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Tastelishes recipes contain profound details, knowledge, and information based on three decades of daily cooking & baking, culinary classes, mastering old-world techniques, European roots, clear instructions, including full-color photographs, countless tips and reliable how-to in order to achieve the best possible outcome for cooking outstanding flavorful homemade food and creating divine desserts from scratch. Transparency and practical techniques, which is applied throughout every Tastelishes eBook, makes life a whole lot easier.
As a general guideline and the best possible comfort to be at ease and to enjoy cooking or baking in the kitchen, Tastelishes recommends to have your kitchen utensils, bowls, pots, pans, machines etc. neatly organized to guarantee easy, fast access, and to eliminate time for searching. Staple items neatly and/or use kitchen drawer organizers/dividers. Place the items you need the most conveniently around you to avoid long walking distances and confusion. An unorganized kitchen might cause frustration before you even start cooking or baking. To have fun in your kitchen, get creative in organizing it the way it can possibly work best for you, and keep it that way.
When working with a recipe, read it all the way through first to get familiar with it, make sure you have all the ingredients at home, get them ready and have them at your fingertips.
Listed below are tips and kitchen basics that can be quite helpful and informative to have at hand:
Recommendations: Tastelishes recommends using these products for cooking and baking to achieve the best outcome:
King Arthur Flour (unbleached, all-purpose flour), fine or extra fine white granulated sugar, large eggs, unsalted butter or unsalted margarine stick (as for margarine, preferably Fleischmann's unsalted margarine), whole milk over fat-free, vanilla sugar/vanilla bean over vanilla extract, fresh yeast over dry yeast (42 grams/1.5 oz of fresh yeast is equivalent to 1 envelope of dry yeast)
fine salt, extra virgin olive oil, corn oil for a more neutral flavor (e.g. Mazola cholesterol-free corn oil), unsalted butter or unsalted margarine over a salted version, King Arthur Flour (unbleached, all-purpose flour)
Measure (do not estimate) when Baking
It is recommended to use a kitchen scale to precisely measure solid and dry ingredients. Measure liquids in clear liquid measuring cups (Pyrex bowls) that have a spout for pouring. Read measurements at eye level, do not estimate when baking.
Tastelishes recipes list oven temperature settings in both Fahrenheit and Celsius. However, at times, the listed temperatures can vary from direct conversion (F to C). Tastelishes does not necessarily strictly convert from Fahrenheit to Celsius, since American ovens are different (also baking time and ingredients, especially flour) compared to European standards and are automatically adjusted by Tastelishes to achieve the best possible results (yet every individual oven bakes slightly different and has to be taken into consideration, as well.)
Therefore, whenever you come across an authentic European recipe, you cannot necessarily simply convert it to American Standards and expect the same outcome. Basic ingredients, e.g. flour, sugar, or butter vary partly greatly, as well as the ovens, baking time, and baking temperature, and to be able to achieve the same fabulous results, great taste & texture in an American kitchen using American products, adjustments are necessary. For the correct and exact adjustments (correct type and ratio of ingredients, oven temperature, and baking time), it takes knowledge and practice to figure out. Luckily, Tastelishes has done that for you. For each and every recipe. Additionally, every oven bakes differently and requires different baking times. Also here, Tastelishes informs you on what to look for.
Pre-heating ovens for baking
Pre-heat your oven approx. 15 to 20 minutes before you use it. Tastelishes recipes always require a pre-heated oven for baking, but the requirement is also stated in every recipe (for cooking and baking). If your oven bakes uneven, rotate the sheets halfway through the baking time, turning them front to back. Opening the ovens during baking, though, is not recommended for baking certain dishes, but safe towards the end, e.g. for bisquet cake (yellow/chocolate sponge). Do not open the oven while baking souffle, only when done, or it will collapse.
Using OIive Oil
Cold pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the healthiest version of all. It is also the most expensive, but worth the investment regarding your health and the best flavor around. For some dishes, olive oil can be a little overpowering and rather than using a lighter version of olive oil, Tastelishes recommends using corn oil (e.g. from Mazola), sunflower oil, or rapeseed oil (e.g. Canola) which is neutral in taste, healthy, and affordable.
