Cooking With Cinnamon

Cooking With Cinnamon

You may be surprised to know that there are two main types of spice labeled as cinnamon.

One type is labeled as Cinnamon and the other is labeled Cassia. The one most commonly used in the U.S. is called cassia.

BUT – Cassia Is Not Real Cinnamon.

The Jar On The Left Is Being Labeled As CinnamonBut It’s Not – It’s Cassia A False Cinnamon – The Jar On The Right Is Labeled Correctly – It’s A True Cinnamon

Later in the article we will discuss cooking with cinnamon, but first let’s see what’s the difference between what is cinnamon and what is passed off as cinnamon.

How to Tell the Difference Between Cinnamon & Cassia

Real cinnamon sticks or quills curl in a telescopic form, in a perfect circle.

True Cinnamon Sticks

It has a pale color and is comprised of many thin layers of bark rather than a single coiled strip of bark like cassia.

Whole True Cinnamon bark can easily be ground in a coffee grinder.

Cinnamon is also known as Ceylon cinnamon – named after the country of origin, Ceylon (formerly Sir Lanka).

Cassia is not necessarily another name for cinnamon as it is a completely different spice, though they both are related.

It is is cheaper to produce and has a bolder, less subtle flavor than true cinnamon, so it is sometimes referred to as “bastard cinnamon,” or “false cinnamon.”

Cassis or False Cinnamon Sticks

Cassia sticks curl inward from both sides, appearing like a scroll. The sticks are very hard to break and will not grind easily in a coffee grinder.

According to Burlap & Barrel the sole importers of Cinnamon Verum from Zanzibar says it’s perfect for savory dishes like tomato sauces, stews, chili and barbecue rubs, as well as for baked goods and breakfasts like oatmeal or pancakes.



The Spruce Eats says that Cassia is usually a better choice for savory dishes, rather than sweets, while true cinnamon (Cinnamon Verum) is best for sweet baked goods.


Roasted Chicken With Chipotle Cinnamon Orange Glaze

What Do They Taste Like?

True Cinnamon has a warm, sweet flavor and pungent aroma.

The taste and scent come from cinnamaldehyde, which makes up most of the essential oil of cinnamon, but also 80 additional aromatic compounds.

Cassia has a stronger flavor than the more subtle true cinnamon, which can have floral notes.


Cooking With Cinnamon

When reading a recipe that calls for cinnamon, you can safely assume it refers to the common cassia cinnamon from the supermarket.

You will find recipes that call for cinnamon sticks or quills while others call for ground or powdered cinnamon.

Apple-Cinnamon Up-Side Down CakeThis cake calls for True Cinnamon – The cake though is topped with Cassia Sticks (for decorative purposes)

Ground cinnamon can be added before cooking or baking as it will maintain its flavor and aroma.

When flavoring drinks, such as egg nog, a cinnamon stick can add flavor without overpowering the other ingredients.

National Eggnog Day

A sprinkle of ground cinnamon can be used to top again, egg nog or other hot drinks such as hot chocolate, a mocha, or latte.

Cinnamon and Cassia are both commonly used in the culinary to flavor foods and beverages.

Although cassia it is often used to flavor sweet foods, it can also lend warmth and flavor to savory meat and some Indian dishes.

Hyderabadi Chicken Korma

So in conclusion, if you’re eating cinnamon every day, great – just make sure it’s the right kind.

In the U.K., if it says cinnamon, then it’s Ceylon cinnamon. Chinese cinnamon is labeled cassia.

In the U.S., though, they can both just be labeled cinnamon, and since Chinese is cheaper, that’s what most cinnamon is on our shelves. So make sure it specifies Ceylon.


Kale For Salads Soups & Side Dish – recipes included

Kale For Salads Soups & Side Dish – recipes included

Kale is a leafy, cruciferous vegetable that is rich in nutrients. It comes in so many varieties, and in flavor variations as well.

Kale leaves can be white, red, purple and green. With either flat to curly-leaf edges.

There are 8 varieties of eatable kale and they include:

  • Curly Kale
  • Lacinato Kale
  • Red Russian Kale
  • Siberian Kale
  • Chinese Kale
  • Redbor Kale
  • Premier Kale
  • Walking Stick Kale
Red Kale Beets and Sweet Cilantro Vinaigrette

Depending on the variety, the flavor of kale can be a sweet to nutty sweet flavor or a peppery slightly bitter flavor.

