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Home > Cooking Tips > Tips about various ingredients > C
C - Tips about various ingredients

[ Cabbage | CarrotsCashews | Cauliflower | Cheese | Chocolate | Cilantro | Citrus Fruit | Cloves | Coconuts | CoffeeCondensed Milk | Coriander | Corn | Corn Oil | Cookie cutters | Crab | Cream | CucumbersCutting Boards ]

CabbageCabbage

  • When buying cabbage look for firm, hard heads that are heavy for their size. The outer leaves should be green (or red for red cabbage) and free from serious blemishes.
  • Cabbage should be stored at 35 degrees F at very high humidity (90%).
  • 1 pound = 1 quarts shredded.
    1 pound raw yields about pound cooked.
  • Those with thyroid problems should avoid eating large amounts of cabbage or cauliflower. They both interfere with the bodys absorption of iodine, needed by the thyroid gland.
  • Cut up fresh cabbage, sprinkle it with lemon and enjoy it as a midday snack.
  • Cabbage is delicious with your favorite tossed salad or pasta dish. Also, try adding cabbage to vegetable soup.
  • To prevent strong odors when cooking cabbage, add a whole walnut to the cooking liquid.

Carrots

  • Carrots should be stored at 35 degrees F.
  • CarrotsLarge or older carrots can have a slightly bitter taste. To avoid this, slice lengthwise and remove the core.
  • To store carrots, cut the tops off and place them in a plastic bag in the vegetable crisper in your refrigerator.
  • Avoid carrots with green tops, they will be bitter.  The green color is caused by sunlight and is usually the result of heavy rain washing the soil away.
  • A medium bunch of carrots = 1 pound   
    One large carrot, shredded, = 1 cup
  • There are many different ways that you can eat raw carrots, and the choices are almost endless. They can be eaten whole, in sticks, cut into rounds, and chopped or shredded in salads. Kids love the mild taste of carrots!

Cashews

  • You never see cashews for sale in the shell because between the outer and inner shells covering the nut is an extremely caustic oil. The outer shell must be roasted or burned off with the oil (the smoke is also an irritant). The kernels are then boiled or roasted again, and a second shell is removed.

Cauliflower

  • Cauliflower should be stored at 35 degrees F with the leaves still on and good air circulation. With the leaves they will last 2 weeks, without the leaves only a few days.
  • CauliflowerThose with thyroid problems should avoid eating large amounts of cabbage or cauliflower. They both interfere with the bodys absorption of iodine, needed by the thyroid gland.
  • Cauliflower may turn yellow in alkaline water. For whiter cauliflower, add a tablespoon of milk or lemon juice to the water. Do not cook cauliflower in an aluminum or iron pot. The chemical compounds in cauliflower will react with the aluminum and turn the vegetable yellow. While in an iron pot, it will turn a brown or blue-green color.
  • Stir cooked cauliflower into mashed potatoes to enhance their texture.
  • Cauliflower can be substituted for broccoli in many dishes.
  • Cauliflower can also add a zest to your favorite tossed salad.
  • Use chopped florets in place of meatballs as an addition to your favorite pasta sauce for a delightful vegetarian pasta dish.
  • Add fresh or leftover cauliflower to soups or stews.
  • Raw florets make a crunchy, nutritious appetizer with low-fat dressing or dip.