A healthier table salt
Iodized salt is table salt fortified with iodine and it prevents iodine deficiency.
Professional Chefs make it look so effortless and sophisticated when chopping veggies, greens, herbs, nuts, or chocolate. What is the secret? Santoku Knives. Regular knives just do not do the trick. Japanese brands provide outstanding quality and seem to be working the best. TJ Maxx is a great place to shop for it. Santoku knives are extremely sharp and require caution at all times while in use. They have hammered blades so that the food slices can fall away easily. Knives made of steel by Global are the best knives around, but they also have a steep price, yet considering the high performance, durability, longevity, and unique design, they are well worth it.
For easy chopping or slicing, a Chef's Knife is a good alternative to Santoku Knives, but they are generally not quite as sharp and might not measure up to the quality of a Santoku Knife. However, Chef Knives made entirely of steel by Global are outstanding in quality, design, and performance.
For easy slicing of tomatoes, use a small serrated knife. For slicing meats, salad (e.g. Romaine, Endive, Iceberg), bread, cakes (e.g. cream cake, fruit cake, yeast cake, Bundt cake), tortes, or halving cake layers, use a long serrated bread knife. Global Knives, a Japanese brand, assure high quality material, performance, and design. Available at Williams Sonoma.
A secret ingredient for cooking fish & more
A simple ingredient that enhances the flavor in your cooked dishes dramatically, is adding a splash of fresh lemon juice. Just squeeze a lemon lightly to add a dash of lemon juice over your fish or shrimp, in addition to the spices used. The flavor of the small amount of lemon juice per se will not be noticeable nor stand out, but it will certainly bring the dish to a whole new level. Lemon juice can be added to the water, omitting the salt, when cooking fresh lobster. A dash of lemon juice over fruits and fruit salads tastes fantastic, as well. It can also keep fresh produce from turning brown, like bananas or apples, when dipped in lemon juice. For avocados, use lime juice.
A powerful herbal flavor enhancer
To enhance the flavor of any chicken dish, use a few sprigs of fresh thyme. Lemon thyme is especially delicious, also in soups (e.g. clam chowder). Use thyme as whole sprigs and discard them before serving the dish, or use the leaves only.
What does "simmer" mean?
"Simmering" is a food preparation technique in which foods are cooked in hot liquids, kept at or just below the boiling point of water (which is 100°C or 212°F at average sea level air pressure), but higher than poaching temperature. To keep a pot simmering, one brings it to a boil and then reduces the heat to a point where the formation of steam bubbles has all but ceased, typically a water temperature of about 94°C (200°F).
Heating up oil and what to look for
To check whether the heated oil is ready, stick the bottom side of a wooden spoon into the oil. Once small bubbles form around the stick, the oil has reached the desired point. Another way would be to very lightly swivel the pan to carefully move the oil around. If the oil has formed ripples, it is ready to use.
The ratio for making a homemade vinaigrette is 2 parts oil to 1 part vinegar.
Would you like to bake lighter and airier cakes and add fine taste & texture?
Sift the flour (always measure first, then sift) and use fine or extra fine granulated sugar only and find out what difference it makes. Never use salted butter/margarine for baking, use only sweet, unsalted butter/margarine, even for buttering/greasing the cake pan. It is also best to use large eggs for baking.
Tastelishes uses King Arthur flour exclusively for cooking & baking. It is the most consistent, tasty, European-like, and highest quality flour available on the U.S. market. It is available at local supermarkets, at BJ's, or online.
How to properly incorporate liquids and flour to cake batter
Add flour and milk (or buttermilk) alternately to cake batter. Always begin and end with the flour mixture and the ingredients will blend evenly and thoroughly.