The stems and ribs of the leaves are tougher and even more strongly flavored than the leaves themselves.

Most recipes will call for removing the stem and rib before adding it to the dish.

Moroccan Three Bean and Kale Soup

Baby Kale verses Large Kale

If you want to a salad using kale, use what is packaged as “baby kale.” The leaves are harvested small and have a milder flavor.

Save the larger leaves for soups, stews, and other cooked dishes.

Large Kale For Adding To A Pot Of Soup

You can also use them as substitutes for spinach or cabbage to add variety to the flavor of your favorite dishes.

Benefits Of Eating Kale

Kale offers a range of health benefits for the whole body.

Kale has a wide range of nutrients that can help prevent various health problems.

The leafy green contains fiber, antioxidants, vitamins C and K, and including minerals like calcium and iron.

Red Kale Cannellini Beans and Chorizo Soup

Antioxidants help the body remove unwanted toxins that result from natural processes and environmental pressures.

These toxins, known as free radicals, are unstable molecules. If too many build up in your body, they can lead to cell damage. This could result in health problems such as inflammation and diseases.

Kale and other green vegetables that contain chlorophyll can help prevent the body from absorbing heterocyclic amines (Source).

These are chemicals that occur when you grill or cook meat at a high temperatures.

A cup of cooked kale provides almost five times an adult’s daily need for vitamin K, around 15–18% of their calcium need, and about 7% of the daily phosphorus requirement.

Some research has reported that a high intake of vitamin K could help reduce the risk of bone fractures. Vitamin K is also needed for blood clotting.

Cider Braised Chicken With Apples and Kale

Try these recipes with:


Maple Syrup – The Same As Cane Sugar – Recipes Included

Research involving cane sugar at the University of California-San Francisco reports that sugar is essentially a toxin that causes all sorts of lifestyle diseases, including hypertension, heart disease, diabetes and even cancer.

Sugar is just about in every day foods bought. Such as bread, low-fat yogurt, soy milk, bbq sauce, tomato sauce, chocolate milk, cereals, smoothies, cookies, and muffins among many other foods.

If you were to have just one serving of each of the foods in the above image, you would have consumed about 13 tablespoons of sugar or 37 – 40 teaspoons.

That’s 30 teaspoons past the daily recommended intake by USDA of only 10 teaspoons or 3 tablespoons (The Question of Sugar – USDA).


You’ll enjoy this read – National Maple Syrup Day – is every year on December 17th.


The Alternative To Cane Sugar

There is an alternative sweetener, and what most people don’t know is that it beats out all the others.

What is the alternative? Maple syrup. Maples taste profile is even better than sugar.

Maple Syrup Flavor

Maple syrup has caramel notes along with the woodsy maple flavor that you might expect from a maple syrup product.

Maple syrup can have a complex flavor with notes of vanilla, cinnamon and even hazelnut.

Cane sugar tastes highly refined and incredibly sweet.

Maple Syrup Health Benefits

Maple syrup contains 100 essential nutritional compounds including vitamins, minerals, amino acids, phytohormones, and 67 polyphenols.

A study done by the University of Rhode Island – The College of Pharmacy, reported that maple syrup has antioxidants and minerals that deem this syrup a superfood (Study Source).

The researchers said that in their laboratory research they found several compounds that possessed anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which have been shown to fight cancer, diabetes and bacterial illnesses.

When examining other sweeteners, real maple is higher in – magnesium, calcium, zinc, manganese, and potassium than honey, brown sugar, and white sugar.

The USDA Nutritional Database, says a 1/4 cup serving of Real Maple Syrup supplies 95% of our daily intake of manganese, 37% of riboflavin, 7% of magnesium, 6% of zinc, 5% of calcium and 5% of potassium.

The database also reports maple syrup is higher in antioxidants than cabbage, tomatoes, and cantaloupe.

Real Maple Syrup has a glycemic index of 54, and is defined as having a “medium” index.

Cane Sugar on the other hand, has a glycemic index of 68 and is defined as having a “high” index.

Honey has a glycemic index of 60 – Brown sugar has a glycemic index of 70.

If your vegan, maple syrup is an alternative to honey. It is also fat-free.

Eating and Cooking With Maple Syrup

Maple syrup can be used for more than just pancakes.

It can be used as an easy replacement for sugar in coffee, tea, and lemonade, as a homemade salad dressing, in baking, in marinades, and on roasted vegetables.

