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04-09-2008, 02:11 PM #1Barbara HGuest
Getting themost out of your produce
Borrowed from another group Add Flavor With Food Waste: Save the loose skin on onions and garlic to
toss into the fire just before grilling meats or vegetables. And throw
dry fennel tops on the fire when grilling fish.
Apples: Refrigerated apples last up to 10 times longer than those left
at room temp. To prevent apples from speeding up the ripening process of
other items in your produce drawer store them in a plastic or brown
Asparagus: Always store uncooked asparagus in the refrigerator upright
in a container of water (about 1"-2"). For tender asparagus, gently bend
a spear until it breaks. The natural breaking point should separate the
tender spear from the tough end. Dispose of the end pieces and steam to
Cabbage: Instead of blanching cabbage leaves to wilt them for stuffing,
simply leave the whole head in the freezer overnight.
Celery: Wrap celery
in foil when putting in the refrigerator and it will
keep for weeks.
Chopped Onions & Green Peppers: You can buy frozen chopped onion or
green peppers for a quick recipe shortcut, or since they freeze so well,
chop a whole bunch at once and freeze them in single servings.
Chopping Onions & Grating Horseradish: Hate how your eyes water? Tear
off a section of a slice of bread (I prefer to use the heel, as I don't
eat it) and place it between your lips, allowing it to protrude from
your mouth while cutting.
Citrus Fruit Juice: To get the most juice out of fresh lemons, limes and
oranges, bring them to room temperature and roll them under your palm
against the kitchen counter before squeezing. Another method is to
microwave fruit on high for 30 secs let stand a couple of mins before
cutting and squeezing them.
Citrus Zest: Before you squeeze juice from a lemon, grate off the rind
into a freezer bag and
freeze. Then when a recipe calls for lemon zest
or rind, just pull it from the freezer. Sprinkle a little sugar over
citrus zest or fresh ginger before chopping. The sugar not only
dissolves and absorbs the juices but also helps spread the flavor.
Corn: When boiling corn, cooking for 3 mins is all that's necessary any
more time will only boil out the flavor.Instead of adding salt to the
boiling water add a pinch of sugar to bring out the natural sweetness of
Crisper Drawer: Line the bottom with a paper towel to absorb liquids
that make veggies wilt.
Frozen Vegetables: These are an important staple don't be embarrassed to
use them. No need to cook before adding to dishes; simply pour boiling
water over them in a colander and then add them to your casserole or
stove-top dish to finish cooking.
Garlic: To mince a garlic clove quickly, rub it over the tines of the
back side of a fork. Save yourself
lots of time by using jarred minced
garlic that can be found in the produce or condiment section of the
supermarket. Peel garlic by using the heel of your hand, press the flat
side of a wide knife onto an entire clove of garlic. You can then slip
the slightly crushed garlic from its skin. Hands smell after peeling
garlic? Rub hands with the rounded side of a stainless steel spoon under
Hot Peppers: When working with fresh chilies and peppers, wear
disposable gloves. Don't handle the peppers under water (it extracts
painful vapors). Remember, the spice comes from the white membrane
inside the pepper, not the skin or seeds.
Leafy Greens: The sooner you consume lettuce, spinach and other greens
after they are picked, the crisper they will be. Rinse not-so-fresh
greens under cool water to "revive" them. Dry by running the greens
through a salad spinner or wrapping them in dry towels. Place in a
closed bag and refrigerate 1 hour. Leafy greens are packed with
vitamins and minerals. When buying fresh greens, remember that they cook
down considerably. One pound of spinach or mustard greens will yield a
cup or two of cooked greens. Serve iceberg lettuce wedges instead of
torn salad greens to save time making a salad. Also, before
refrigerating iceberg lettuce, wash and remove the core so each time you
need some for salad it's clean and ready.
Leeks: To clean leeks: Cut off dark green top and discard or save for
stock. Trim root end, leaving base intact so that leek remains in one
piece. Starting 1/2" from base, slit leek through the other end; give it
a quarter turn and repeat, so the leek is quartered and the root end is
intact. Soak the leek in cold water or rinse it under running water,
gently spreading the leaves to remove any grit and dirt.
Mushrooms: Mushrooms soak up water like a sponge, then release it
while cooking (which can change the consistency of recipes). Try "dry
cleaning" your favorite fungi. You can find a "mushroom brush" with soft
bristles at most kitchen stores. Lightly moisten the brush (or a rag)
with water and gently wipe the mushrooms clean. Onion Leftovers: If you
need only 1/2 an onion save the root half. It will last longer.
Onion & Garlic Odors: To deodorize a plastic storage container in which
onions or garlic were stored, wash thoroughly, then stuff a crumpled
piece of newspaper in the container and snap on the lid. In a few days
the smell will disappear.
Parsley: Fresh parsley can be dried or frozen for later use. For either
method wash and dry parsley then chop. To freeze simply pace in a
plastic zipper bag and freeze.To dry, spread chopped parsley evenly on a
baking sheet and place in a 200 degree oven with the door slightly ajar.
Check occasionally and remove from oven with
completely dry. Store dried
parsley in an airtight container. When selecting parsley, remember that
the curly-leaf variety has a milder taste and the flat-leaf has a bold
Peeling Fruits and Vegetables: Vegetable peelers are good for more than
just carrots and potatoes. Use them to peel avocados, kiwi fruit, and
many more produce items. Try it out next time you need to peel something
difficult. To peel tomatoes, peaches and pears, scald them in boiling
water before peeling will allow you to peel their skins right off.
Peppers: When buying fresh peppers, choose those that are a little
wrinkled but still unblemished. Wrinkling indicates mellowness.
Potatoes: To keep them from budding, place an apple in the bag with
Ripening Fruits and Vegetables: Many fruits and vegetables found in
supermarkets today look ripe, but are hard as a rock. Soften them up by
placing them in a brown paper bag and
hiding the bag away in a dark
cabinet for a day or two. This is great for items such as avocados, kiwi
fruit, peaches, nectarines and more. Once ripe, refrigerate the produce
to preserve vitamins.
Saving Herbs For Winter: To preserve summer herbs for winter soups and
stews make herb cubes in the freezer. Chop up your herbs and place them
in ice cube trays, then cover with water and freeze. To preserve the
color and flavor use boiling water to fill the tray (this blanches the
herbs). Some herbs, like cilantro, keep better when frozen in oil. Mince
the herb in a food processor, then introduce olive oil until you produce
a fine puree. Pour into ice cube trays or bags and freeze. When
introducing the frozen herbs to recipes, remember that they contain
water or oil. If this will throw off the recipe's consistency, thaw and
drain the cubes first.
Tomatoes: Never refrigerate a tomato that is not fully ripe. Most
sold in stores are still ripening, and would benefit from a few
days on the counter. Cold temps alter the fruit's flavor and stop the
ripening process. Once ripe, a tomato can be refrigerated for several
days. To ripen a tomato fast, put it with an apple in a perforated bag.
To peel and seed tomatoes, cut out the core and score an "X" on the
bottom. Immerse in boiling water for 10 secs. Remove the tomato and
plunge into cold water. Remove the skin cut in half and squeeze out
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