Summer has well and truly arrived, so it’s time to dust down your garden chairs and welcome the sun open-armed. Our way of doing that is giving you 15 helpful summer food, drink, and barbecue hacks.
1. Ice-cream saver.
We all need a cool down during the hot months, and what better way to do it than with a refreshing ice-cream? As we begin to unwrap the cold deliciousness, we somehow forget about the dreaded melting of the ice-cream that goes everywhere. How on Earth could we rid this kill-joy? The answer is simple: cupcake holders. Using cupcake holder wrappers, slide them over the ice-lolly stick or ice-cream cone, and you have your very own melt-catcher.
2. No more Starbucks.
To avoid the queues in Starbucks, cut costs, and still enjoy a delicious iced-coffee, look no further than coffee-flavoured ice cubes. This is a hack that you can prepare in advance and always keep stocked in the freezer over the summer months. Simply pour your pre-made coffee (choice of coffee is optional) into ice cube trays and pop them in the freezer. Then when you’re craving an iced-coffee, simply add some milk (sugar too if you wish) and you’re good to go.
3. It’s time to get infused.
We all know how important it is to stay hydrated when it’s warm, but we also know it can be quite a chore to stay on top of your water intake. So start upgrading your H2O with infused flavours. Use slices of lemon, cucumber, and even mint leaves to liven up your water bottle.
4. Where’s the bottle opener?
If you’re thinking of throwing a summer party then you’ll no doubt have a drinks tub full of ice, right? Now that’s covered, a quick hack to save you time as a host is to tie a bottle-opener to the tub. This will rule out any guests constantly asking for a bottle opener, giving you more time to relax and enjoy the sun.
5. Say goodbye to wooden sticks.
No more boring barbecue skewers: get ultimate flavour out of your cooking by using herbed skewers. Using the stalks of herbs such as rosemary to cook, they not only make your food taste delightful, but they also look a lot more appealing than handing someone a wooden stick.
6. Dishing out the ice-cream.
Before dishing out the ice-cream, be sure to warm your spoon to help make it easier to scoop the tasty goodness out of the tub. This hack will help to avoid any ice-cream mishaps, and might even prevent some spoons from breaking (it’s happened).
7. Prosecco popsicles.
Summer is definitely an occasion to celebrate in the sun with friends and family, so get popping open that prosecco. If the sun is out in full force, there’s nothing worse than warm bubbles in your glass. The solution? Prosecco popsicles! Add a flavoured Popsicle to your glass of prosecco to help keep it cool, and to also add a bit of a fruity twist.
8. Keep cool with frozen fruit.
If wine is more your choice of drink, instead of adding boring ice cubes to keep your drink refreshingly cold, try adding frozen grapes. This applies to all drinks and fruit. Using frozen fruit as a replacement for ice will keep your drink cool and not dilute the flavour. Plus, the fruit provides a tasty after-drink snack.
9. Locate your salad.
When the weather is hot, there’s nothing better than a light, crisp salad. If you’re finding it hard to keep your salads exciting, a good hack to look for inspiration is to use geography. Yes, that’s right: geography. Choose a country at random, and then only use ingredients from that country to mix up your salad. If you pick Greece, think feta and olives. If you pick Mexico, think avocados and beans.
10. Flavoured fire.
Give your barbecue food an edge by adding flavour to your fire. Choose a few of your favourite herbs and throw them on the coal just before you start to cook. This will help to infuse the flavours on the food you cook, plus it’ll make your barbecue smell delicious! Just be careful not to throw too many herbs on, and make sure they complement each other well. We don’t want your guests to have a mouth that tastes like an allotment.
11. Onion power.
One of the best barbecue hacks you may find: use a cut-in-half onion to clean the grill. Warm up the grill again first, then rub the onion firmly across it to get rid of any grit or dirt from last year’s summer barbecue. No chemicals or sprays are needed, so you won’t have to worry about having a funny aftertaste on your burgers.
12. Even more onion power.
Adding onions to your salad will help to give it a bit more flavour and add a crunch. Onions have a strong taste and smell that not everyone is a fan of. A hack to calm the potency is to soak onions in water before using them. This dilutes the power of the onion, but still gives you that flavour and crunch to your summer salad.
13. Prevent the stick.
The worse thing to happen when barbecuing is to have the food stick to the grill. This often happens when trying to cook fish, but there’s a hack to prevent it: lemons. Placing your fish on a bed of lemons will prevent the fish from sticking and flaking. Remember when you turn the fish over to make sure you place it back on the lemons, not on the grill.
14. Spiralling out of control.
Have you got the buns ready? Check. Have you got the onions ready? Check. Have you got the condiments ready? Check. But what you don’t have ready are the sausages. Before you put them on the grill, use a skewer to pierce the sausage lengthwise, and then cut the sausage diagonally as you’re turning the skewer. And voila! You have a spiral sausage and it’s ready for the grill. Using this technique will allow for a more even grill, plus its condiment heaven because the toppings won’t slide off. Oh, did we mention it looks really cool too?
15. Keep your salad fresh.
No one likes a soggy salad. Save dressing the leaves to the last minute by storing your dressing and vinaigrettes in either a bottle or small container. When you’re ready to eat, that’s when you dress your salad, giving you the perfect crisp and crunchy side-dish.
Now your head is full of hacks, it’s time to get in the sun and put them to work. If you have any more useful tips, give us a tweet @BritanniaLiving using #SummerHacks, or drop us a message on Facebook. Enjoy the sunshine!