Non-Stick Spray vs. Greasing the Old Fashion Way & Using Parchment Paper
With non-stick baking pans, there is generally no greasing required, but to be completely safe, it is recommended to grease the pan, just to make sure nothing will stick. Cooking sprays can leave an overpowering flavor behind, and it can also ruin the baking pan over time. The best choice would be to butter the entire baking dish with unsalted butter or margarine by using a brush, and then dusting it with flour. Turn the pan upside down and tap on the bottom to release any excess flour. You could also use plain, fine granulated bread crumbs instead of flour. Using parchment paper is a great alternative to greasing a baking dish, especially when baking very moist cakes. Cut the parchment paper to size and line the baking pan with it. Line the bottom of a baking tray and when using a baking pan, line the bottom including the edges. For tightly adhering the paper to the pan/tray, lightly oil or butter the pan/tray first, then attach the parchment paper. Slowly and carefully remove the paper after the cake has cooled off. While removing the paper, it will leave a very thin layer of residue from the cake behind, which makes it more recommendable to use for cakes that will get decorated (e.g. with frosting); otherwise buttering and flouring the baking pan would be the better choice.
Baking Powder vs. Baking Soda & How to measure
Baking powder is used as a rising agent and has an overall neutral effect in terms of taste. Baking soda serves as a leavening agent, as well, but needs an acidic ingredient (e.g. yogurt, chocolate, buttermilk, honey, sour cream, citrus juice, vinegar) to rise or it will yield a bitter or metallic taste. Baking soda cannot be substituted for baking powder. The units for measuring baking powder is usually reflected by teaspoons. If no special remark is made, it generally always refers to a leveled teaspoon, especially if the recipe requires to add more than 2 teaspoons of baking powder. The need for measuring heaped teaspoons would be specifically indicated.
It is best to use a kitchen scale for exact measurements. Always measure/weigh the flour first, then sift it, if the recipe calls for it. Generally, it is always a good idea to sift the flour, since it makes the baked goods fluffier and airier. When using baking powder or cocoa powder along with flour, measure the ingredients first, then mix it all together, and sift. Though baking powder and cocoa powder are not required to be sifted, sifting adds more air and results in a finer texture.
Types of Flour
Tastelishes uses King Arthur flour only. It is the most European-like, most consistent flour. King Arthur unbleached, all-purpose flour is fabulous for baking cakes and cookies, King Arthur bread flour is perfect for baking bread or pizza. They also offer Sir Lancelot flour for pizza and a pizza flour-blend. Tastelishes recipes always indicate whenever flour needs to be sifted. Always measure flour first, then sift. If there are other dry ingredients for a recipe required ( e.g. cocoa powder, baking cocoa, baking powder, ground cinnamon), measure them first, then add them to the flour and sift it altogether. Generally, sifting the flour makes for lighter, airier results. Instead of using cake flour for a lighter cake texture, all-purpose flour works just fine. It is the amount and ratio of ingredients that makes the difference, not the type of flour alone. For achieving an even lighter, airier texture (typically for bisquets or sponge cakes), you can use half all-purpose flour and half cornstarch, or 3/4 flour and 1/4 cornstarch, or substitute as little as a few tablespoons of flour with cornstarch to achieve a lighter consistency. Baking cake with flour only and using no cornstarch achieves a somewhat more intense flavor, and is in the end, a matter of personal preference.
Powdered sugar/Confectioners' sugar
Powder sugar is ideal for dusting cakes with the use of a sifter. This type of sugar is also great for sweetening heavy whipping cream or for making icing/frosting. It is recommended to sift confectioners' sugar for best results.
Making your own vanilla sugar
Vanilla sugar is conveniently available in small envelopes from DrOetker in the baking aisle of local supermarkets. However, it is easily homemade. Whenever you use a vanilla bean, do not discard it. Let it dry and place it into a jar filled with white, fine granulated sugar. The fragrance of the vanilla bean will penetrate through the sugar. Vanilla sugar is delicate, fine flavored, does not overpower, and never leaves a bitter aftertaste behind, unlike vanilla concentrate.
How fresh are your store-bought eggs?
