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Don’t believe everything you see on TikTok.

By Annie Campbell
February 25, 2021
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Food "hacks" are everywhere nowadays, and it seems like everyone thinks they have a better way to perform mundane kitchen tasks. In some cases, YES, absolutely. Applause to you. But as for the other times, some jobs are just better done the old-fashioned way. 

Here, we tested 11 of the most popular food hacks and tricks from TikTok to find out which ones could actually change your life. 

For Real: Milking a Cucumber

Ever heard of this trick? Some people swear the simple and easy trick makes the cuke taste sweeter, fresher, and just overall, better. That's because the simple motion draws out a compound called cucurbitacin that holds much of the bitter flavor you taste from a bite of cucumber. Some store more of the bitter substance than others, depending on when and where they were grown. 

And you know what, it totally works! Within seconds you can see the "milky" paste collecting right around the skin. Yes, it looks gross, but yes, it also improves the flavor. 

Intrigued? Here's how to do it. Simply cut off the tip of a cucumber, then rub the cut edges together in a quick, circular motion until a foamy substance accumulates. Keep going until you don't see any more coming out, then remove the "milk" with a paper towel, slice, and enjoy!

For Real: Removing Chicken Tendons With a Fork

Whether you've tried to remove tendons from chicken tenders before, or you've bit into one unexpectedly, you know they can be a real pain. Well, here is an easy (and proven) way to get rid of that problem for good. Place the raw chicken tender on a cutting board then grab the white "tab" of the tendon with a paper towel (to help your grip). Slide the prongs of the fork around the tab, then swiftly push down with the fork as you pull up on the tendon. Voila! It will slide right out, no-mess, no-fuss. 

Overrated: Flipping a Sandwich with a Pan

Many minds were blown when they saw this clip of someone flipping the entire pan, rather than a spatula, to flip a grilled cheese. Looks cool, right? And this hack definitely works. However, the practicality of it is a little questionable. This method is very dependent on what you're cooking and what else remains in the pan. Sandwich crumbs, spillage, or oil could potentially be dumped all over your cooktop or even into an open flame. BAD NEWS. Let's agree to flip the old-fashioned way, because using a spatula really isn't that difficult.

For Real: Chilling Wine with Grapes

This is a hack for the wine lovers out there who simply can't wait for 2 hours of chill time to pop the cork on their bottle. Here's the solution: keep frozen grapes in your freezer at all times. Just freeze a bunch of grapes (green for white wine, red for red), place a handful in your wine glass, then pour your room-temp wine over top. In seconds, your wine will become chilled to perfection without being watered down by melting ice — not to mention, the grapes look like a cute accessory for your beverage. 

Overrated: Cracking an Egg with a Drop

Some people have found that by dropping an egg directly into a pan, wider side down, the egg will crack perfectly in half, releasing the yolk and leaving no shell behind. This sounds so good in theory — less dishes, less time, less failed attempts. However, after trying this hack multiple times, I have to call it a dud. Not only did the egg barely crack, but the egg white spilled out keeping the yolk inside, which led to a very unevenly cooked breakfast. 

For Real: Reverse Water Straining

This hack is really one of those, "Why didn't I think of that?" tricks. Get rid of all the stress (and sometimes pain) of straining liquid out of your cooked food by placing the strainer on top of your pot and pouring the liquid directly into your sink. Gone are the days of pouring your pasta into a colander sitting in a (potentially pretty nasty) sink, or needing someone else to steady the strainer as you scald them with steam. Also, if you need reserved pasta water for your recipe, you can pour the water directly into a measuring cup. This hack is the ultimate dinner win. 

For Real: Soaking Berries For Bugs

Did you know some fruits (strawberries in particular) can be inhabited by tiny bugs? We don't like to talk about it either, but it's true. Eggs, which develop into larvae, can be laid under the interior of thin-skinned fruits, and might still be in there when they reach your plate. Luckily, there's an easy method to draw them out. Soak your bowl of fruit in a salt-water solution of one cup water to one tablespoon salt. Within 15 minutes, any berry bugs that have been in your fruit should emerge. If they don't, then your batch is bug-free!

Don't stress if you've never attempted (or even heard of) this hack. These bugs are totally harmless and won't change the flavor of your produce. 

For Real: Freezing a Bottled Frappuccino 

If you've ever picked up a bottled Starbucks Frappuccino from the grocery store, you've probably put it directly into your fridge. Well, this hack will give you a new way to sip your store-bought frapp. Place the drink in the freezer for 2-3 hours (don't worry, it won't explode), then shake the bottle vigorously while the top is still on. What you'll get is an icy, slushy drink mix that tastes WAY more like what you'd be served at the coffee shop. Mix it up with a straw, pour it into a glass, top it with whipped cream, and you'll never leave the couch for another coffee run again. 

For Real: Peeling Mango with a Wine Glass

Mango is sweet to eat, but a real pain to serve. Most of us probably just eat it over the sink, not even caring to mess with the difficult slicing process. Well, here's an easy (and oddly satisfying) way to get the job done. Cut off the cheeks of a ripe mango, then cut each slice in two. Using a thin-rimmed glass, slide the edge of the glass in between the skin and the flesh of the fruit. Slide all the way down, curving along the edge of the mango. The fruit should drop directly into your glass with only the small sliver of skin left behind. 

Overrated: Cutting Cake with a Wine Glass

Rather than cutting and serving a cake the traditional way, people are loving this new trend of doing the job with a wine glass. Flip a glass upside down, then plunge the glass into the cake until you hit the bottom. Then turn the glass upright again and eat with a fork. This method is quick, easy, and fun. However, there are some indisputable downsides. 

The entire aesthetic of the cake is ruined by this hack; the layers, icing, and decorations all turn into a pile of mush. Even worse, the task of after-cake clean-up becomes far more undesirable, as hand-washing cake out of multiple wine glasses is much more of a pain than sticking plates in a dishwasher. Turns out, this hack is more of an inconvenience than a solution.

Overrated: Peeling Eggs by Blowing

Peeling hard-boiled eggs can be such a pain, it's fun to see a solution in sight. Especially with no extra tools required. But this might not be the answer we've been looking for. Some people online have been able to blow the shells off eggs simply by using the air in their mouth. 

Here's how it's done: Crack the egg gently on the top and bottom of the egg in order to peel off a small hole from each end. Put your mouth to the narrower end of the egg, and blow, HARD. We tested this trick time and time again, hoping desperately for some kind of egg-in-shell movement, but all we ended up with was some popped eardrums. On final consensus, we decided that there are more reliable (and sanitary ways) to go about the job.