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FOOD PREPARATION

natural cooking tips

Food Preparation Tips

Tips for Tools and Ovens

Pre-heat the oven for ten minutes before cooking.

To prevent food from sticking, heat the frying pan, then add oil.

You can tell if a pan is hot enough for cooking by getting your fingers wet and flicking them at the inside of the pan. If the water droplets sizzle and bounce around, the pan is ready.

Never cut beef, poultry or pork on a wooden cutting board. The germs in raw meats can be lethal, and fruits and vegetables cut on the same board later will pick up these germs since wood is porous. Use a separate cutting board for meats, and make it hard plastic. Bleach will probably kill all of the germs, but why allow chlorine to get into your food?

Freezing your grater for a few minutes first and cheese won't stick to it.

Put mixer beaters into hot water for a few minutes to heat them before creaming shortening.

Clean a grater with a vegetable brush or a soft toothbrush to save your fingers. (The toothbrush should be new and clean.)

To keep guacamole from turning brown, simply put the seed in the middle of the guacamole.

marinade

Marinating

Never reuse marinades that have come in contact with raw meat, chicken or fish. Putting cooked food back into the raw marinade will contaminate the food. Even the fork that moved meat when raw must not be used for the cooked meat.

Never use an aluminum bowl for marinating. The bowl will be damaged, and your food will be discolored.

colorful vegetables

Vegetables

Peel onions under running water to prevent tears.

Getting onions cold in the refrigerator before cutting them will prevent tears.

Bang a head of lettuce against the inside of your sink, and the core will come right out.

Rip lettuce apart instead of cutting, or use a plastic knife. A metal knife turns the cut edges brown.

Spin your lettuce dry. Wash the lettuce and put it in the middle of a kitchen towel. Go outside, hold both ends of the towel, and spin your arms in big circles. The water will fly out.

To spin lettuce dry indoors, use a plastic bag lined with several paper towels to catch the water.

You can easily just rub the skin off carrots after they have been cooked. You save the time and effort of peeling, and the extra nutrients in the skin are cooked into the food instead of being removed before cooking.

Working with jalapeno or other hot peppers can burn your hands. Soaking your hands in milk for a few minutes afterward will take away the burn.

Sweet potato peels will come right off if you first rub the skin with vegetable oil.

Fresh ginger will grate easier if you keep it in the refrigerator.

whipping eggs

More Food Preparation Tips

Eggs

Separate egg whites when the eggs are cold.

Whip egg whites after they have been allowed to set at room temperature for 30 minutes first, and you will get six to eight times the volume, and they'll whip up faster.

Never whip egg whites in an aluminum bowl; it will change their color and taste.

Get fluffier eggs by letting them set out and get to room temperature before beating.

Using a copper bowl to beat egg whites will give them more volume. But, do not use a copper bowl if you add cream of tartar.

Add a little milk to eggs for scrambling.

Add a little water to eggs for omelets or "scrambled" egg sandwich.

baking tips

Baking

Fill a pastry bag without spilling or mess by standing it up in a large glass or a vase. Fold the edges over the rim and you can use two hands to fill the bag.

Use a sandwich bag to hold the butter when buttering a dish or making Rice Krispies treats to keep your hands clean.

Shortening or butter should be packed into a measuring cup.

Flour should not be packed into a measuring cup. Just pour it in then "cut" off the top by passing a knife over the top.

Line your measuring cup with plastic wrap before adding shortening (or butter), and the shortening will come out easily and completely. Afterward, rub the greasy plastic over your elbows or over your hands if you're done in the kitchen.

cooking hints

Miscellaneous

Run the water from the tap for a few seconds before using it to eliminate built-up metals. When a recipe calls for hot water, make it hot in the microwave or on the stove -- water from the hot tap should not be used for cooking because hot water draws lead from the pipes and into the water.

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients to prevent lumps. If you add powder to liquid, it is almost impossible to get the lumps out.

Make buttermilk in a pinch by adding 1 tablespoon of vinegar to 1 cup of milk. Let stand for 5 minutes to thicken before using.

Remove fish scales easily by rubbing on vinegar 5 minutes before scaling.

Whip cream faster by using a cold bowl. Chill the beaters to make it faster still.

You need a larger amount of fresh spices than dried spices in recipes.

Keep a box of disposable gloves in the kithen. Wear a pair to bread items before cooking, to work with raw meat or poultry, or for doing any messy preparation. When done, remove the gloves instead of having to wash your hands.

Thaw frozen fish in milk to improve flavor, but take them out of the milk before cooking.

To ripen fruit quickly, put it into a bag along with one ripe piece of fruit. The ripe fruit gives off a little "ripening gas."

To crush corn flakes, pour them into a large plastic bag and go over it with a rolling pin.

Whenever possible, cook enough for more than one meal at a time. Leftovers give you a night off from cooking from scratch, and the extra food can be put into the freezer if you don't want the same meal two days in a row. Cooking extra saves clean-up and your energy, saves money on gas or electricity, and allows you to take advantage of the cost savings for buying in bulk.

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