Cooking Tips and Tricks – Fruit and Vegetables – Part I

From new cooks to master chefs every one wants to learn hints that will maximize the flavor or your recipes as well as save money by keeping the items you purchase fresh for longer. If you have ever slaved over one your favorite recipes and were disappointed by the results, you might have been wondering what I missed. When you’re preparing a recipe following the ingredients and instructions seems self explanatory, so why it doesn’t meat expectations sometimes doesn’t make any sense to us. It is possible that maybe you just did not know some useful cooking tips that could maximize the quality and taste of your favorite cuisine. Cooking vegetables is one of the easiest recipes to prepare in the kitchen, but if you do not know the tips and tricks to dealing with vegetables  you can end up with vegetables that are bitter tasting have lost their nutritional value or lack the crispness or appearance that you desire. Produce is one of the more expensive items on our shopping lists, which is why it is beyond frustrating when you go shopping on Saturday and by Wednesday you reach into your refrigerator only to find that your vegetables have wilted beyond repair or lost its crispness and nutritional value. With these kitchen tips and tricks on vegetables hopefully you will get the most out of your recipes by creating mouth watering recipes and cuisines you will also get the most for your money by maximizing the life of the fruit and vegetables that you purchase. These easy to use and follow tips will pay off dividends in money saving and flavor.-Line your crisper drawer in the refrigerator with paper towels to absorb the condensation that can cause vegetables to wilt. Change out paper towels frequently.-Apples keep in the refrigerator three times longer then if left at room temperature.-Celery will last in the refrigerator for weeks if you wrap it in aluminum foil before storing it in the crisper drawer.-To keep strawberries fresh longer, do not wash before storing, and place them between a paper towels in an air proof container, just do not forget to wash before enjoying.-Keep asparagus crisp by storing up right in the refrigerator in 1-2 inches of water. For the tenderest asparagus gently bend the spear until it breaks, separate the tender spear from the tough end. Discard the tough end and steam the tender end to perfection.-To get the most juice out of citrus fruit, either roll them on the counter before squeezing, or try to warm them in the microwave for 30 seconds and then let stand for 1 minute before juicing.-When cooking corn on the cob add sugar to the water to bring out corn on the cob’s natural sweetness, if you add salt it will make the corn bitter and tough. Also for fresh corn on the cob, only boil for 3 minutes, any longer the kernels begin to get tough.-If a recipe only calls for a half of an onion, cut in half and save the “root” half, it will last longer.-To keep your potatoes from budding put an apple in the potatoes bag with them.-Do you like the taste of cooked cauliflower or cabbage, but do not like the aroma that fills your kitchen, try adding a little vinegar into the water while boiling to cut down on odors.-When you are cooking vegetables that are grown above ground (i.e. Broccoli, cauliflower, squash…) the rule of thumb is to boil them without a cover on the pot.-Never soak or wash vegetables after you have sliced them, they will lose a lot of their nutritional value.-Add a tablespoon of sugar to the pot when cooking greens to aid them in retaining there bright green color.-Perk up wilting lettuce by soaking in a mixture of water and lemon juice.-Lettuce stores better if you do not wash it before you store it in the refrigerator. Keep the lettuce leaves dry, and wash only what you need right before use.-Add a little milk to the water when cooking cauliflower to keep its white color-If you soak you baking potatoes in salt water for 20 minutes before cooking, they will bake faster.-To keep celery crisp, stand it upright in a pitcher of cold salted water in the refrigerator.-Over ripened bananas can be peeled and stored in freezer until ready to use for banana bread.-Add a few drops of lemon juice to water when boiling potatoes to whiten potatoes.-Instant potatoes are a good base to thicken soups, stews and gravy’s. You can also add instant potatoes to gravy if you accidentally over salt it, and more liquid if necessary to thin back out.-Never use baking soda when cooking vegetables it will destroy the Vitamin C.Using these useful tips can aid it getting the best results from your recipes and can save you money by keeping your fruits and vegetables fresher for longer. Check back for tips on Meat and Other Useful Kitchen Tips.