There is a simple method to find out how fresh your store-bought eggs are. Take a glass full of water. Carefully put the egg in the glass with water. A fresh egg sinks completely to the bottom of the glass and lies flat. After the egg is about 7 days old, it will stand upright at the bottom. If the egg is 2 to 3 weeks old, it will start floating to the surface and should at this point not be consumed anymore. What actually happens? When an egg is fresh, the egg white is firm and builds an outer ring. This is when the egg sinks to the bottom in a glass with water. The older the egg, the more the egg white loses its stability and the outer ring starts to dissolve, which causes the egg in the water glass to stand upright to the point of eventually floating to the surface.Adding eggs
If a recipe calls for adding eggs into a batter, crack each egg into a cup first to test for freshness. Do not crack an egg directly into the batter. When using several eggs, add one egg at a time and incorporate for about half a minute before adding another one.
When a recipe calls for chopped ingredients, e.g. chopped nuts or chocolate, measure first, then chop.
How to effectively whip and stabilize fresh heavy cream
Chill the bowl and whisk attachment well prior to using. This will help to stabilize the cream while whipping. When working with the fresh whipping cream, keep unused portions in the refrigerator, covered, until needed.
For even longer lasting results to stabilize whipped cream, you may consider adding a powdered, flavorless stabilizer. "Whip It" by DrOetker would be an excellent choice, available at local supermarkets in the baking aisle, or online. Unflavored Gelatine powder could also be used.
Start whisking on a low setting for the first minute to prevent splashing, then switch to the highest setting.
Generally, sugar is added and incorporated once the cream has already formed stiff peaks, because adding the sugar too early might prevent the cream from forming stiff peaks. When using well chilled cream, bowl, and whisk, it is safe to add sugar after the first minute into the whisking process and it will be perfectly incorporated into the cream while achieving stiff peaks. Instead of using fine/super fine granulated sugar, confectioners'/powder sugar can be used, which blends in easier and quicker into the cream due to its finer texture.
How to test beaten egg white
Whisk the egg white until stiff on the highest setting of an electric/stand mixer. This usually takes about 5 to 6 minutes. Take a kitchen knife and make a cut into the surface of the beaten egg white, about half-inch deep. If the cut stays visible and open and the egg white does not collapse, it has reached its stiff peak. Use a chilled bowl, a chilled whisk, and cold eggs/egg white for beating egg white to achieve the best results.
Butter at room temperature
This means, butter should be pliable, not runny nor melted. Test the softness by pressing your index finger into the top. The indentation should remain and the butter still needs to hold its shape. Lay out the butter on a flat work surface before you use it, approx. 15 - 30 minutes ahead of time.
Eggs at room temperature
To bring eggs to room temperature, you can take them out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you plan to use them (around the time that you might take your butter out of the fridge) and leave them on the counter top. If you forget to take your eggs out of the refrigerator, you can warm them up quickly by placing them 5 - 10 minutes in a bowl full of warm water and it will take the chill off of your eggs.
Mixing ingredients in the kitchen bowl
When mixing ingredients in the kitchen bowl, scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally to make sure all of the ingredients are incorporated.
Working with yeast for baking cake
When working with yeast, using fresh yeast is recommended, since it tends to rise higher and quicker and achieves the finest texture in the baked product. Another excellent choice is working with dry active yeast or dry highly active yeast. The best possible results are achieved when making a starter dough, which can be skipped when using dry instant yeast. It only takes 10 - 15 minutes for a starter dough to rise/foam, and the end product will be fluffier and well worth it adding the extra time. To guarantee a successful rise of the yeast, it is important that the ingredients are at room temperature, never hot nor cold. Liquids should be lukewarm. It is also imperative to add a bit of sugar to the yeast to nurture the rising agent. 42 grams/1.5 oz of fresh yeast is equivalent to 1 envelope of dry yeast. After the starter dough, all ingredients get mixed together and shaped into a neat ball. The dough gets lightly dusted with flour and the bowl needs to be loosely covered. Let proof for about an hour or until the dough has about doubled in size. Knead the yeast dough, either by hand (palms) or using a stand mixer (with the dough hook attached) until the dough is smooth and does not stick to the bowl and your hands anymore. Yeast dough needs a warm place to proof, e.g. the kitchen. For creating a warm environment, place the covered bowl with the dough in the oven and switch the light on or pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees Fahrenheit, turn off the heat, place the covered bowl with the dough in the oven and let the yeast dough rise. Some recommend 100 degrees Fahrenheit while keeping the oven turned on to let the dough rise, whichever works best with your oven.
