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How to Prevent Water From Boiling Over on the Stove

Prevent Water From Boiling Over With This Simple Trick

I will never boil anything in a pot without my wooden spoon handy. Even though I attended culinary school, have worked in kitchens, and currently work as a food editor, I still neglect pots on the stovetop. I'll think, "I can get away with this" as I'm chatting on the phone or watching Netflix — only to be interrupted by the horrible hiss and sputter of the boiling water bubbling over onto the stainless steel burner head. If you look closely, you can see the past bubbled-over proof on all my pots.

Now, I never have to make this mistake again, thanks to this trick that turns a wooden spoon into the guardians of my boiling water. Here's what you do: simply rest the handle portion over the pot and step back. The handle will pop the bubbles, so they can't multiply and escape the lip of your pot. Not entirely satisfied with this half "scientific" answer, I turned to Wonder How To for an awesome explanation. Basically, the wooden spoon is hydrophobic, meaning when it comes in contact with the bubbles, it punctures the surface of the bubble, thus popping it. When water reaches boiling temperature, it begins to transform from a liquid to a vapor. Since the temperature of the wooden spoon is cooler than the bubbles, it transforms the vapor-filled bubbles back to liquid. Cool, right?

Here are a few caveats: the warmth from the bubbles will eventually heat the spoon up, so don't abandon the thing for too long. Once the spoon reaches the same temperature as the bubbles, it will no longer do its job, and you may find yourself with a case of the bubbled-overs. Also, if this technique is used often enough on the same spoon, it will cause the handle to warp, so put all your wooden-handled kitchen utensils on rotation.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Anna Monette Roberts
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