Here are a few recipes that use real Maple syrup.

Have You Tried Butternut Squash Yet – with recipes

Have You Tried Butternut Squash Yet - with recipes

Butternut squash might just be one of Autumn’s most versatile fruits, yes fruit.

It is one of the most popular squashes with a mild, but sweet flavor and smooth-textured flesh.

There are so many delicious ways to use this hard-shell squash, from soups and salads to lasagna and pizza.



Fruit or Vegetable

Technically, butternut squash is a fruit as its seeds are inside the squash.

This is true of all members of the gourd family, which includes winter squash, pumpkins, cucumbers, and melons.

A Prebiotic Food

Butternut squash is high in fiber and is a prebiotic food that supports healthy bacteria in the digestive tract.

A prebiotic food is not to be confused with a probiotic food.

Gluten Free Rigate with Roasted Butternut Squash and Smoked Bacon

Prebiotic was first brought to light by scientists in 1995, and described as “a non-digestible food ingredient that beneficially affects the host (human being) by selectively stimulating the growth and/or activity of one or a limited number of bacteria in the colon, and thus improves host (human) health”.

Prebiotics foods are fermented by the beneficial bacteria in the gut and used as a source of fuel to help enhance gut flora health.

Other prebiotic foods include asparagus, leeks, garlic, onions, dandelion greens, bananas, apples, Jerusalem artichoke, jicama root, radishes, chicory, and cabbage among many other foods.

Roasted Turkey Sausage with Apples and Butternut Squash

Nutritional Profile of Butternut Squash

One cup of cubed, raw butternut squash typically has 63 calories, 1.4g of protein, 0.1g of fat, 16.4g of carbohydrates, 2.8g of fiber, and 3.1g of sugar.

Butternut squash packs plenty of vitamins A and C, and including Calcium – Magnesium – Phosphorus – Potassium – Zinc – Copper and Manganese.

All these minerals and vitamins are needed to maintain healthy skin, hair and eyes.

Its potassium content helps maintain a healthy blood pressure.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Cinnamon Butternut Squash with Pecans and Cranberries

Selecting Your Squash

Look for squash with minimal bruising and no obvious cuts or oozy areas. The squash should feel heavy for its size.

During the Autumn months, squash can sometimes be found at farm stands, farmers’ markets, or “U-Pick” pumpkin and gourd farms.

Purchasing at these locations can help you get a squash with maximum flavor.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Sausage with Gluten Free Penne Pasta

Storing Your Squash

If you plan on eating the squash soon, you can keep it on your countertop for up to a week.

For longer storage, keep it in a cool, dark place such as a cold storage room. A properly stored squash can last for weeks or even months.

Diced raw butternut squash can be refrigerated for two to three days.

Once cooked, the squash will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.

In conclusion, to enjoy butternut squash, cook it by roasting, baking or microwaving the squash, then enjoy as a side dish. Try one or more of the butternut squash recipes featured in this article.

Sweet Potatoes Powerhouse Of Nutrition – includes recipes

Sweet potatoes are an extremely versatile and delicious root vegetable that possesses a great number of nutritional benefits.

It is also a valuable medicinal plant, providing anti-cancer, antidiabetic, and anti-inflammatory activities (Source).

Due to its high phenolic and anthocyanin content, sweet potatoes have a high antioxidant activity (Source).

Sweet Potato Pilaf with Cranberries and Pecans

A Powerhouse of Vitamins and Minerals

The most abundant vitamins and minerals found in this root vegetable are:

Vitamin A – Sweet potatoes are rich in beta carotene, which your body can convert into vitamin A.

A 3.5 ounce serving (about 1/3 cup) of this root vegetable provides the recommended daily amount of vitamin-A.

Vitamin C – An antioxidant that may decrease the duration of the common cold and improve skin health.

Potassium – As already noted, this mineral is important for blood pressure control, and may decrease your risk of heart disease.

Stuffed Sweet Potato with Chipotle Black Bean and Corn Salad

Manganese – Is a trace mineral that is important for growth, development, and metabolism.

Vitamin B6 – Is an important vitamin as its role in your diet is to convert food into energy.

Vitamin B5 – Also known as pantothenic acid, has shown to alleviate conditions such as asthma, hair loss, allergies, stress and anxiety, respiratory disorders, and heart problems.

Vitamin E – A fat-soluble antioxidant shown to help protect your body against oxidative damage.