Working with yeast for baking artisan breads
The same method applies as described above for baking cakes with yeasted dough. A Danish dough whisk is a neat tool to mix the ingredients prior to kneading or to knead the dough with all the way through. The longer or more often a bread dough rises, the better the taste/flavor and texture.
How to knead yeast dough
Kneading is nothing more than manipulating the dough by pushing it with the heel of one hand, flipping, rotating and pushing some more. Lift the dough, pulling and twisting, press back down, pull and twist and continue until 5 - 10 minutes have elapsed.
Which cake pan works best for baking yeast cake?
Tastelishes bakes round cakes made with yeast in an 11-inch round/conic cake pan. You can also use a pie pan. 11 inches measures the diameter on the bottom of the pan. The conic cake pan measures 11 inches on the bottom and 12 inches total diameter on top of the outer edges.
A Challah Bread is braided and baked on a sheet pan or jelly roll pan with low edges.
Which baking pan is generally a good choice to support even baking, rising, and release of a cake?
Springform pans are an excellent choice, unless a specific baking pan is required for a recipe. They are available non-stick for easy and even baking. Releasing the cake is very convenient by opening up the top ring, and many Springform pans also come with a removable bottom. Regardless of the type of cake pan, greasing is always recommended to prevent sticking, or use parchment paper as an alternative and cut it to size. For greasing a cake pan, brush the entire pan lightly with unsalted butter and dust it with flour. Hold the pan upside down and lightly tap on the outer bottom to release any excess flour. When using parchment paper, you might want to lightly butter the cake pan first, then apply the paper, and it will literally be "glued" onto the baking pan to hold it in place. You could also lightly butter (unsalted) the parchment paper.
What is a cake tester?
A cake tester is a tool like a thin needle, a skewer, or a toothpick. It needs to be inserted into the center of a cake to test whether the cake is fully baked. If the tester comes out clean, the cake is ready. With some moist cakes (e.g. containing large amounts of chocolate), the tester might show some coating. If so, small crumbs should come off. There should not be a coating of wet batter on the tester or the cake will have to bake longer until ready.
Apples that are ideal for baking
Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Cortland, McIntosh, Empire, Ida Red, Jonagold
Using canned or fresh cherries for baking
Canned cherries are great for baking. Drain well before using and pat dry with a paper towel. Fresh cherries need to be pitted first. Use a cherry pitter, e.g. Leifheit 37200 Cherrymat Cherrystone Remover, available at amazon.
Substitute for cookie cutters
If you do not have a specific size of a cookie cutter at hand, use a pasta wheel/pastry cutter instead. Place a cup or a glass of the desired size onto the dough and trim around it to create scalloped or beveled edges.
Working with cookie cutters
Dip the cookie cutters in flour so that the dough will not stick to it.
A standard whisk works well for mixing dry ingredients or for stirring a sauce until smooth. A balloon whisk is ideal for folding beaten egg white into a batter (it aerates), for lightly whisking egg whites, but also for whisking dessert sauces or salad vinaigrette.
Easy release of the cake from the cake pan
If the cake keeps sticking to the cake pan (which mostly happens with very moist, wet cakes, despite greasing the cake pan), place a damp/wet kitchen towel over the cake pan (turned upside down placed on a wire rack) until you can easily release the cake.
How to easily cut a cake
Dip a knife into hot water right before slicing the cake, preferably using a serrated knife, to easily cut out clean, nice pieces of cake.
How much is a pinch?
The amount of an ingredient referred to as a pinch means the amount that fits between the thumb and index finger.
What is a Banneton?
A Banneton (also called Brotform or Proofing Basket) is a bread mold used for the rising of the dough (also called proofing). They come in different shapes and sizes and can be made out of wicker, silicone, or plastic. Bannetons provide structure during proofing, resulting in a beautiful shape and decor for a traditional bread look.
What does "proofing" mean?
