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Fruit & Vegetable Tips

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You can add garlic flavor to salads by rubbing halved garlic cloves around the inside of the salad bowl(s).

According to Cranberry.org, fresh cranberries can be stored in the freezer for up to 18 months. It's a great way to ensure that you'll have some on hand year-round to add color, flavor and nutrition to recipes.

To easily remove the white membrane when peeling an orange, soak the unpeeled orange in boiling water for 5 minutes. Superb for salads!

Next time you serve sliced cucumber in a recipe, pull the tines of a sharp fork down the length of an unpeeled cucumber before slicing it to give the slices a fancy look.

You should only use canned, never fresh, pineapple in gelatin salads. A natural enzyme in the fresh fruit will prevent the gelatin from setting.

For easy removal of gelatin from molds, moisten the interior of mold with cold water then coat with vegetable oil or cooking spray before filling.

You can simmer asparagus peelings into a stock that can be used as a base for soup.

Keep bottled lemon or lime juice in a spray mister in the refrigerator and spray on cut apples, avocados, peaches, pears, ecetera, to prevent these types of foods from turning brown.

You won't waste any grated citrus zest if you use a kitchen brush to coax every last bit off the grater.

Select salad greens that are crisp and free of discoloration. Iceberg lettuce and cabbage should be firm and solid.

Vitamin C is water-soluble and heat-sensitive. Cooking vegetables for a short a time as possible is nutritionally wise. When cooking in water, have the water boiling before you add the vegetables.

Use a wooden spoon to seed melons like cantaloupe and honeydew rather than a metal one that might gouge the flesh.

To get the most flavor from fresh parsley, stem it, leaving only the leaves. Put the leaves in a deep bowl and snip them with sharp scissors. This way they won't turn to mush as they do when chopped with a knife or in a food processor.

Vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage often give off unpleasant odors during cooking. A large piece of stale bread added to the pot as the water begins to boil will counteract both.

When selecting onions, consider all the possibilities. The Spanish or Bermuda onion and the white onion are usually mild in flavor; on the other hand, Globe types, such as red, brown and yellow onions are stronger flavored.

Pasta, rice and vegetable salads should chill for a few hours to allow flavors to blend.
Adding too much dressing will make a green salad soggy.

To prevent wilting and flavor change, rinse green, leafy vegetables under cool water, and drain thoroughly. Wrap in paper towels, place in plastic bags, and store the vegetable bin of the refrigerator.

Before chopping onions in the food processor, peel and quarter them and freeze for 30 minutes. This will minimize both mushiness and tears.

If you add a little vinegar to the water when boiling peeled potatoes, it causes them to form a light crust that helps hold their shape when combined with other foods - an added plus when making potato salad.

Tomatoes shouldn't be cooked at a rolling boil because they can turn acidic. For sweet and mellow tomatoes or sauce, simmer slowly...no additional sugar is needed.

To test the freshness of corn at the market, pop a kernel with your fingernail. If the milk is watery, then the corn is immature. If it is thick and starchy, the corn is old.

Always use canned, not fresh, pineapple in gelatin salads. A natural enzyme in the fresh fruit will prevent the gelatin from setting.

Sharon Valentino of Indio, California, shares this great tip: A teaspoon or so of baking powder will make your mashed potatoes light and fluffy.

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