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Quick Kitchen Cooking Tips

Try these tips for a successful kitchen experience.
  • When substituting maple syrup or honey for sugar in a recipe, reduce liquid content by 1/4 cup.

  • Oil the measuring cup or spoon before measuring out maple syrup and honey, so that these ingredients can release more easily.

  • Instead of adding salt to dressings and marinades, substitute miso paste. It adds more depth of flavor.

  • Always blend miso with a bit of liquid before adding it to a dish. This assures that it won’t break up into tiny beads that won’t dissolve.

  • Make sure your cast iron is well-seasoned before cooking anything acidic such as tomatoes, citrus, or vinegar.

  • Do not store cooked food in your cast iron in the fridge. The nonstick coating may be broken down by moisture in the food.

  • Liquids expand when they’re frozen. Leave a 1/2-inch head space at the top of the container before freezing liquid items.

  • To prevent stone fruits from browning when frozen, toss them with some lemon juice or white vinegar beforehand.

  • Freeze small portions of reduced-down stocks to later drop into soups, stews, and sauces.

  • Arrowroot adds shine and body when used as a thickener for sauces.

  • Ground nuts will absorb any liquid they are simmered in and will add substance to stews, chilis, and curries. Try adding ground cashews to Indian curries or ground almonds to Mexican moles.

  • For flavor and depth (with no fat), add tomato paste and other pureed, cooked vegetables to sauces. If you wish, strain the sauce for a smoother texture.

  • For a deep potato taste, consider baking instead of boiling potatoes when making mashed potatoes. They may not be super smooth, but they will have a lot more flavor.

  • Make sure to mash potatoes when they’re piping hot. If you wait until they’re cool, they can become gummy. Also make sure that any liquids you add are preheated too.

  • Always beat egg whites in a copper, glass, or stainless steel bowl—never plastic.

  • To properly grate peels from citrus fruits, move the fruit back and forth against the grater. Stop when you reach the bitter white pith. Use firm citrus fruits to get more grated peel.

  • To get rid of odors on cutting boards, rub a cut lemon over the board before washing it. Or sprinkle some baking soda and water on the surface and scrub this mixture away.

  • Sea salt can corrode metal containers, so store it in a glass, wood, clay, or pottery container.

  • To salt or not to salt? Small eggplants do not require a salting process to remove their bitterness. Large ones generally do. Salt can help remove the bitter alkaloid solanine, as well as help reduce the vegetable’s water content. For a salt-free method of removing bitterness, peel the eggplant as well as the layer of flesh that’s closest to the skin.

  • Squeeze lemon juice over a cut avocado to prevent it from browning. Rinsing the cut surface of the avocado can also prevent browning—at least for a few hours.

  • For long-lasting, fresh tomatoes select those that are heavy in size with their stems still attached.

  • Store chile peppers for no more than a couple of days in the fridge’s crisper. If they’re stored at room temperature, they tend to go limp.

  • If a jar of honey crystallizes, place the jar in warm water until the crystals dissolve.

  • Add 1 teaspoon of salt to cold water before boiling eggs. This will prevent any cracks from developing in the shells.

  • Instead of overnight soaking, if you need to fast soak dried beans try this method: Boil them over medium heat for 10 minutes. Soak, covered, for 30 minutes. Cook until tender.

  • To remove fat from soups and stews, float large lettuce leaves in the soup or stew and remove them when they’re covered with the fat.

  • Don’t heat chives, or they’ll lose some of their vitamin C content as well as their digestive properties.

  • Store lettuce away from apples and bananas, both of which emit the gas ethylene that can cause brown spots.

  • Don’t wash salad greens until you’re ready to use them as they wilt rapidly.

  • Don’t overdress greens with too much dressing. They should just glisten.

  • Toast millet before you cook it, so the grains will stay well separated.

  • For a fruity breakfast porridge, boil millet or quinoa in your favorite fruit juice for extra flavor.

  • Always poach fruit at the lowest simmer, or it may disintegrate.

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