Sweet Potatoes and Cancer

Oxidative damage to cells is often associated with increased risk of cancer, which occurs when cells divide uncontrollably.

Diets rich in antioxidants, such as carotenoids, are associated with a lower risk of stomach, kidney, and breast cancer.

Studies indicate that sweet potatoes’ potent antioxidants may reduce your risk of cancer.

Purple potatoes have the highest antioxidant activity.

Lentils and Purple Sweet Potato Stew

Sweet Potatoes and Blood Pressure

You can help keep your potassium levels up and reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure by including foods like sweet potatoes to your diet.

Diets rich in potassium may help regulate blood pressure levels.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes And Figs

If your potassium level is too low, you may see an increase in your blood pressure.

This can put you at risk of developing hypertension, especially when combined with high sodium intake.

Cooking With Sweet Potatoes

It should first be noted that before cooking sweet potatoes, make sure to scrub the skins.

There are a variety of ways to prepare sweet potatoes, including baked, boiled, grilled, and roasted.

Roasted Charred Sweet Potatoes

You can use an oven, grill, microwave, or stovetop.

Enjoy sweet potatoes on their own, as a side dish, in a casserole, or sliced into thin strips and baked – for sweet potato fries.

Enchilada Casserole with Kale and Sweet Potatoes

Mashed, diced or sliced a cooked sweet potato is really healthy a sweet treat.

Baked Beets and Sweet Potato Chips

In Conclusion

Sweet potatoes are underground tubers, a root vegetable which are an excellent source of beta carotene, and many other vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds.

This root vegetable has been studied and shown to have several health benefits, which includes among others improved blood sugar regulation and maintaining a healthy blood pressure.

Overall, sweet potatoes are nutritious, cheap, and easy to incorporate into your diet.

More Sweet Potato Recipes

Roasted Beet, Sweet Potato, Mixed Greens and Shrimp Salad

Goan Coconut Chicken Curry with Spiraled Sweet Potato

Savory Sweet Potato Hash Browns


Balsamic Vinegar Compliments More Than Just a Salad

Balsamic Vinegar Complements More Than Just A Salad

Balsamic vinegar enhances nearly any food it touches as it is so much more than a salad dressing.

You can use balsamic vinegar to marinate meats, glaze roasted vegetables and even as a baking ingredient.

The process of making balsamic vinegar is a more than 900 year old tradition from Italy.

Fennel and Spinach Salad with Shrimp and Balsamic Mustard Vinaigrette

Fennel and Spinach Salad with Shrimp and Balsamic Mustard Vinaigrette

How Balsamic Vinegar Is Made

Balsamic vinegar is made by pressing grapes complete with the stem, seeds, and skin.

The unfermented grape juice, also called “grape must,” is reduced and then cooked down and aged in hard wood barrels either oak, cherry or walnut, to create a delicate flavor that expertly balances both sweet and savory.

Depending on the wood barrels being used, flavor is added to the essence of the balsamic gradually over time.

As it ages, moisture evaporates out, further thickening and concentrating the balsamic.

Balsamic-Honey Glazed Chicken and Asparagus

Balsamic-Honey Glazed Chicken and Asparagus

Traditional Balsamic verses Commercial Made

Many consumers outside of Italy are unaware of the fact that there are two types of balsamic vinegar.

According to Compass and Fork, the balsamic vinegars sold at a local market or gourmet food shops are commercially made vinegar, and even if it says Modena on it, it has not been produced according to the traditional standard.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Figs

Roasted Sweet Potatoes And Figs – with a Balsamic Dressing

To be able to be labelled as a balsamic from Modena, only one step in the process has to be performed and it can be to any quality standard.

Though the bottled balsamic vinegar is sold at moderate pricing, it is only bottled in Modena.

Wine Vinegar Included – Not Traditionally Made

Traditionally produced balsamic vinegar is also protected under labeling laws, with only products made in a particular way and in Modena bearing the Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena label.

How To Use Balsamic Vinegar

There are three basic age groups of balsamic vinegar, and each is used differently:

Group One

The youngest group, 3 to 5 years, is good for salad dressings, dipping sauces for vegetables and bread, sauces and marinades.

Group Two

The middle age group, 6 to 11 years, is more viscous and is quite versatile. Use it in sauces (at the end of cooking), in risotto and pasta dishes, in marinades and mixed with mayonnaise or sour cream for a sandwich condiment.

