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

[ Baking Powder | Bananas | Broccoli | Beets | Butter ]

Baking Powder

  • In double acting baking powder, carbon dioxide is produced when moisture is added, and again when it is heated. So using too much baking powder will produce a product with a coarse grain, and broken cell walls in the air bubbles, which will cause the product to eventually fall. When you use too little, the product will not rise enough and will be heavy.
  • Baking powders lose strength over time. They should be kept tightly covered, moisture will cause them to deteriorate faster.
  • If you increase the eggs in a recipe, decrease the baking powder by teaspoon for each extra egg added, and vice versa.


  • If bananas ripen before they are picked, they lose their taste and texture.
  • BananasTo ripen green tip bananas quickly, keep them at 70 degrees F, with very high humidity and no air circulation for 2 or 3 days.
  • Best storage for ripe bananas is 65 degrees F with 80% humidity, and very good air circulation. They should keep for a week or so like that.
  • Do not hold green bananas much below 59 degrees F. The skin will turn a dark brownish color and they will develop an off taste.
  • Selection of Bananas
    Avoid bananas with brown spots that seem very soft. Select those bananas with a nice color, specific for the variety. Choose fruit that is firm and free of bruises. Best eating quality has been reached when the solid yellow skin color is speckled with brown. Bananas with green tips or with practically no yellow color have not developed their full flavor. Bananas are overripe when they have a strong odor.
  • Storage of Bananas
    To further ripen bananas leave at room temperature for a couple of days. Once ripe you can store in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days. The peel may turn brown in the refrigerator, but the fruit will not change.
  • Unripe bananas have about 25% starch and only 1% sugar. Natural enzyme action converts this high starch content to sugar, so ripe bananas have a 20% sugar content.
  • The average banana contains 0.6 grams fat.
  • The very heart of the trunk of a banana tree - inside the layers of bark fiber, is a white tube. It may be cooked, and has a taste and texture similar to bamboo shoots.
  • For a cool refreshing treat, cut a banana into chunks and put in the freezer. Take out in a couple of hours and enjoy.
  • Carry bananas in your lunch or use as a snack.
  • Use sliced bananas in cereal, yogurt, or on a peanut butter sandwich.


  • Broccoli is a member of the cabbage family, and a close relative of cauliflower. Broccoli is available year round, but it grows better in cool weather, so it can be in short supply in July and August.
  • When buying broccoli look for firm, compact clusters of small flower buds, with none opened to show the bright yellow flower. The bud clusters should be dark green or sage green, and even green with a purplish tinge. Stems should not be too thick or tough.

    AVOID: Enlarged or open buds, yellowish green color or wilting.  Avoid soft, slippery, watersoaked spots on the bud cluster, this is a sure sign of decay.


  • The ability to metabolize the red pigment in beets, betacyanin, is a genetically controlled trait. People who inherit two recessive genes pass the pigment in their urine.
  • BeetsWhen buying fresh beets, choose small beets and cut the tops off right away leaving about 2 inches of the stem. The greens draw moisture from the root. Store unwashed in an open plastic bag or one with holes, for 7 to 10 days.
  • Beets are available year-round. Beets are sold both bunched with the tops attached, and by weight with the tops removed. It easier to tell the freshness with the tops attached, although even with wilted tops the roots may be alright if they are firm. Look for beets that are firm, round, with a slender taproot, a rich deep red color and smooth surface.
  • Avoid elongated beets with round scaly areas around the top surface - they will be tough, fibrous and strong flavored. Avoid wilted flabby beets, they have lost too much moisture.
  • 1 pound of beets without tops gives 2 cups of cooked beets. 
  • 2 to 3 lbs. Are needed to make 1 quart of canned beets. 
  • 1 to 1 lb. Will make 1 pint of frozen beets. 
  • 1 bushel (52lb) will make 35 to 42 pints of frozen beets.
  • Storage of Beets
    Remove the tops 1 to 2 inches above the beet. Keep refrigerated in the vegetable crisper or in plastic bags or containers to prevent wilting due to to loss of moisture. Use beets within 1 to 2 weeks.


  • Butter absorbs odors very easily and quickly, so keep covered.
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