Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Food & Cooking

12 Most Common Ways to Preserve Food

Food preservation is one of the most important discoveries that have been practiced in the earliest civilizations. It allows the f

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12 Most Common Ways to Preserve Food

Food preservation is one of the most important discoveries that have been practiced in the earliest civilizations. It allows the food to last for a period of time, delaying its decay or spoilage. Food preservation is also a very practical way to those who are saving.

Well, here are the most common ways on how to preserve food:

Canning

In this method, the food will undergo the process of heating. Once done, they will be placed inside a tight container, usually a canning jar and store them for a period of time. Canning is applicable to fruits, vegetables, and seafood.

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Freezing

With the use of a refrigerator, freezing is the most accessible way of preserving food. Any types of food – fruits, vegetables, meat, eggs, and fish can be placed in the freezer with at least 0°F temperature.

Cooling

Well, if you do not have a freezer, you can actually just chill the food inside an icebox or any cool place. Cooling slows down the growth of microorganisms that destroy the quality of food.

Salting

Salt is very effective in decreasing the number of bacteria which cause food spoilage. The salt can also draw out moisture from meat and fish to preserve its quality.

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Drying

Drying is the process of dehydrating foods to get rid of moisture. This method is very common everywhere else. Drying can be done in fruits, vegetables, nuts, fishes, and meat, among others.

Fermenting

Wine and yogurt – these are produced through a special process called fermentation. It utilizes good bacteria that fight against bad bacteria that promotes spoilage of food products. The most common products that can be fermented are grape extracts, milk, and meat.

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Boiling

Boiling is the process of exposing the food product to heat in order to kill existing microbes that may lead to spoilage of food. Milk and water are commonly boiled to kill these harmful microbes.

Sugaring

Sugar is effectively used as a preservative. Sugar draws moisture away from microbes, dehydrates them until they die. Through this, the food is safe from microbial spoilage. Any fruits and vegetables can undergo sugaring.

Pickling

Pickling makes use of a liquid mixture that promotes longevity to food quality. Most commonly, the mixture is comprised of brine, vinegar, alcohol, and vegetable oil. The most common pickled products are cucumber and corned beef.

Curing

One of the earliest forms of food preservation is curing. It makes use of pink salt or curing salt. It then follows the drying and smoking methods. The curing salt speeds up the drying while getting rid of harmful bacteria.

Sealing

Sealing is another effective way which keeps the food from any access to air. Foods are usually stored inside a plastic and get rids of air before sealing the container. Fat sealing and vacuum sealing are two available means of sealing.

Burial

Burial is widely practiced in Asia. The food is stored in a pot or any container and then burned to the ground. Burial keeps the food from light and oxygen sources. It is also cool underneath which inhibits microbe spoilage.

6 Tips for Buying “Real” Organic Products

Almost three-fourths of the entire American population are buying organic products. In the 21st century, being health conscious is in and going organic is one of the smartest ways. Even stores and supermarket are promoting the consumption of organic products. Some of the largest organic retailers are Walmart, Costco, Kroger, Target, and Safeway. With this, organic sales can go up to over $30 billion every year.

As a consumer, it is your duty to be careful with what you buy. Now that organic products are in-demand, there are some stories that sell “fake” organic products. Here are our tips on how to buy “real” organic products:

Get to Know “Organic” Products

It is important that you do a little reading. Get some books or surf the web to know about organic foods, organic products, and organic farming. So basically, “organic” does not make use of synthetic pesticides, harmful chemicals, GMO’s, drugs, antibiotics, hormones, and any substances that alter the natural processes of the growth and development of crops and livestock animals.

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Read the Label

So if you go to a grocery store and shop for organic products, make sure that the product or its packaging has a label that indicates the product is organic. Usually, a certified organic product has a printed label that says “100% Organic” or even just “Organic”. These labels shall bear the USDA organic seal which is printed in green or black.

Check the Code

Another way to determine organic products is by checking its Price-Look Up (PLU) code. These are little numbers that are entered when you purchase a product. The PLU code for an organic product starts with the number 9 and is followed by four more numbers. On the other hand, inorganic products start with the number 4.

Seek for Help

Well, if you aren’t so sure with the label and the code, then do not hesitate to ask anyone in the store. It can be the store manager, the cashier, or any customer service representative. Of course, they are aware where they get their products. So, ask them if the products you have chosen are “real” organic. You can also ask them if where they actually get their products so you can affirm if these are really organic.

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Beware of “Fake” Organics

Due to the increasing demand for organic products, some manufacturers and even stores “greenwash” their products. When we say “greenwash”, they put organic seal, label, and code on any products that are not even organic. Their primary goal is to sell these products, taking advantage of the popularity of the organic products. If you have known of stores that do this, report them to authorities.

https://www.thebalance.com/how-to-shop-for-real-organic-food-and-products-2538172

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Support Local Organic Farms

Lastly, the safest way to buy organic products is to go directly to the local farms that utilize the organic method of farming. For sure they will provide you freshly-harvested organic products. You can also ask them about their procedures, how they grow their crops, raise their animals, etc.