Group Three

Well-aged balsamic vinegar (12 to 150+ years) is best used after the cooking is finished, and in otherwise mild dishes (nothing spicy or heavily seasoned), so it can shine on its own.

Use it to flavor meat like chicken, steak, fish or veal. It is well-suited to fruit and cheese pairings, such as strawberries, peaches and pears, along with ricotta or feta cheese.

Smoked Bacon And Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Smoked Bacon And Ricotta Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts – with a Balsamic Drizzled over Chicken

It may be enjoyed by itself (just a tiny amount) or added to water (or sparkling water) for a refreshing beverage.

Flavors Infused with Commercially Made Balsamic Vinegar

There are commercially made balsamic vinegars that are infused with different flavors such as but not limit too:

  •  Chile Balsamic Vinegar
  • Garlic Cilantro Balsamic Vinegar
  • Strawberry Balsamic Vinegar
  • White Sesame Ginger Balsamic Vinegar
  • Pomegranate Balsamic Vinegar
  • Cranberry Balsamic Vinegar

What Others are saying about Balsamic Vinegar:

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Is It Okay To Reheat Cooked Rice?

Rice is a grass plant that is edible and is classified as a starchy cereal grain.

Roughly one-half of the world population, including virtually all of East and Southeast Asia, is wholly dependent upon rice as a staple food.

95 percent of the world’s rice crop is eaten by humans.

Rice is cooked by boiling, or it can be ground into a flour.

It is eaten alone and in a great variety of soups, side dishes, and main dishes in Asian, Middle Eastern, Latin American, among many other cuisines.

Sweet Potato Pilaf with Cranberries and Pecans

Other products in which rice is used are breakfast cereals, noodles, and alcoholic beverages, such as, Japanese sake.

With so many different rice recipes, and so many consumers of rice, raises the question, “If there are leftovers, is it okay to reheat the cooked rice?”

That is a question you need to ask and deserve an answered to if you regularly consume rice.

Different Ways To Cook Rice

Reheating Rice Requires Extra Care

An unpleasant soil bacteria called Bacillus cereus lives on the surface of most rice plants.

Cooking can kill most of the bacteria but not all of their hardy spores.

The spores can sprout into life on cooked rice and release toxins that can cause abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea if eaten.

The bacteria starts to multiply and release its toxins on cooked rice when the temperature is between 39 and 131 degrees Fahrenheit (4-55 degrees celsius).

Cooked rice can be unsafe to eat when the toxins are at critical level. Though the smell and appearance of the rice doesn’t change.

Say Good- bye To Soggy Rice

How To Cool and Reheat Cooked Rice Safely

If you know there will be leftovers, you will need to promptly cool the rice dish by storing it in the refrigerator that is set to less than 41 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees celsius).

The quicker you can get any uneaten rice into the fridge, the safer the leftover rice will be to reheat.

Asian Rice with Almonds

When you reheat the rice, make sure it is pipping hot.

Do not reheat rice more than once.

If you plan to eat the leftovers in two servings for example, and you plan to eat only one serving now, than reheat only that portion.

Your second portion should not be reheated if it has been 2 days ( 48 hours) in the fridge since the original cooking of it.

It should only be served cold, as bacteria levels are dangerous for reheating, which would trigger a surge in toxin production.

If rice is left in fridge for 3 days (72 hours), again the rice should only be eaten cold and not reheated.

If by day 3 the rice is not consumed, discard it.

Always remember that you do not need to cool cook food completely before putting it in the refrigerator, as modern appliances readjust quickly after an influx of heat.

There is greater risk from leaving food out at room temperature.

Information Source: The Science of Cooking – author Dr. Stuart Farrimond – First Edition 2017 – Is it okay to Reheat Cooked Rice? Pages 132 and 133.

Foods That Don’t Need Refrigerating

Some food items we buy are clearly marked to refrigerate after opening, as an example foods like dairy products and meats among others.

There are some items we buy that are not marked as to how to store it once you have it at home in your kitchen.

These food items include the following.

Tomatoes

Storing tomatoes in the refrigerator can make tomatoes dull and mealy.

In his book, “Food and Cooking” – food scientist Harold McGee explains that ripe tomatoes, are especially sensitive to chilling at temperatures below 55ºF and suffer damage to their membranes that results in minimal flavor development, blotchy coloration, and a soft, mealy texture when they’re brought back to room temperature.

Store them on the counter (under-ripe ones can go on the windowsill).

