Helpful hints in the kitchen

Maybe you've always wondered the best way to keep your cut avocado from turning brown, or maybe you've been frustrated when your fresh strawberries have wizened after just a couple days. Here are some unusual but very handy tips to make the most of your ingredients!

Prevent avocados from browning

  • Cut a red onion into chunks, and place in a bowl.
  • Place whatever portion of an avocado you aren't using (preferably the portion with the pit) on top of the chopped onion.
  • Cover the bowl with a plate and place in the fridge.
  • Your avocado will stay green for a few days!

Keep fresh ginger fresh

Place fresh ginger in a glass with water, and place the glass in the fridge. Change the water every day. Ginger will keep for a week. You also can freeze fresh ginger in an airtight container.

Keep fresh strawberries fresh

  • Dampen a clean dishtowel and lay it on the bottom of a cookie sheet or casserole dish.
  • Spread fresh strawberries on top of the dampened towel.
  • Lay a second dampened dish towel on top of the strawberries.
  • Strawberries will keep this way in the fridge for several days.

Onions: sweating vs. caramelizing

Sweating: Heat a bit of fat (butter or oil) over medium heat, then add your chopped onions and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent.

Caramelizing: Follow the same procedure for sweating, but allow the onions to cook a little longer, until they turn slightly brown, the color of caramel.

Vegan baking: replace eggs with applesauce

Three tablespoons of applesauce can replace every egg in a recipe. Like egg, applesauce works to bind the ingredients together and add moisture.

Herbs: dried vs. fresh

Use dried herbs in cooked dishes, such as pasta sauce, casseroles, or dishes you make in a slow-cooker. Use fresh herbs in fresh dishes, such as salads.

How to peel tomatoes

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with ice water.
  • With a knife, cut an "X" at the bottom of each tomato.
  • Place tomatoes in the boiling water and let sit for 30 seconds.
  • Remove tomatoes from boiling water and place them in bowl of ice water for 30 seconds.
  • Tomatoes should split at the place with the "X" mark and should peel easily.

Ensuring flaky pie crusts

The key to tender, flaky pie crusts is using extremely cold butter and ice water. Don't overwork the dough. Don't roll out the crust near a stove burner or other warm place.

Common yields

  • 1 cup brown rice (raw) = 3.5 cups brown rice (cooked)
  • 1 cup white rice (raw) = 3 cups basmati rice (cooked)
  • 1 cup quinoa (raw) = 2.65 cups quinoa (cooked)
  • 4 ounces (1/4 pound) cheese (block) = 1 cup cheese (grated)
  • About 4.25 ounces nuts = 1 cup

Seeding chile peppers

Watch this video to learn how to slice and seed chile peppers.

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