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Home > Cooking Tips > Tips about various ingredients > O
O - Tips about various ingredients
[ Olive Oil | Onions | Oranges ]

Olive Oil

  • When kept sealed and in the dark olive oil can last up to one year.

Onions

  • OnionsOne teaspoon of onion powder = 1 Tablespoon of dried onions.
  • The warmer the climate, the sweeter the onion.
  • One pound of onions contains about 175 calories.
  • There are many methods recommended for cutting onions to avoid tears. Each method has its supporters. Try each of them, if one works for you, use it.
    Methods: cut the root off last; refrigerate before cutting; peel them under cold water; have a fan behind you or alongside to blow the vapors away; place a piece of bread on the knife tip to absorb the fumes; chew gum while peeling and slicing onions. Hold you breath and cut them as quick as you can or have someone else cut them for you!
  • Use raw or cooked onions to season stews, soups, tomato sauces or cooked vegetables.
  • Small pearl onions make a great side dish when seasoned with thyme.
  • Enjoy stuffed and baked onions.
  • Stuff onions with chopped vegetables and rice or breadcrumbs.
  • Add raw onions to salads or fresh vegetable trays
  • Include onions to add crunch and flavor to dressings, relishes, or sauces.
  • Onions may be eaten raw or cooked. Onions should be peeled before preparing, except when baking. Onions may be boiled, braised, baked, microwaved, or sauteed.
  • Removing onion odors from hands - Rub fingers with salt moistened with vinegar.
  • Onions are low in calories and in most nutrients (however, green onions are a good source of Vitamin A.)
  • Onions not only provide flavor; they also provide health-promoting phyto chemicals as well as nutrients. Onions contain quercetin, a flavonoid (one category of antioxidant compounds), and allium.

Selection of Onions

  • Most onions are sold loose by the pound, although some types are sold in bags or small boxes. Look for onions that feel dry and solid all over, with no soft spots or sprouts. The neck should be tightly closed and the outer skin should have a crackly feel and a shiny appearance. Onions should smell mild, even if their flavor is not. Avoid selecting onions with green areas or dark patches.

Storage of Onions

  • Onions should be kept in a cool, dry open space away from bright light. Onions do best in an area that allows for air circulation. Because onions absorb moisture, do not store onions below the skin. Also, do not place onions near potatoes because potatoes give off moisture and produce a gas that causes onions to spoil more quickly. Spring/summer onions usually store for about two weeks and storage onions for about three to four weeks.

Varieties of Onions

  • Onions came in a variety of sizes, colors and shapes. They are often broken down into three categories: spring/summer, storage, and pearl onions. Spring/summer onions are grown primarily from fall to spring in warm weather areas and have a soft flesh and a mild or sweet taste. These varieties are generally shipped right after harvesting. Storage onions have a firm flesh, dry, crackle outer skins and have a pungent flavor. After a brief period of drying, these onions are stored for several months before shipping. Pearl onions are often called white onions and are densely planted to make the onions smaller. There are no nutritional differences among these onion types.
  • Onions also come in three colors - yellow, red, and white. Approximately 88 percent of the onion crop is devoted to yellow onion production, with about 7 percent red onions and 5 percent white onions.
  • Yellow onions are full-flavored and are a reliable standby for cooking almost anything. Yellow onions turn a rich, dark brown when cooked and give French Onion Soup its tangy sweet flavor. The red onion, with its wonderful color, is a good choice for fresh uses or in grilling and char-broiling. White onions are the traditional onion used in classic Mexican cuisine. They have a golden color and sweet flavor when sautéed.

Oranges

  • OrangesCalifornia oranges have a relatively thick skin compared to Florida oranges. This thicker skin helps protect them from the dry climate in the West.
  • Oranges do not ripen after they are picked, but lemons do.
  • Store oranges at 35 degrees F. at high humidity (85%+); they will keep almost 2 months.
  • One pound of oranges yields almost 1 cup of juice.
  • 1 orange = ½ cup juice    
  • 1 orange yields about 1 tablespoon of grated zest.
  • Oranges vary 2 - 3 per pound.
  • Orange juice can be used over fresh fruits to prevent browning.
  • Carry an orange with you wherever you go, they come in their own covered container so you can just peel and eat orange segments whenever the snack craze occurs.
  • Buy a zesting tool or grate orange rind to use in recipes, rice, or stir fry for added flavor.
  • Cut oranges into wedges and eat them for a light snack or use them as edible garnishes.
  • A couple of tablespoons of orange juice concentrate can be added to a fruit cup for a great flavorful sauce.
  • Combine the juice with other fruits and yogurt in the blender for a smoothie any time of day.
  • Drink a cool glass of orange juice for breakfast or serve orange halves instead of grapefruit for a change.
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