If your tomato is a little overripe, putting it in the fridge will stop the ripening process preventing issues like mold.

Serious Eats tested over ripe tomatoes by storing them in the refrigerator, and the results showed that the flavor was not negatively impacted by the cold.

If they ripen to fast on the counter top, you could roast them and make them into tomato sauce.

Serious Eats is an award-winning food and drink website, visited by hungry readers every month to view rigorously tested recipes, science-driven cooking techniques, and robust equipment reviews.

Read more here about:

How To Grow Tomatoes By Seed

Indeterminate Or Determinate Tomatoes – Which Is Right For Your Garden?

Melon

Keep whole melons like watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew on the counter for best flavor.

USDA research found that storage of melons at room temp may even help keep the antioxidants better intact.

Some supermarkets sell half melons, these should be stored in the refrigerator and used within 3 to 4 days.

What happens if you leave a cut melon out?

Dispose of any cut melon pieces left out for longer than 2 hours. Bacteria can begin to grow on the cut melon if it is not refrigerated.

This can lead to spoilage and food poisoning. Be sure to throw out any melon left out at room temperature for more than 2 hours instead of storing it.

As a general rule, you should not keep melon for more than a week unless you intend to freeze it.

With your bought melon why not try this recipe out: Watermelon Goat Cheese Salad

Avocado

Keeping avocados in the refrigerator halts the ripening process so never store them in the refrigerated. Just put them on the counter at room temperature.

If they are already ripe then use them immediately.

To ripen avocados, we suggest you put them in a brown paper bag along with an two to three apples or bananas for a few days until ripe.

The apple or banana releases ethylene gas which causes the avocados to ripen more quickly.

Once your avocados are ripe, try this recipe: Citrus Fennel and Avocado Salad

Potatoes

Cold temperatures will break down the starches in potatoes, making them unpleasantly sweet and gritty.

It is best to store them in the dark we’re it is cool and dry.

When your ready to use your potatoes try this recipe: Organic BBQ Hot Dogs and Potato Pack

Onions

Storing uncut onions in the refrigerator can make them moldy and mushy.

Without their exterior layers intact, cut onions are susceptible to bacteria and mold.

To reuse a cut onion, you’ll need to prepare it correctly, choose an appropriate container, and store it at the right temperature.

If you have half of an onion remaining or a few large wedges, then wrap them tightly in plastic wrap.

Plastic wrap will insulate the onion from the outside air while helping it retain moisture.

Store the cut wrapped onion in your refrigerator at or below 40 °F (4 °C).

Do not at room temperature. Keeping them at a low temperature inhibits the growth of bacteria and allows you to safely reuse them later.

Garlic

Preserve the powerful flavor of garlic by storing in a cool, dry and ventilated container.

Once the head has been broken open, use the cloves within 10 days.

You seriously need to try this delicious plate: Asparagus with Garlic and Smoked Bacon

Coffee

Never store ground coffee or coffee beans in the fridge or freezer.

Coffee Beans-Finding You’re Favorite Coffee

Starbucks states that roasted coffee beans should be kept at room temperature. They go on to say when you store it in the freezer or refrigerator, moisture condenses on the coffee and can extract the flavor.

The fridge and freezer are far too humid and will make your coffee tasteless and less aromatic.

Read more here about Coffee-Grinding Tips and Facts

Hard Cheese

If you’re a cheese connoisseur then you probably already know this, but hard cheeses should never go in the fridge.

Parmigiano Reggiano cheese on a table top

It may sound odd as cheese is a dairy product. But if hard cheese is left in the fridge then it turns from hard to rock hard.

Hard cheese goes through a curing process that takes about six months or more to complete (depending on the hard cheese being cured).

After its cured, there is no need to keep it chilled. Just store it in a cool, dark place like your pantry or cupboard.

Other cheeses not aged need to be refrigerated, so make sure to check if it has been aged or not.

Read more here about the Top Nine Varieties Of Cheese’s Enjoyed By Food Lovers

Apples

Freshly picked apples will do well on your counter or in a fruit bowl.

If they aren’t eaten after a week or two, make them last a little bit longer by then chilling them in the fridge.

If you love apple pie, you’ll like the flavor of Baked Apples Apple Pie

Berries

Fresh berries from your local farm taste amazing at room temperature so it’s the sooner the better for munching.

For long-term storage keep them in the fridge.

To avoid soggy or moldy berries, rinse just before eating.

