We love to play with food as Thanksgiving approaches! Here are a few (among many) of our favorite ways to make life a little easier in the kitchen during this time of feasting…

No more garlicky hands: If your hands smell like garlic or onion, take a piece of flatware—any metal spoon, dull knife or fork will do. Pretend it’s a bar of soap, and wash your hands with it under cool water. No special kind of metal needed! The garlic or onion smell will disappear in seconds. Now you can go back to cooking without a soapy smell on your hands.

Better way to chop celery: Instead of taking off a single stalk and chopping it, simply wash the whole bunch and chop a little from the top of all the stalks. That will produce just the amount you need for a recipe and make it easier to store the rest—the bunch will stay fresh longer, and you can continue using a little of it at a time. (Thanks to America’s Test Kitchen for this tip.)

Do-ahead food prep: Don’t spend your Thanksgiving peeling! You can peel potatoes for mashed potatoes ahead of time. Add one teaspoon of white vinegar to a large bowl of cold water. Add your peeled potatoes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. The peeled spuds will stay good this way for two to three days. Keep your apple-pie apples from turning brown (without lemon juice): If you want a fresh apple pie the day of your big meal, make your crust and peel your apples the day before. To keep them from turning brown, add the peeled and cut-up apple pieces to a mixture of one-quarter teaspoon of salt and two cups of room-temperature water. The salt-to-water ratio will keep your apples from oxidizing…and they will not taste salty, even if they sit in this mixture overnight.

Easy-grab food cover: They’re known for hair hackery, but shower caps are not limited to the bathroom. Use them in the kitchen to cover leftovers. If you know you’re going to be handing out extra turkey and stuffing, pick up a few cheap shower caps at the dollar store.

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