So, we hope that these tips can help you buy “real” organic products.

6 Reasons Why You Should Go Organic Right Now!

More consumers now are becoming health-conscious and smarter with the choices they make in buying food. According to the 2016 study by the Pew Research Center, 68% of the American population buys organic food. The most common reason why they go organic is because of the health benefits they can get from consuming organic products.

Here are the 8 reasons why you should go organic right now:

No Harmful Chemicals

Foods that are grown through conventional farming are exposed to a wide variety of synthetic pesticides and harmful chemicals to get rid of “pests”. The Agricultural Department registers 600 active chemicals that can be used in farming. However, according to National Academy of Sciences, 90% of these are not “safe”. What’s worse is that 16 pounds of chemicals are being consumed by an individual every year.

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More Nutrients

The level of essential vitamins and nutrients from organic foods are much higher than those products that are grown inorganically. According to research, organic foods are richer in vitamin C, magnesium, and phosphorus than conventional counterparts. The organic products get the nutrients and micronutrients from healthy and biologically active soils.

Better Taste

According to research, organic foods taste and smell better than inorganics. The British Journal of Nutrition (BJN) found out that organic products contain a higher concentration of antioxidants, about 69%. More antioxidants present in the food translates to better, natural taste. Moreover, they found out that inorganic crops have 50% cadmium content, a toxic metal contaminant that alters taste quality.

No GMOs

Genetically Modified Organisms are a threat to life. These are living organisms that have been genetically-manipulated to help crops withstand any threats from the environment. But GMOs are not safe to human health. That’s why GMOs should be labeled in the United States and Canada. According to Non-GMO Project, GMO’s can be found in corn, soy, and other crops.

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No Drugs and Hormones

Crops and animals that are grown through the conventional method of farming are injected with drugs and hormones that will modify their natural growth and development. Millions of pounds of antibiotics are used in livestock animals every year. Antibiotics make animals function beyond their health capacity. Growth hormones are also added to make them grow beyond their natural weight and height. Lastly, sex hormones make them produce more milk and reproduce more productively. According to Environmental Protection Agency, 90% of these drugs and antibiotics are consumed by humans, most commonly from meat and dairy products.

Healthy Heart

The organic farming method increases the amount of Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) in animals. CLA is a form of fatty acid that boosts cardiovascular health. It is also good for the muscle-building and shredding some fats in the body. CLA can be found in breast milk and in meat products.

With all of these reasons, humans can live longer if they eat organic products. But more than our health, organic farming is also helpful for the environment since it does not use any chemicals that may harm the nature and the biodiversity.

11 Magical Ways to Use the Food Processor

A food processor is really a blessing! We thank its inventor for giving us something that is really useful in the kitchen. It doesn’t just make food preparation much easier, but it also allows mothers and fathers, food lovers, chefs and cooks and any ordinary person to experiment in creating more recipes.

To all adventure-seekers out there, let’s go to the kitchen and start transforming simple ingredients into delicious and appetizing foods by just using a food processor.

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Peanut Butter

For nut lovers out there, you can actually create a peanut butter spread with your food processor. All you need are dry roasted peanuts, butter, sweeteners and a little bit of salt, and of course, your bread.

Healthy Pesto

Combine basil, garlic, pine nuts, salt, Olive oil and Parmesan cheese into the food processor and start mixing them all. You can also add pecorino Sardo to make it cheesier.

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Salad Dressing

The food processor is also great for whipping up salad dressing out of your most favorite ingredients – garlic, chives, tarragon, parsley, and anchovies, among others.

Curry Paste

Red, green or yellow curry paste – depending on your preference – all of these can be made through your food processor. You just need some garlic, cumin, fish sauce, coriander, shrimp paste, chili powder, coconut milk and lime juice.

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Ice Cream

You can make your own homemade ice cream. All you need are sweetened condensed milk, cold milk, heavy cream, vanilla extract and flavoring, mix them all together and freeze. Enjoy!

Green Sauce

If you love veggies, then you can turn them into a healthy, green sauce. Just mix all your favorite green leafy vegetables like parsley, spinach, and cabbage into the food processor and you are good to go.

Vegetable Soup

Making a healthy, hot soup during the winter has never been this easier. Mix all the vegetables you want. Add some seasoning or a pinch of salt will do. Heat the mixture and serve hot.

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Cookie Crumbs

Grab your favorite chocolate cookie and turn them into cookie crumbs through the food processor. Top these cookie crumbs in your frappe, smoothie, cake, or ice cream.

Homemade Mayonnaise

Mix 1 egg and 1 egg yolk, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon of salt into the food processor. Gradually drizzle 1 cup of virgin olive oil into the mixture. That’s it! You have your own homemade mayonnaise.

Hash Browns

Grate the potatoes into the food processor. Add flour, butter, salt, black pepper and paprika into the mixture. Form the mixture into patties or cubes. Deep fry in olive oil. You can dip these hash browns into your homemade mayo or sauce.

