Cookery Tips


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October 07

Honey

To retain honey's wonderfully luxuriant texture, always store it at room temperature; never in the refrigerator. If your honey becomes cloudy, don't worry. It's just crystallization, a natural process. Place your honey jar in warm water until the crystals disappear. If you're in a hurry, place it in a microwave-safe container and heat it in the microwave on HIGH for 2-3 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds. Remember, never boil or scorch honey.

 oct07a

Spices

Store spices in a cool, dark place. Humidity, light and heat will cause herbs and spices to lose their flavor more quickly. Although the most convenient place for your spice rack may be above your stove.

 oct07b

Herbs and ground spices

As a general rule, herbs and ground spices will retain their best flavors for a year. Whole spices may last for 3 to 5 years. Proper storage should result in longer freshness times.

oct07c 

Refrigerator

Because the refrigerator is a rather humid environment, storing herbs and spices there is not recommended. To keep larger quantities of spices fresh, store them in the freezer in tightly sealed containers.

 oct07d

Honey

When measuring honey, coat the measuring cup with non-stick cooking spray or vegetable oil before adding the honey. The honey will slide right out.

 oct07e

Saffron

Saffron is the dried, bright red stigmas of the flower Crocus sativus, which is a relatively easy-to-grow perennial. It lies dormant all summer, and then pushes its purple blossoms up through  the mulch just as other plants are succumbing to frost. Each blossom offers up to three scarlet stigmas. Plant the bulbs in summer and harvest the stigmas in fall. A starter supply of about 50 bulbs costs about 50 euro and will produce about a tablespoon of the spice the first year. However, each year more flowers will grow, and therefore you'll get more of the spice. Fresh saffron threads can be used immediately for cooking, or they can be dried and stored. To dry them, place on paper towels and leave for several days in a warm place. Then transfer them to an airtight container and keep in a cool, dry place.

 oct07f

Clarified butter

For clarified butter, slowly melt unsalted butter over low heat. Don't let the butter come to a boil, and don't stir it. This allows the milk solids to separate from the liquid butter. Once the butter has separated into three layers--foamy milk solids on top, clarified butter in the middle, and milk solids on the bottom--turn off the heat. Skim the foamy white solids from the top. Then ladle off the clarified butter. Be careful not to disturb the milk solids at the bottom of the pan. Clarified butter can be used immediately. Or, let it solidify and keep it in the refrigerator for up to three to four weeks. Just re melt to use.

 oct07g

Calories

Calories measure energy; both the energy the body needs and the energy in food. The following is a list of the amount of calories per gram for each of the primary sources of calories in the diet:

Protein...................................3.9

Carbohydrates.........................3.9

Fat.........................................8.8

Alcohol...................................7.0

 oct07h

Oysters

Fresh oysters should be closed tight, and kept either in fresh sea water or on a bed of ice. Never select shellfish that are open! Store oysters on ice until ready to serve. Cover them with a wet towel. 

 oct07i

Dental floss

Don't just keep dental floss in your medicine cabinet. Keep some in the kitchen. It's a great tool. Unflavored dental floss is often better than a knife to cleanly cut all kinds of soft foods, soft cheese, rolled dough, layered cake and cheesecake.

oct07j