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.
Refrigerated apples last up to 10 times longer than those left at room
temperature. To prevent apples from speeding up the ripening process of other
items in your produce drawer, store them in a plastic bag.
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 perfection!
Instead of blanching cabbage leaves to wilt them for stuffing, simply leave the
whole head in the freezer overnight.
Wrap celery in aluminum foil when putting in the refrigerator, and it will keep
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.
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
seconds, let stand a couple of minutes before cutting and squeezing them.
Rolling it between your counter and hand also does the trick.
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.
Drawer: Line the bottom with a paper towel to absorb liquids that make veggies
Vegetables: These are an important staple, a quick way to separate them is to
pour boiling water over them in a colander and then add them to your casserole
or stove-top dish to finish cooking.
To mince a garlic clove quickly, rub it over the tines of the back side of a
fork. Save yourself lots of time by always 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 chef's 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 running water.
Peppers: When working with fresh chiles and peppers, wear disposable gloves.
Don't handle the peppers under water (it extracts painful vapors).
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 loosely 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.
Mushrooms soak up water like a sponge, then release it later 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.
& 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.
Fresh parsley can be frozen. Wash the parsley and pat dry. Chop up the parsley
and put it in a Ziploc freezer bag, and put in freezer. When you need some
parsley, just take out what you need! Parsley can be kept fresh longer in the
refrigerator by wrapping it in moistened paper towels and placing in a plastic
bag. To have bright, crisp parsley for winter, spread freshly gathered parsley
on a piece of paper and place in a cool oven with the doors left open. As soon
as this is dry, crush the leaves and put in a bottle with a cork stopper. The
parsley will retain its green color and fresh taste this way. When picking
parsley, look for a lively, bright green bunch. There are two common varieties
of parsley. Curly leaf parsley is relatively mild. Flat leaf (or Italian)
parsley has a stronger flavor.
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.
When buying fresh peppers, choose those that are a little wrinkled but still
unblemished. Wrinkling indicates mellowness.
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, and more. Once ripe,
refrigerate the produce to preserve vitamins.