5 Professional Food Hacks Everyone Should Know

How to keep your avocado fresh, poach perfect eggs and more

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Whether you're a culinary novice or a kitchen genius, every now and then you hear a cooking trick from someone that blows your mind a little. Whether it will help you finally master the perfect poached egg or balance the flavours in your pasta sauce, there's always more to learn to up your cooking game.

With that in mind, here's a few tips you can thank us for later.

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Poach eggs like a pro

If you're familiar with the eternal search for the perfect poached egg you'll have heard all the old wives tales about pot stirring and adding vinegar during cooking. But all of this is useless without first step: really fresh eggs. Head chef at Native Ivan Tisdall-Downes explained why to the Mirror "They have the richest yolks and hold their shape so there's no need for a ramekin, vinegar, or whisking the water! With a super fresh egg the inner membrane is strong, which will keep the albumin in tact around the egg yolk."

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Keep cake fresh

You might not be getting your Great British Bake Off on every weekend, but on the odd occasion you do get roped into baking for a birthday, you don't want to chuck half of it away when it goes stale.

New York pastry chef Raíza Costa has a trick that'll give your baked goods days more life. "Have some cake left over? In a few hours, it will start to dry out, unless you use a peeled apple. The moisture from the apple will let neither the cake nor the frosting dry out."

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Sweeten your sauces

If you're taking the time to whip up a pasta sauce (good on you by the way) sometimes the slog of frying onions, garlic and herbs is ruined by pouring in a tin of sour-tasting chopped tomatoes. Angela Hartnett, chef patron of three excellent Italian restaurants including Murano, recommends balancing the flavours with something sweet.

"I always add a pinch of sugar when using tinned tomatoes as it takes away the acidic taste but be careful not to make them too sweet, " she says. "Sugar also works in vinaigrettes, although again be careful to add just a pinch, it's like salt in some respects, so can be treated as a seasoning."

Keep your guacamole fresh

When you're not being charged extra for it at your local taco place, guacamole is a great dip to enjoy with crisps or by the spoonful alone when you're feeling low. It's usually quite unimpressive when bought pre-made from supermarkets so making your own is worth the effort if you know how to stop it going bad quickly.

Avocados turn brown when an enzyme called polyphenol oxidase interacts with oxygen in the air and causes oxidisation.

Epicurious suggests: "To prevent your guacamole from darkening, you need to keep it from interacting with the air. An avocado pit in the bowl will prevent only the guacamole directly under it from coming into contact with the air."

They also recommend squeezing in some lime juice which will delay the oxidisation process and tastes damn good too.

Get more squeeze from your lemons

Even if you've bothered to purchase a lemon squeezer, getting the most from citrus fruit can be difficult if they're kept in the fridge.Isaac McHale, chef and owner of the Clove Club and Luca recommends warming the fruit to get the most juice of them fastest. This is particularly useful if you haven't yet got round to buying that squeezer.

"Bring them out the fridge and put them in the sun for half an hour, or give them five seconds in the microwave," he suggests. "It's best to always try to eat fruit warm – just about room temperature – rather than straight out the fridge."