Proofing or to proof is the final dough-rise step and refers to a rest period before baking (also known as fermentation). It is a step in creating yeast breads or baked goods where the yeast is allowed to leaven the dough. A starter dough takes about 15 minutes to foam. For the entire yeast dough to double in size, it usually takes about 1 hour.
How to store leftover food
Use reusable containers, e.g. Tupperware, with a tight-fit lid. It is best to label containers with a small sticker that is easily removable. Note down the date and name of the dish. Jars that have already been opened can be labeled by writing down the date directly onto the jar, using a permanent marker. For storing cakes, use a cake tray with a lid to cover. If storage space is getting tight in your refrigerator, you could also wrap your food with aluminum foil.
The best skillet to use for browning or to sauté onions (e.g. for onion soup)
For the best outcome, use a stainless steel pan/skillet instead of a non-stick one. Drizzle with some oil (e.g. olive oil, corn oil, vegetable oil), heat, and add the onion rings. Cover with a lid to speed up the process. For browning onions, you can cook it over medium heat. For softening them, use medium/medium low heat. Stir once in a while. Check on the onions often to avoid burning.
How to prevent butter from turning brown when melted
When melting butter in a saucepan for making a gravy or a sauce, add a dash of oil. This way, the butter can withstand a higher temperature. Adding oil does not only add extra flavor and prevents the butter from turning brown, it also gives it a silky smooth texture.
Did you know that besides green asparagus, there is also white asparagus available?
White asparagus has a different flavor than green asparagus. It is tender and provides fine flavor. White asparagus always needs to be peeled, since its skin is firm and not edible. The peeled skin and cut-off ends make a fantastic soup or sauce. In Southwest Germany, white asparagus is very popular and sold fresh throughout the official asparagus season only (April 20 - June 24). Their farmers and markets offer thin to thick stalks (even thicker than a thumb) and they are priced by diameter. In America, asparagus usually comes from Peru or California and is priced per pound.
How to easily break down clumps of ground beef
When cooking a Ragout or whenever you need to break down large clumps of ground beef, brown the meat in a pan on both sides, leaving it as one big chunk. Use a kitchen fork and work through it, mashing the meat first, then breaking it into smaller pieces. The more you run the fork through the ground beef, the smaller the pieces will break down. Keep doing this until the meat is cooked through, because in a raw state the ground beef will go back into forming clumps.
How to cut down on an onion's bite
To lessen the bite of any raw onion, soak chopped or sliced onions in ice water before adding it to a salad.
Easy steps to better tolerate eggs, cucumbers, and sweet peppers
Try the following:
- Cook, peel, and carefully rinse the eggs.
- Peel the cucumbers and rinse them.
- Blanch (in water) or broil (in oven or grill) sweet peppers and peel off the skin.
Uses for fresh herbs
To add a zesty touch, use fresh herbs to enhance the flavor of soups, sauces, salads, breads, eggs, and vegetable dishes. Herbs like parsley, chives, cilantro, basil, and thyme freeze well in airtight containers or plastic bags.
What to do when a sauce/gravy forms lumps
First, try to whisk the sauce/gravy vigorously with a wire whisk. If lumps are still visible, strain the sauce/gravy through a fine mesh strainer.
Cooking dried Spaghetti
Add salt to the boiling water rather than the cold water. This way, it will not ruin the pot and the water seems to boil quicker, too. You can also add a squirt of oil (olive oil or corn oil) to the boiling water. It will add extra flavor and the Spaghetti will not stick together as easily. Add the Spaghetti in their whole length, using an oval-shaped dutch oven. Stir occasionally to keep them from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
How to get rid of any impurities from shellfish cooked in liquid
Simply filter the liquid, using a cheese cloth, e.g. when cooking clams for a clam chowder.
How to give your pots and pans a brand new shine
After cleaning your pots and pans, lightly oil them, using a paper towel. You can do that after every use and it will keep them nice and shiny and it gets rid of discoloration, as well. Regular household vinegar works well, too.
How to eliminate the fragrance of garlic or onions on your hands
Rub your hands on stainless steel. The kitchen sink works best, but rubbing your hands on the blunt side of a stainless steel kitchen knife also works.