Cheese

  • Preventing mold - To prevent mold on cheese, wrap it in a cloth dampened with saltwater before refrigerating.
  • CheeseMOLD ON CHEESE: Some molds are used to make certain kinds of cheeses including Roquefort, blue, Gorgonzola, Stilton, Camembert, and Brie. The mold on these cheeses is safe to eat. Mold on other types of cheeses should not be there. Discard any soft cheese showing mold. For hard cheese, such as Cheddar, cut off at least 1-inch around and below the mold spot (keep the knife out of the mold itself). After trimming off the mold, the remaining cheese should be safe to eat.  Re-cover the cheese in fresh wrap and keep refrigerated.
  • Most people who are allergic to cow milk products or who are lactose intolerant can use goat and sheep milk products. The lactose or protein in the milk is what usually causes the allergic reaction or intolerance. Goat & sheep milk both have lactose and protein but it is of a different make up that doesnt bother most people.
  • The proteins in cows milk are huge, fit for an animal that will one day weigh in over 500 lbs. The proteins in humans, sheep, and goats, are very short, which is why babies (the infirm, and arthritics) will often thrive on goats milk, and raw goats milk also is loaded with the enzymes that enable the metabolizing of the calcium.
  • Tips on storing cheese
    Store cheese in your refrigerator, which approximates the temperature of our aging rooms. Keep it wrapped tightly in plastic, away from air. Air helps mold grow on cheese. If you get a little mold on the outside, just cut it off. The English say if mold wont eat your cheddar it cant taste very good.
  • Tips on melting cheese
    Bring cheese to room temperature before melting. Melt cheese over a low heat to help prevent toughening and separation of oils and liquid.
  • Tips on freezing cheese
    Most ripened or aged cheese is low in moisture content and can be frozen without drastic flavor and texture changes. Thaw slowly in the refrigerator for 24 hours or more. If frozen for several months, the cheese may dry out somewhat and become crumbly when thawed.
  • Tips on serving cheese
    Its universal thinking - cheese is served best at room temperature.

Chocolate

  • Chocolate: 1 square baking chocolate = 1 oz
  • ChocolateWhite chocolate originates from the cocoa (cacao) plant, but it is not chocolate. According to the FDA, to be called chocolate a product must contain chocolate liquor, which is what gives it the biter intense chocolate flavor (and color) to dark and milk chocolates.         
  • White chocolate contains cocoa butter, milk solids, sugar, lecithin and flavorings (usually including vanilla). Cocoa butter is the fat from cocoa beans, extracted from the cocoa beans during the process of making chocolate and cocoa powder. Cocoa butter has very little chocolate flavor.       
  • How to melt chocolate
    Please note that melting chocolate is not the same as tempering chocolate. Tempered chocolate has been subject to certain temperatures and techniques that alter its chemistry. Tempering produces the texture and sheen we expect from fine chocolate candies. To temper chocolate, consult a candy cookbook.
  • Cocoa butter is one of the ingredients used to make real chocolate, it is gives chocolate the ability to remain solid at room temperature, yet melt easily in the mouth.       
  • Cocoa butter is one of the most stable fats known, containing natural antioxidants that prevent rancidity and give it a storage life of 2 to 5 years.  It is used for its smooth texture in foods (including chocolate) and in cosmetics and soaps.

Cilantro

  • Cilantro, Chinese parsley and fresh coriander leaves are different names for the same herb plant. Cilantro usually refers to the fresh leaves, and coriander to the seeds. They are quite different in flavor, and can not be used as substitutes for one another.

Citrus Fruit

  • Oranges do not ripen after they are picked, but lemons do.
  • Citrus FruitZest is the colored outermost skin layer of citrus fruits. Zest is highly perfumed and is rich in flavonoids, bioflavonoids, and limonoids. Zest can be used to flavor sweet and savory dishes, or candied, for pastry use. Be sure not to get any of the white pith when zesting citrus, as the white pith is bitter.
  • For a great natural facial, boil the peels of an orange and grapefruit with 2 cups of non-carbonated mineral water. Strain the liquid into a bottle and apply to face twice daily. Keep refrigerated. 
  • For a refreshing skin bracer, blend the juice of half a grapefruit with warm water. Splash it on a just washed face to tighten pores. 
  • For rough, red elbows, dip and rub elbows into grapefruit halves. This will soften elbows in only a few days. 
  • For softer cuticles and whiter nails, mix 3 cups of warm water with the juice of half a grapefruit. Soak fingers for 5 minutes. Repeat weekly.

Cloves

  • Cloves, whole or ground, have a high oil content,; they will turn rancid and lose flavor if not kept tightly covered.
  • 1 pound cloves (whole or ground) = 5 cups
    1 oz = 5 Tablespoons
  • Bay leaves, cloves and sage all act as natural insect repellents for ants and other crawling insects.

