Featured Pinch Tips Video
1For longer storage, sweet onions can be frozen. Chop and place in a 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. pan in the freezer. When they're frozen, place in freezer bags or containers and freeze for up to 1 year. Frozen chopped onions are best used in recipes such as soups, sauces and casseroles.
2When tomato season is in full swing and you can't use tomatoes up fast enough, freeze them whole in resealable plastic freezer bags. Pop a few frozen tomatoes into a pot of soup or sauce and simmer, breaking up with a spoon as they thaw.
3Arrange stuffed bell peppers in a Bundt or tube pan for baking. They'll stay upright and won't tip over as easily.
4Mash potatoes up to two hours ahead of time and keep warm in a slow cooker set at low heat. Just before serving, stir in a little milk or butter. This makes coordinating big dinners, like Thanksgiving, a lot easier.
5Lemon juice or vinegar in the water cauliflower is cooked in makes it keep its snowy-white color
To prevent the smell of cooking greens, add a lump or so of loaf sugar to the water, or put a piece of dry toast in a clean muslin bag and boil it with the greens. Another method is to add a teaspoonful of vinegar to the water when it is boiling.
6When boiling potatoes with the skins on , score the potato length wise with a knife about 4 times , after there done boiling toss them in cold water and the skins will come right off.
7Wash leafy vegetables, such as spinach, thoroughly just before cooking. Add no water–the water that clings to the leaves is enough to cook them in
8Cabbage odor can be avoided by dropping two English walnuts (uncracked) into the kettle while cooking
9Lettuce can be decorated by filling a small bowl with water and sprinkling paprika on top. Revolve head of lettuce in it and the leaves will be ringed with red for an attractive salad
10Celery: When celery loses its crispness, place it in a pan of cold water. Slice a raw potato and put it in the pan. Let stand for a few hours. Remove the celery from the water and you will find that it has regained its original crispness , wrap in tin foil and store in veggie bin and celery will last longer.
11Vegetables that have become withered can be freshened by soaking them with a strong solution of baking soda. Withered parsnips, carrots, potatoes, cabbage, lettuce, etc., will become crisp again.
12Store mushrooms in a paper sack, not the plastic-wrapped styrofoam containers they're sold in. They'll last longer if allowed to "breathe" in the paper bag. Plastic clamshell containers that strawberries are sold in are also perfect for storing fresh mushrooms—air circulates around them and keeps them fresh longer.
13Roast mushroom caps before stuffing to prevent them from turning soggy. Sprinkle the cavities with salt and roast, cavity side up, at 400° F. for 10 minutes. Turn the caps over and roast another 5 minutes before stuffing.
14To blanch (cook) vegetables, bring a pot of salted water to a boil, then add vegetables and cook until tender-crisp. Immediately transfer vegetables to a bowl of ice water to cool.
15Revive limp celery by trimming the ends and sticking the stalks in a jar of cold water. Place the jar in the refrigerator for a couple of hours until the stalks are crisp.
16Trim the woody ends off fresh asparagus then arrange in a tall vase or glass with a little water in the bottom. Loosely tent with a plastic bag and refrigerate until needed, refreshing the water every couple of days.
17To clean leeks, cut them as instructed in the recipe, then place in a bowl of cold water and swish around until the sand falls to the bottom of the bowl. Drain carefully, then rinse again to remove any traces of grit.
18Quick-thaw frozen spinach by placing it in a colander and running cool water over it until thawed. Squeeze out as much excess water as possible before using in recipes.