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Collection of Kitchen Tips and Tricks

SEAFOOD

1) Shrimps that have been peeled and deveined before freezing lose its flavor and texture.

2) Shrimps should not be overcooked or it will become tough and lose its sweet flavor. It usually takes about 3 minutes to cook them. When shrimps turn pink, they are done.

3) The best way to freeze fish is to use a vacuum sealer, an equipment that sucks all the air out from the package and keeps the fish from getting freezer burn.

4) Rubbing vinegar on the scales makes scaling of a fish easier.

5) To know how long to cook fish, measure at the thickest point, then allow 10 minutes per inch. This applies to all methods of cooking, such as broiling, frying, grilling, poaching, and steaming.

6) Fish is done when it flakes or flesh are opaque, falls apart easily and is uniform in color.

7) To ensure that fish does not shrivel up as it cooks, make small incisions in the skin or in the thin layer of nerve tissue beneath the skin.

8) Fish like carp is difficult to scale, but plunging the fish into boiling water for a few seconds makes scaling easier.

9) Fish are easier to scale before they are gutted

SOUP

1) If soup is too salty, drop in a slice of raw potato and it’ll reduce the saltiness.

2) Soups and stews should only simmer (NEVER BOIL) when cooking.

FRUITS & VEGETABLES

1) Wet onions make peeling easier.

2) Onions with skin on keep better in the refrigerator so do not peel the whole onion when you only a small portion required for your cooking. Instead, cut out the size you need and peel it.

3) To preserve the whiteness of the peeled lotus root, soak the root in a bowl of water that's pre-mixed of vinegar.

4) While storing green chilies, remove the stems. This will help them to stay fresh for long.

5) For extending the life of fresh tofu: Store tofu in water sprinkled with a pinch or two of salt and keep in the fridge .

6) Never refrigerate fresh tomatoes. Cold temperatures make the flesh of a tomato pulpy and destroys the flavor.

7) Freezing makes tofu thicker and firmer; it also makes it absorb sauces and flavors more readily. Drain before freezing it.

8) Dip overripe tomatoes in cold water, add some salt and leave overnight. They will be fresh and firm to the touch the next day.

9) Avoid preparing onions too far in advance, since they tend to lose their juice when cut, and it is absorbed by countertops and wooden cutting surfaces.

10) When boiling fresh sweet corn, don't add any salt to the water as this will only toughen the kernels. Instead, add a little sugar which will help sweeten the corn and keep the corn soft.

11) The skin of peeled fruits is very useful. Leave the skin to soak in your dishwashing liquid overnight and it will give off a refreshing and fruity aroma. You could also use the fruit peels (not the ones soaked in dishwashing liquid) as fertilizer for your plants by leaving them out on the soil. Your vegetable or flower patch will thrive.

12) To keep cauliflower white while cooking - add a little milk to the water.

13) Let raw potatoes stand in cold water for at least half an hour before frying to improve the crispness of french-fried potatoes.

14) Buy mushrooms before they "open." When stems and caps are attached snugly, mushrooms are truly fresh.

15) Lettuce keeps better if you store in refrigerator without washing first so that the leaves are dry. Wash the day you are going to use.

16) Microwave a lemon for 15 seconds and double the juice you get before squeezing.

17) Microwave garlic cloves for 15 seconds and the skins slip right off. 

18) The best way to store fresh celery is to wrap it in aluminum foil and put it in the refrigerator--it will keep for weeks.

19) A dampened paper towel or terry cloth brushed downward on a cob of corn will remove every strand of corn silk. 

20) When mincing garlic, sprinkle on a little salt so the pieces won't stick to your knife or cutting board. 

21) Sunlight doesn't ripen tomatoes, warmth does. Store tomatoes with stems  pointed down and they will stay fresher, longer.

22) Lemons stored in a sealed jar of water will produce twice the juice.

23) When using dried beans and peas, keep in mind that 1 cup dry beans  or peas makes 2 1/2 cups cooked.