Coconuts

  • CoconutsCoconut juice or coconut water is the liquid inside a coconut. Coconut milk is produced by steeping grated coconut in hot water then straining; coconut cream is coconut milk cooked down until it thickens, or grated coconut steeped in hot milk instead of water.
  • One fresh coconut yields about 2 cups chopped
    Shredded coconut: 1 pound equals about 5 - 6 cups
  • The easiest way to open a coconut is to pierce the 3 eye with a nail or an ice pick and drain the liquid. Bake the shell at 350 degrees F. for about 20 minutes. Then put it on a firm surface and tap it with a hammer in several places to crack it.
  • One cup of unsweetened shredded coconut has 26 grams fat and 283 calories.  

Coffee

  • Remove bitterness from percolators and other coffee pots by filling with water, adding four tablespoons of salt and percolating or boiling as usual.

Condensed Milk

  • Condensed milk is milk reduced by evaporation, with sugar added.
    1 can (14oz) = 1 quart whole milk plus 7oz of sugar.

Coriander (Coriandrum sativum)

  • Whole coriander seeds:
    1 pound = 6 cups
    1 ounce = 6 tablespoons
  • Cilantro, Chinese parsley and fresh coriander leaves are different names for the same herb plant. Cilantro usually refers to the fresh leaves, and coriander to the seeds. They are quite different in flavor, and can not be used as substitutes for one another.

Corn

  • Corn should be stored at 35 degrees F. Use in 3 or 4 days maximum.
  • Corn3 - 4 ears of corn will yield about 1 cup of cut kernels.
  • Fresh corn on the cob will lose up to 40% of its sugar content after 6 hours of room temperature storage. The sugar is converted to starch.
  • When cooking corn on the cob, be sure there is enough water to completely cover the corn, and that the water is at a good rolling boil before adding the corn. And never add salt, as this toughens the corn. Instead, add a teaspoon or two of sugar. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes and serve.
  • Try adding corn to your favorite vegetable soups, in rice to add color, or in tossed salads.
  • Corn kernels are a great addition when mixed with other vegetables.
  • Instead of using margarine, butter, or salt on your corn, try fresh herbs, light dressings, and or lemon.
  • Grilled corn is a tasty summer treat. Grill it with the husk still on to retain flavor.

Corn Oil

  • Corn oil is odorless, has very little taste, and has a high smoke point, which makes it good for frying. It is also widely used in manufacturing salad dressing, mayonnaise and margarine.
  • Corn oil contains very little cholesterol. Its fatty acid content is 13% saturated, 62% polyunsaturated, and 25% monounsaturated.

Cookie cutters

  • "Cutters should be sharp, with no rough edges. If the cutter sticks to the dough, dip it in flour each time you use it. Always start cutting at the edge of the rolled-out dough and work toward the center, cutting the cookies as close to each other as possible."

Cookie Jars

  • Cookie jars should be airtight. Glass jars with ground glass around the rim and the cover are airtight. Some plastic or glass jars with a rubber ring around the top are also airtight.

Crab

  • Frozen crab meat can be kept for no longer than 4 months and canned crab should be used within 6 months.
  • Cook raw crabs within 24 hours after the crab dies.

Cream

  • CreamHalf & Half is at least 10.5% butterfat (milkfat).
  • Light Cream is between 18 and 30% butterfat.
  • Light Whipping Cream is between 30 and 36% butterfat
  • Heavy Whipping Cream is between 36 and 40% butterfat.
  • The colder cream is to start, and the colder it stays as you whip it, the easier and better it whips.
  • If it is not cold enough, it doesnt "whip", it "churns" (no air is incorporated) which makes butter.
  • When whipping cream, add the sugar when the cream is mostly whipped, and the cream will whip to a higher volume. Adding the sugar at.
  • Here are some facts and tips on using cream or milk in hot dishes.
    1) The lower the butterfat (milkfat) content, the more likely cream is to separate.
    Half & Half is at least 10.5% butterfat (milkfat)
    Light Cream is between 18% and 30% butterfat
    Light Whipping Cream is 30% to 36% butterfat
    Heavy Cream (Heavy Whipping Cream) is 36% to 40% butterfat
    2) The hotter the liquid, the more likely cream is to curdle (separate). Cream should never be added to a boiling liquid.
    When adding cream or milk, it is best to heat it up a bit before adding it to another hot liquid. It is partly the difference in temperature that causes milk or cream to curdle. The beginning results is lower volume.

