Handy tips for storing food
Storing is an important aspect of cooking. Not all food we prepare are consumed immediately. Some need to be stored for being used later. So here are some handy tips as how you can store your food for long periods of time.
Buying and Storing Cilantro
When buying Cilantro/Coriander leaves at the store, shake out the extra water and dry with a paper towel. Do not rinse until just before using, then rinse well. Storing: As soon as you bring cilantro home from the market, stand it upright in a glass of warm water to give it a final drink, then wrap a wet paper towel around its roots (it will last longer with roots intact). Store in a paper towel in the vegetable crisper drawer.
Retain the freshness of plain flour, semolina and gram flour by storing them in the refrigerator and they will remain fresh for a long time.
Storing Ice -Cream
Store the ice cream container in a big Ziploc plastic freezer bag. This will stop ice crystals from forming when it is in the freezer.
Store potatoes in a cool dark place. To prevent potatoes from budding, place an apple in the bag with the potatoes! This will prevent the potatoes from budding. Change the apple every week.
Avoid Staining Tupperware
Before storing tomato-based sauces or Indian curries with lots of turmeric powder or other foods that can stain, spray your plastic storage container with nonstick cooking spray.
Storing Cilantro & Mint leaves
Clean, wash and chop cilantro or mint leaves finely. Fill each cube in a ice cube tray with the finely chopped cilantro or mint leaves. Top each cube with cold water and freeze. The cilantro or mint cubes can be dropped into curries etc. on an as needed basis.
Place green fruits in a perforated plastic bag. The holes will allow air to circulate while retaining the ethylene gas that fruits produce during ripening.
It is better to store cheese in chill tray to keep it good for days.
Olive oil oxidizes easily, which results in the loss of its delicate flavours. It should therefore be stored in tinted glass bottles or in tins or cans to protect it from light and air.
Excess tomato puree may be frozen in an ice cube tray. Remove frozen cubes and store in a sealable freezer bag, using as and when required.
Make crumbs of day old chapatis, dry for two to three hours in a wide plate, bottle and refrigerate. Use later like breadcrumbs or as required, will keep for four to five days in refrigerator.
Stuffed veggies like bittergourds and potatoes, etc. can be stored in freezer bags, and thawed as required. Make sure to thaw completely before proceeding to cook it. Or else it will crumble easily.
If fish is to be stored for more than a day, clean it thoroughly, rub it with salt and turmeric powder before freezing.
Mix fifteen to twenty cloves with every kilogram of dal while storing to prevent it from being attacked by insects. The same cloves can be reused.
When chilling puddings in the refrigerator, cover the containers with cling film or plastic sheet to protect from water and crystal formation in the dish.
Always store aamras and other mango desserts in non-metal containers, because when stored in metal containers they may get discoloured.
Cut off the roots and pack fresh coriander leaves in two to three sheets of newspaper and refrigerate. In this way they remain fresh upto a week or two.
To prevent insects from forming in plain flour store it in clean zip lock bags in a refrigerator. This way the flour will stay fresh much longer.
Moisture causes baking powder to deteriorate faster. To prevent this store baking powder in airtight containers. Anyway it should not be stored for too long as it loses strength over time.
To keep carrots fresh for longer, cut the tops off and place them in a plastic bag in the vegetable crisper of the refrigerator.
Fresh soft dates should be kept in plastic bags in the refrigerator. They will keep fresh for weeks.
Put leftover soup or soup stock in ice cube trays and freeze. The frozen soup cubes can be wrapped and stored in the freezer. This makes it possible to serve small amounts of soup or use the entire batch for another meal.
A pinch of salt added to ginger-garlic paste will help increase its shelf life though it should be stored in the refrigerator.
Butter is best kept in the refrigerator, but it should be well wrapped and kept away from strong smelling foods.
To prevent fresh coconut milk from turning rancid add a pinch of salt to it. This will help preserve it for a few hours.
Store leftover fried papads in a polythene bag. They will remain crisp.
To increase shelf life of coffee powder, store it in an air-tight container and place it in the refrigerator.
To keep cottage cheese fresh, wrap it in a muslin cloth that has been dipped in lemon water.
When putting meat in the fridge cover it with foil to prevent it from drying.
Do not waste egg whites if you have recipes which call for yolks only. They freeze very well and can be stored in batches of 3 or 4 egg whites at a time. In fact when thawed, frozen egg whites make much better foam.
Lemon halves shrivel in the fridge when unused. Hence freeze them in polyethylene bags so that they are handy for making cold drinks whenever the need arises.
Freshly cut fruits can be kept for a longer period by adding a little limejuice or a small dose of vitamin C tablet.
Tomatoes can be kept longer if kept in the freezer.