After you rinse them, try the berries in this recipe: Berries and Vanilla Pudding Pie

Stone Fruit

Allow peaches, apricots, nectarines and plums to ripen at room temperature.

If you don’t use them right away, place them in the fruit bin of the refrigerator for a few extra days.

This recipe is wonderful with fresh peaches (can use frozen): Peach and Pecan Cake

What are the Benefits of Marinating Meat

Marinades were formerly used as a technique to preserve foods.

Any type of meat, whether it be beef, chicken, or fish would be submerged in a salty soup that was used to preserve the meat, due to the lack of a cooling system.

The last few hundred years, marinades are not only used to preserve meats but also to add flavor to them.

When we marinate, we think about saturating the meat in the rich tasting mixture of herbs, spices, salt,, vinegar, and oil (fat), with the purpose of infusing the meat with flavor.

This however is a MYTH.


Read More Here About Herbs and Spices

Herbs and Spices Through The Years


It is physically impossible for a marinade to penetrate deep into the meat. Most flavor molecules are to big to enter the muscle tissue cells of meat.

The tissue cells are about 75% water and tightly packed like a sodden sponge.

Greek Marinated Chicken

Oil molecules, which dispense most of the flavor molecules are also unable to enter the tissue cells.

This means, the the flavor of the marinade can infuse the meat no further than a few millimeters, leaving most it to pool on the surface.

Tender and Delicious Marinated Meat

The ingredients in marinades work together to enhance the flavor of meat and tenderize its outer layers.

While cooking the meat, sugars and proteins found in a marinade help to brown the meats surface, and creating a crisp, flavorful crust.

Keep in mind though, when adding an acidic ingredient like lemon juice, wine or vinegar, can slow the browning process.

What You Should Know When Cooking With Salt

What You Should Know When Cooking With Salt

After cooking your meal, you could add a little salt to your plated food to give it a boost, but unfortunately, it’s too late to truly bring out the flavors that the dish contains.

Woman salting skillet of cooked food

You need to be salting your food throughout the entire cooking process. As well as continuously TASTING along the way.

Most home cooks tend to under-season their meals to avoid over salting, and this, unfortunately, results in meals that are bland and boring.

Woman tasting food from skillet

Salt not only brings out the flavor the foods natural contain but it also creates a balance between sweetness and acidity.

When you season food at different stages of cooking, the salt pulls out the natural flavors of the individual ingredients and enhances their taste.

This is why it’s so important to add salt while you are cooking – you give it time to do its food flavor enhancing magic.

adding salt to  plated food

If you wait until after cooking to add salt, you’ll end up with “salty” food instead of a lively and delicious dish with deep complex flavors.

Most recipes will that tell you to “add salt to taste”. Why? The fact is, because it’s hard to really put an exact measurement for salt.

Kitchn.com (post by Emma Christensen) writes that when the recipe says salt to taste, we’re not actually looking for salty flavor.

All we’re trying to do is get rid of bitterness and make the rest of the flavors in the food stand out.

The “saltiness” of salt varies depending on its size, texture, type, and even brand.

Sizes of salt

For example: a tablespoon of coarse or Kosher salt could equal the same level of saltiness as 2 teaspoons of table salt.

This difference can make or break a meal if you are measuring salt exactly according to the instructions in a recipe and using whichever salt you have on hand.

This is why it is vitally important that you salt throughout the cooking process and taste along the way until you reach the desired outcome or flavors you are looking for.


Did you know salt is used for more than just bringing out foods flavors Read more here: The Usefulness Of Salt Around The House


Taking Care When Using Salt

It’s important though, to watch your sodium intake.

Too much sodium could contribute to high blood pressure, which may increase your risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and other health concerns.

On average, Americans consume about 3,393 mg of sodium per day, that’s about 1/2 tablespoon or 1.5 teaspoons.

The recommended dietary guidelines from the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) for Americans is to consume less than 2,300 mg of sodium per day.

According to JAMA (American Medical Association), about half of all Americans, those aged 51 years or older, African Americans of any age, and people with high blood pressure, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease, are recommended to only consume 1500 mg a day of sodium.

What Should You Do?

Eat salt in moderation and remember it is found in processed and restaurant foods in high amounts.

Therefore, your salt intake can be decreased by eating out less often, especially at fast-food restaurants and eating less prepared or packaged foods.

Cook your own meals and remember, “salt to taste.” As you want to taste the real flavors of food, not the salt.