Cucumbers

  • Store cucumbers at 45 degrees F.
  • CucumbersCucumbers should be used within 4 or 5 days of purchase. Smaller cucumbers are better tasting.
  • Cucumbers are 95% water and have very little nutritional value.
  • Bitterness in cucumbers can be caused by any stress on the plant such as high temperature, low moisture, low soil nutrients, etc. Bitterness is also associated with fruit harvested late in the season from poor yielding, unhealthy plants.
  • If you have bitter cucumbers, cut off the stem ends and peel them. Most of the bitterness is in the stem end and the peel and just below it.
  • The inside of a cucumber can actually be up to 20 degrees F cooler than the outside temperature.
  • VARIETIES OF CUCUMBER - There are several varieties of cucumber; the most popular are English, Persian, and Pickling cucumbers. All these varieties are available year round.
    Persian cucumbers are also known as regular cucumbers with soft, edible seeds. The skin is often waxed to seal in moisture.

    English cucumbers are sometimes known as gourmet cucumbers, burpless, or seedless cucumbers. This variety has seeds that are very small but do not need to be removed. Longer and thinner than regular cucumbers this variety is usually shrink-wrapped to seal in moisture because they are not waxed.
  • SELECTION OF CUCUMBER- Its important to look for firm cucumbers with rich green color and no soft spots. Cucumbers that bulge in the middle, usually most likely means its filled with large watery seeds and tasteless flesh.
  • STORAGE OF CUCUMBER - Whole cucumbers should be refrigerated in a crisper for up to a week. Unwaxed cucumbers will easily lose moisture so keep them wrapped tightly in plastic.
  • USES & PREPARATION - Wash; removing seeds and peeling depends on the variety and is optional. To seed, slice in half lengthwise and scrape out with the tip of a teaspoon.
  • Add a decorative touch to your veggie platter. Run tines of a fork down the entire length of the cucumber, penetrating the peel. Slice crosswise.
  • Add sliced cucumbers to tossed salads. 
  • Shred cucumbers and mix with dill and low fat or fat free sour cream for a tasty dip or accompaniment to a salmon entree. 
  • Use cucumbers as an edible garnish to your main dishes. 
  • Serve cucumbers on your veggie platters at your next gathering. 
  • Try cucumber gazpacho with diced cucumbers, bell peppers, scallions, garlic, and tomato juice, stir, chill and serve!

Cutting Boards

  • Cutting BoardThere is still some dispute over the use of wooden versus plastic cutting boards. The bottom line though, is that if you thoroughly scrub with soap and hot water after each use, either type is safe. Plastic cutting boards may be cleaned in the dishwasher. Wooden cutting boards can be brushed/scraped salt after washing as added precaution. Plastic cutting boards should be bleached with a very strong bleach solution to prevent black mold.
  • CUTTING BOARD SAFETY.
    Never allow raw meat, poultry and fish to come in contact with other foods. Improper washing, such as with a damp cloth, will not remove bacteria. And washing only with soap and water may not do the job, either.
  • To prevent cross-contamination from a cutting board, the FDA advises consumers to follow these practices:
    Use smooth cutting boards made of hard maple or a non-porous material such as plastic and free of cracks and crevices. These kinds of boards can be cleaned easily. Avoid boards made of soft, porous materials.  
  • Wash cutting boards with hot water, soap, and a scrub brush to remove food particles. Then sanitize the boards by putting them through the automatic dishwasher or rinsing them in a solution of 1 teaspoon (5 milliliters) of chlorine bleach in 1 quart (about 1 liter) of water.  
  • Always wash and sanitize cutting boards after using them for raw foods and before using them for ready-to-eat foods. Consider using one cutting board only for foods that will be cooked, such as raw fish, and another only for ready-to-eat foods, such as bread, fresh fruit, and cooked fish. Disposable cutting boards are a newer option, and can be found in grocery and discount chain stores.
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