roll them up, and cut the roll crosswise into thin slices. Separate them with your fingers, and you’re done! Pro tip: If you have a stack of leafy greens like kale or collards to slice, stack them up too and slice away—no rolling necessary.
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