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& Vegetable Tips
How-To's & Tips Index
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- Most of the fiery heat in a hot chile
peppers (such as jalapeño) is located in the seeds and
membrane -- carefully remove them first before chopping and you'll
tame the pepper's fire greatly without sacrificing on taste.
- To prevent a serious chemical
burn on your hands that will literally last for hours, always
use plastic gloves when preparing raw hot chile peppers (which
contain capsaicin, the main ingredient in pepper spray). This
safety tip is especially important when preparing a large quantity...and
do keep your hands AWAY from your face, especially no rubbing
the eyes or chapped lips!!!
- For the best flavor and crisper
texture when using raw onion in foods, soak in a bowl of ice
water for 15 minutes and drain thoroughly prior to using in foods
such as salads and salsas or as a condiment.
- At the store, purchase produce
that is not bruised or damaged. If buying fresh cut produce,
be sure it is refrigerated or surrounded by ice.
- At home, chill and refrigerate
foods. After purchase, put produce that needs refrigeration away
promptly. (Fresh whole produce such as bananas and potatoes do
not need refrigeration.) Fresh produce should be refrigerated
within two hours of peeling or cutting. Leftover cut produce
should be discarded if left at room temperature for more than
- Wash hands often. Hands should
be washed with hot soapy water before and after handling fresh
produce, or raw meat, poultry, or seafood, as well as after using
the bathroom, changing diapers, or handling pets.
- Wash all fresh fruits and vegetables
with cool tap water immediately before eating. Don't use soap
or detergents. Scrub firm produce, such as melons and cucumbers,
with a clean produce brush. Cut away any bruised or damaged areas
- Wash surfaces often. Cutting
boards, dishes, utensils, and counter tops should be washed with
hot soapy water and sanitized after coming in contact with fresh
produce, or raw meat, poultry, or seafood. Sanitize after use
with a solution of 1 teaspoon of chlorine bleach in 1 quart of
- Don't cross contaminate. Use
clean cutting boards and utensils when handling fresh produce.
If possible, use one clean cutting board for fresh produce and
a separate one for raw meat, poultry, and seafood. During food
preparation, wash cutting boards, utensils or dishes that have
come into contact with fresh produce, raw meat, poultry, or seafood.
Do not consume ice that has come in contact with fresh produce
or other raw products.
- Use a cooler with ice or use
ice gel packs when transporting or storing perishable food outdoors,
including cut fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Fresh strawberries will last
longer when stored in the refrigerator, unwashed, in an airtight
container between layers of paper towels, preferably without
the berries touching.
- When adding whole cherry or
grape tomatoes to a marinated salad, first carefully pierce them
with the tines of a fork. They'll be more flavorful because they
can absorb the marinade better. Tip courtesy of SassyGranny.
- Save those thin white plastic
bags you brought ice cream home in! Once the bananas have reached
the "perfect" ripeness, place them in one of those
white plastic bags and store in the refrigerator. They will remain
"firm textured" and retain their bright yellow color
for up to a week.
- Banana's past their prime? Then
peel, slice or leave whole and freeze in a single layer on a
cookie sheet. Once frozen, place bananas in a plastic freezer
zipper bag. Use thawed in any recipe calling for mashed bananas.