Monday, August 31, 2009

Spice tips

  • When possible, grind whole spices in a grinder or mortar & pestle just prior to using. Toasting whole spices in a dry skillet over medium heat before grinding will bring out even more flavor. Be careful not to burn.
  • Buy only as much spice as you need from a store that sells spices in bulk. Its much cheaper than the little bottles from the grocery store, and they won't go bad on you.
  • When using fresh herbs such as dill, chives, parsley, etc., hold them together in small bunches or put in a cup, and snip with kitchen scissors. It is a lot faster this way, and you'll find the herbs will be light and fluffy, not bruised and wet as they often get when chopped.
  • Make your own celery flakes. Just cut and wash the leaves from the celery stalks; place them in the oven on low heat or in the hot sun until thoroughly dry. Crumble and store in an air-tight container. Use in soups or add a kick to tuna sandwiches.
  • Never heat pesto sauce in the microwave- the basil will turn black and taste bitter, and the Parmesan will clump.
  • Store freshly cut basil on your kitchen counter in a glass with the water level covering only the stems. Change the water occasionally. It will keep for weeks this way, even develop roots! Basil hates to be cold, so NEVER put it in the refrigerator. Also, regular cutting encourages new growth and healthier plants.

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