Here are some fruit & vegetable tips from
those thin white plastic bags you brought ice cream home in! Once the
bananas have reached the "perfect" ripeness, place them in one of
those white plastic bags and store in the refrigerator. They will remain
"firm textured" and retain their bright yellow color for up to a
past their prime? Then peel, slice or leave whole and freeze in a single
layer on a cookie sheet. Once frozen, place bananas in a plastic freezer
zipper bag. Use thawed in any recipe calling for mashed bananas.
get superb flavor as well as protection from discoloration if you sprinkle
avocado with fresh limejuice instead of lemon juice.
ripen green pears, place 2 or 3 in a brown bag, loosely closed, and store at
room temperature out of direct sunlight.
ripen a tomato fast, put it with an apple in a perforated bag or a covered
bowl. The apple gives off ethylene gas that speeds the ripening process.
keep cut apple slices from turning brown, sprinkle them with a little lemon
juice or lemon-lime soda. Great for kid's brown bag lunches!
refrigerate those tomatoes you just purchased at the local market! Instead,
store them stem-side down in a basket or bowl on your kitchen counter or
table and they will continue to ripen, improving their flavor and texture.
Refrigerate after desired ripeness is reached.
squeeze fresh tomatoes to remove the seeds because it makes them mushy.
Instead, scoop the seeds out with a teaspoon or very clean fingers!
keep cauliflower snowy as it cooks, add 2 tablespoons lemon juice or white
vinegar to the cooking water.
a rule, flat-leafed parsley is best for cooking. Curly-leaf parsley is best
boiling corn on the cob, add a pinch of sugar to help bring out the corn's
natural sweetness! (Remember not to overcook, which can toughen the kernels.
About 3 minutes is all it takes.)
quickly and easily remove the core from iceberg lettuce, firmly smack
lettuce core-side down on the kitchen counter top and simply twist the core
a good buy on sweet or bell peppers, then find you don't have the time to
prepare them before they go "bad"? Don't let them go to waste.
Seed and chop those peppers and toss them in a freezer bag. Next time a
recipe calls for chopped bell pepper, just grab what you need out of the
purchasing fresh mushrooms, always use a brown paper bag to hold them
instead of a plastic bag. Store unwashed mushrooms in the paper bag in your
refrigerator's vegetable drawer. They will retain freshness twice as long
than if stored in a plastic bag.
keep potatoes from budding, place an apple in the bag with the potatoes.
this little trick the next time you serve onions raw either as a garnish or
in a recipe. After chopping or slicing the onion, place prepared onion in a
bowl and fill with water to cover the onions. Toss in a few ice cubes and
allow to soak for about 15 to 20 minutes, or up to 1 hour. Drain well before
serving. You will have the crispiest, sweetest, best tasting onion ever.
more than one way to get the most juice from a lemon or lime. Roll them
under the palm of your hand on the counter, heat for a few seconds in the
microwave are two. The best way I have found is to simply cut the fruit in
half and using the tines of a dinner fork, ream the inside while squeezing.
You will be amazed at the amount of juice you get with very little work.
peel garlic easily, you have several choices. One is to place a large
butcher-type knife (flat side of blade down) on top of the clove and then
whack the flat surface of blade as hard as you can. Not only does the
peel release but you have partially crushed the clove. You can microwave the
cloves for a few seconds until the peel is loose. Another method is the
rubber tube product that can be purchased almost anywhere and is very
inexpensive. You can put several cloves of similar size in at one time, roll
with the palm of your hand, and the peels are off. A garlic crusher will
remove the peel, but is messy and you will always lose a bit of the garlic
that becomes trapped in the contraption!
lemon, orange and grapefruit rinds in the freezer; grate as needed for pies,
cakes and cookies.
beans, peas and other vegetables will lose sweetness as sugar in their
tissues turns to starch. Store dry and unwashed in plastic bags in the
squash is mature when you cannot pierce the skin with your thumbnail. If the
squash has a soft skin, it means the squash is old and past its peak.
salad greens with a knife may cause discoloration and bruising. Gently
tearing the leaves is better and makes a more attractive salad.
retain the white color of fresh mushrooms, slice just before using or dip in
can add garlic flavor to salads by rubbing halved garlic cloves around the
inside of the salad bowl(s).
easily remove the white membrane when peeling an orange, soak the unpeeled
orange in boiling water for 5 minutes. Superb for salads!
time you serve sliced cucumber in a recipe, pull the tines of a sharp fork
down the length of an unpeeled cucumber before slicing it to give the slices
a fancy look.
should use canned, not fresh, pineapple in gelatin salads. A natural enzyme
in the fresh fruit will prevent the gelatin from setting.
can simmer asparagus peelings into a stock that can be used as a base for
bottled lemon or limejuice in a spray mister in the refrigerator and spray
on cut apples, avocados, peaches, pears, etcetera, to prevent these types of
foods from turning brown.
won't waste any grated citrus zest if you use a kitchen brush to coax every
last bit off the grater.
always have fresh ginger on hand for a recipe, you can freeze it either
peeled or unpeeled. An added plus -- freezing releases the juices and makes
it easier to crush.
should not cook mushrooms in aluminum pans because the mushrooms will
can revive wilted celery sticks by placing them in a bowl of ice water for
juicier citrus fruits, microwave at 100% power, for about 45 seconds per
keep fresh herbs fresh, remember that they like carbon dioxide. So put them
in a plastic bag, blow air into the bag as if it were a balloon, and seal it
C is water-soluble and heat-sensitive. Cooking vegetables for a short a time
as possible is nutritionally wise. When cooking in water, have the water
boiling before you add the vegetables.
a wooden spoon to seed melons like cantaloupe and honeydew rather than a
metal one that might gouge the flesh.
get the most flavor from fresh parsley, stem it, leaving only the leaves.
Put the leaves in a deep bowl and snip them with sharp scissors. This way
they won't turn to mush as they do when chopped with a knife or in a food
such as cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage often give off unpleasant odors
during cooking. A large piece of stale bread added to the pot as the water
begins to boil will counteract both.
selecting onions, consider all the possibilities. The Spanish or Bermuda
onion and the white onion are usually mild in flavor; on the other hand,
Globe types, such as red, brown and yellow onions are stronger flavored.
prevent wilting and flavor change, rinse green, leafy vegetables under cool
water, and drain thoroughly. Wrap in paper towels, place in plastic bags,
and store the vegetable bin of the refrigerator.
chopping onions in the food processor, peel and quarter them and freeze for
30 minutes. This will minimize both mushiness and tears.
you add a little vinegar to the water when boiling peeled potatoes, it
causes them to form a light crust that helps hold their shape when combined
with other foods - an added plus when making potato salad.
shouldn't be cooked at a rolling boil because they can turn acidic. For
sweet and mellow tomatoes or sauce, simmer slowly...no additional sugar is
use canned, not fresh, pineapple in gelatin salads. A natural enzyme in the
fresh fruit will prevent the gelatin from setting.
Valentino of Indio, California, shares this great tip: A teaspoon or so of
baking powder will make your mashed potatoes light and fluffy.
pit a mango, stand the fruit on its butt end, then with a sharp knife cut
from top to bottom skirting the big central pit. Score the flesh in a
crisscross pattern, cutting to but not through the skin. Partially turn each
piece inside out so the skin domes upward, exposing the cubes of flesh.
green mangoes and papayas will ripen quickly at room temperature, especially
if placed in a paper bag. Refrigerate completely ripe fruit in a plastic bag
and use as soon as possible.