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Burger Patty

Well, maybe you are into meat right now. Don’t you worry! You can enjoy meat in a different way. Just grind the meat into the food processor. Add essential seasonings and spices. Mold them into patties and deep fry. Now you have a burger patty.

Apart from these, making pies, pasta, pizza doughs, cakes and other sweets are also much easier with the food processor. Bon appetite!

 

Reasons Why You Should Buy a Food Processor

If you ask any kitchen enthusiast out there why they own a food processor, they will definitely answer you that best food processors make food preparation so much easier! If you spend hours chopping the carrots, shredding the cheese, and slicing the onions, then stop! It’s time for you to buy a food processor.

Food processors can handle most of the food preparation tasks. They come in different sizes. A standard food processor consists of an S-shaped blade that does the magic in food preparation. To make it more efficient, you can buy several attachments with varied functions to make your food processor versatile to any food prep needs.

Chopping

The first primary function of food processors is for chopping. Its S-shape blade spins around and chops items inside the container into small pieces – tomatoes, potatoes, nuts, and onions. The longer the time you run the processor, the smaller they will be.

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Slicing

There are various slicing blades that slice foods into varied thickness. But the standard food processor can slice foods as you drop them at the top of the food processor. Slicing apples, carrots, cucumbers, eggplant and other vegetables has never been easier now!

Grinding

If you are planning to make a burger patty, then let the food processor grind the beef. You never know what’s in the ground meat sold in grocery stores. So, just buy whole cuts of chicken, pork, sirloin or whatever you want and grind it yourself.

Grating

Probably some of you are complaining of grated “fingernails” and “fingers”. Well, save your fingertips and let the food processor do the grating. The grating disk of the processor can grate a block of cheese, a whole carrot, or potatoes if you want to make hash browns.

Shredding

If you do not want grated cheese, the food processor can shred instead. The shredding disk can shred cheese and other vegetables smoothly and “longer” if you may prefer. The food processor can do it in just a fraction of time.

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Pureeing

Food processors can effectively puree all sorts of food. There are various attachments available that will make more quality purees. Food processors can transform tomatoes to tomatoes sauce, carrots to carrot juice, chickpeas to hummus, and can make soups.

Crushing

Some foods may be so huge or hard that you want to turn it into little bits. Well, the food processor can also do it for you. It can handle blocks of ice, almonds, and other kinds of nuts.

Mixing

If you are tired of mixing various cuts of fruits and vegetables, yogurt and milk, then leave it to the food processor. It can effectively mix any foods without affecting its size or quality, just pure mixing.

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Blending

Food processors can also function as a blender. Well, actually it is a blender but more powerful. So if you want to make smoothies, milkshakes, and juices, use the food processor.

Alright! We hope that you are now decided why you need a food processor in your kitchen.

8 Things to Consider When Buying a Blender

A blender is considered to be one of the must-have essentials in the kitchen. It makes food preparation much easier. It is used to mix foods, puree fruits or make ice shakes of different flavors. In buying a blender, there are things that you should take into consideration. Let us guide you on how to choose the best blenders that meets your needs.

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Types

There are different types and models of blenders available in the market. They have different functions perfect for juicing fruits or even crushing huge ice blocks.

The first type is the personal blender which is perfect for making smoothies-on-the-go and power shakes. There is also the conventional blender which is found in most kitchens. It is best for medium-intensity blending tasks like making milkshakes or fresh fruit smoothies. For high-performance blending capability, hybrid blenders are perfect for you. They have powerful motors and fast-spinning blades perfect for blending large cuts of fruits and huge ice blocks. Lastly, the most recent innovation is the immersion blender which acts like a mixer, blending foods that are in a separate container.

Power

Check the horsepower of the motor of the blender by calculating the wattage of the food blender. Remember, 1 HP is equivalent to 746 watts. If you are into high-intensity blending, we suggest that you get the blender with more HP. Horsepower is advertised on the packaging as “Actual HP” and Peak HP”. To know more about this, check this article.

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Features

Consider additional features that are integrated into the blender. Different brands of blenders offer a wide variety of features like touchscreen controls, timer and more. Choose the features that you really think you need.

Blending Options

Blending options include the speed and the blending variation. Blending speed may be from low to high or 1 to 10. On the other hand, there are blenders that allow you to choose how to blend the mixture – puree, crush, ultra-blend, and smoothie, among others.

Material

The material of the blender jar varies. A glass jar is easy to clean, but it is heavy and fragile. Polycarbonate jars are much lighter and may not break easily, however, it absorbs odor and stains of the blended mixture. Lastly, stainless steel jars are also easy to clean and are much lighter. However, you cannot see the blending inside because it is not transparent or translucent.

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Storage Capacity

Basically, there are small and large blenders. If you want a blender for personal use, choose the small-sized blenders. If you are serving more than 10 persons, then consider buying blenders that are large.

Price

Most especially, check if the price of the blender you are eyeing to buy suits your budget. If you are on a tight budget, buy a blender that has less additional features.

Reviews

Lastly, blenders in stores may be very attractive. It is important that you check the internet for some helpful reviews that will help you decide before you purchase the blender.

That’s it! We hope that you can find the best blender for you.

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