EGGS

1) To determine whether an egg is hard-boiled, spin it, if it spins, it is hard boiled, if it wobbles and will not spin it is raw.

2) Hard boiled eggs will peel easily when cracked and placed in cold water immediately after taking out of the hot water.

3) To determine whether an egg is fresh, immerse it in a pan of cool, salted water. If it sinks, it is fresh if it rises to the surface, throw it away.

4) Add a pinch of salt to the water before hard-boiling an egg makes peeling a lot easier.

5) Eggs age more in one day at room temperature than in one week in the refrigerator.

6) Sprinkle heavily with salt for easy clean up on raw egg dropped on the floor.

7) For color coated hard boiled eggs that are spotless and even, try the following tip: When mixing the color in a bowl of water, add a drop of vinegar.

8) Cold eggs are easier to separate.

9) Shell eggs should be wiped clean if necessary and stored in a cool, dry place. While eggs will keep in your refrigerator for several weeks, they can lose some quality.

10) Eggs readily absorb odors and should not be kept near strong smelling foods in open containers like onions and garlic.

11) Sometimes, you'll only need either egg whites or egg yolks for a recipe. Once out of the shell, you can keep eggs whites for about a week in the refrigerator and egg yolks will keep for two or three days (although they should be covered with water).

12) To get the greatest volume when whipping egg whites, let the egg whites come to room temperature first.

13) DO NOT use aluminum bowl to beat egg whites in or it will discolor the whites.

14) A fresh egg will stays on its side if placed into a bowl of salted cool water. If it stands up, it isn’t fresh. If it floats to the top, it’s spoiled.

15) If an egg is fresh, its egg white is thick. If it’s runny, it’s not.

16) When slicing a hard boiled egg, try wetting the knife just before cutting. If that doesn't do the trick, try applying a bit of cooking spray to the edge.

17) Fresh eggs' shells are rough and chalky; old eggs are smooth and shiny. 

18) To remove egg shells from a batter, use the remaining shell to attract the piece.

19) Egg whites should always be at room temperature before whipping. Be certain there is no yolk in the whites and that the bowl and beaters are perfectly clean. Cream, on the other hand, should be well-chilled. For the largest volume, chill the bowl and beaters before whipping. 

20) Keep bananas a couple of days longer by storing them in the refrigerator after they've reached the desired degree of ripeness. The outside will turn brown, but they will still be light-colored on the inside.

21) Keep cut fruits, such as apples, pears, bananas and peaches, from turning brown by coating them with an acidic juice such as lemon, orange or pineapple juice. Or use a commercial anti-darkening preparation with fruits, such as Ever-Fresh (TM) or Fruit-Fresh (R), and follow the manufacturer's directions. Cut fruits as close to serving time as possible.

HERBS

1) 1 tsp. dried herbs = 1 TB fresh herbs

2) Dried herbs have a more intense taste than fresh ones. A general rule of thumb is to use one third the amount of dried herbs as fresh. For optimum flavor, crush dried herbs slightly between your fingers before you add them in a recipe.

3) Dried herbs in cardboard boxes get stale quicker than bottled ones. Once you open a box of herbs, transfer the contents to a small bottle or plastic container.

4) Store freshly cut basil on your kitchen counter in a glass with the water level covering only the stems. Change the water occasionally. It will keep for weeks this way, even develop roots! Basil hates to be cold, so NEVER put it in the refrigerator. Also, regular cutting encourages new growth and healthier plants. 

MEAT

1) A roast with the bone in will cook faster than a boneless roast - the bone carries the heat to the inside of the roast quicker.

2) It's important to let a roast -- beef, pork, lamb or poultry --  sit a little while before carving. That allows the juices to retreat back into the meat. If you carve a roast too soon, much of its goodness will spill out onto the carving board.

3) Thaw frozen meat and poultry in the refrigerator and not on the kitchen counter where bacteria can grow.




 

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Last Modified: 11/28/11.