How to balance out a dish that is too salty
Just add a pinch of sugar (or as much as needed to season it to your liking).
A well-stocked pantry includes:
spices and dry ingredients like salt, granulated sugar, confectioners' sugar, vanilla sugar or vanilla extract, gelatine, pepper, sweet paprika powder, nutmeg, ground cinnamon, dried herbs (e.g. thyme, basil, parsley), red pepper flakes to add heat, olive oil or corn oil, vinegar (regular white or Balsamic vinegar), unbleached all-purpose flour, cornstarch, cocoa powder, baking powder, dried yeast, nuts, semi-sweet morsels or dark chocolate, dried pasta, rice, bread, bread crumbs, potatoes, onions, garlic, lemons
condiments like ketchup and yellow mustard (or Dijon)
canned vegetables and fruits (e.g. carrots, tomatoes, peas, beans, corn, mushrooms, pears, peaches, pineapple, cherries, mandarins)
canned chicken broth and canned beef broth
refrigerated items like eggs, milk, heavy cream, unsalted butter/margarine, sour cream, yogurt (e.g. Greek yogurt), salad, cucumbers, bacon, cheese, fresh yeast
How to safe money on food items
Buy fruits, vegetables, meats, and poultry in whole, not pre-cut, and cut it to size yourself. The cost is significantly less. Buying fresh produce when in season is also more budget-friendly.
When products are on sale for a certain quantity and price (e.g. buy 5 cans for $ 2), the price for each item gets pro-rated (to 40 cents in our example) even if you do not buy the entire suggested offer, unless it is specifically noted that you must buy the full quantity.
In Season Produce Chart
Sugar Snap Peas
Here are some key differences between conventional farming and organic farming:
Apply chemical fertilizers to promote plant growth.
Apply natural fertilizers, such as manure or compost, to feed soil and plants.
Spray insecticides to reduce pests and disease.
Use beneficial insects and birds, mating disruption or traps to reduce pests and disease.
Use herbicides to manage weeds.
Rotate crops, till, hand weed or mulch to manage weeds.
Give animals antibiotics, growth hormones and medications to prevent disease and spur growth.
Give animals organic feed and allow them access to the outdoors. Use preventive measures — such as rotational grazing, a balanced diet and clean housing — to help minimize disease.
Organic or not? Check the label
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has established an organic certification program that requires all organic foods to meet strict government standards. These standards regulate how such foods are grown, handled and processed.
Any product labeled as organic must be USDA certified. Only producers who sell less than $5,000 a year in organic foods are exempt from this certification; however, they're still required to follow the USDA's standards for organic foods.
If a food bears a USDA Organic label, it means it's produced and processed according to the USDA standards. The seal is voluntary, but many organic producers use it.
Products certified 95 percent or more organic display this USDA seal.
Products that are completely organic — such as fruits, vegetables, eggs or other single-ingredient foods — are labeled 100 percent organic and can carry the USDA seal.
Foods that have more than one ingredient, such as breakfast cereal, can use the USDA organic seal plus the following wording, depending on the number of organic ingredients:
- 100 percent organic. To use this phrase, products must be either completely organic or of all
- Organic. Products must be at least 95 percent organic to use this term.
Products that contain at least 70 percent organic ingredients may say "made with organic ingredients" on the label, but may not use the seal. Foods containing less than 70 percent organic ingredients can't use the seal or the word "organic" on their product labels. They can include the organic items in their ingredient list, however.
Do 'organic' and 'natural' mean the same thing?
No, "natural" and "organic" are not interchangeable terms. You may see "natural" and other terms such as "all natural," "free-range" or "hormone-free" on food labels. These descriptions must be truthful, but don't confuse them with the term "organic." Only foods that are grown and processed according to USDA organic standards can be labeled organic.
Organic food: Is it more nutritious?
The answer isn't yet clear. A recent study examined the past 50 years' worth of scientific articles about the nutrient content of organic and conventional foods. The researchers concluded that organically and conventionally produced foodstuffs are comparable in their nutrient content. Research in this area is ongoing.
For Gluten-Free Cooking/Baking and Products by Schaer, go to www.schar.com/us/.