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Home > Cooking Tips > Tips about various ingredients > D
D - Tips about various ingredients
[ Dates | Defrosting Frozen Foods Safely | Dough | Dried Fruits | Dieting  ]


  • DatesOne pound of dates = about 3 cups
  • Store dates at 65 degrees F, in a dry place.
  • Dates contain up to 70% sugar by weight.
  • When buying dates, avoid ones that are sticky or ones that have crystallized sugar on the surface.
  • Fresh dates should be firm and springy, and should have a fresh smell, not sour.
  • Fresh, soft dates should be kept in plastic bags in the refrigerator, and will keep for several weeks.
  • Dried dates should be firm, but not hard.  Dried dates will keep for up to a year, refrigerated.

Defrosting Frozen Foods Safely

  • Food safety experts recommend thawing foods in the refrigerator or the microwave oven, or putting the package in a water-tight plastic bag submerged in cold water and changing the water every 30 minutes. Gradual defrosting overnight in the refrigerator is best because it helps maintain quality.
  • When microwaving, follow package directions. Leave about 2 inches (about 5 centimeters) between the food and the inside surface of the microwave to allow heat to circulate. Smaller items will defrost more evenly than larger pieces of food. Foods defrosted in the microwave oven should be cooked immediately after thawing.
  • Do not thaw meat, poultry and fish products on the counter or in the sink without cold water; bacteria can multiply rapidly at room temperature.


  • Unbaked yeast dough can be frozen. It is best to freeze it before the final rising period. Let it rise the first time, punch it down and shape into the desired shape and then freeze. Thaw it at room temperature for 3 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.

Dried FruitsDried Fruits

  • Dried fruits and vegetables like raisins, prunes and sun-dried tomatoes, retain almost all of their nutrients. Since they weigh less, the nutrient content is actually concentrated.
  • When drying fruits at home, never use a temperature over 140 degrees F. Higher temperatures dry and harden the outside, trapping moisture on the inside. While in storage, the trapped moisture will spread throughout the whole fruit and will eventually cause mold to form.


  • The safest and most effective method of losing weight is to eat less and exercise more. 
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