Buying Frozen Salmon

Farm raising Salmon has lead to an abundance of affordable fish.  Only problem is that you don’t know what to look for when you are buying it.

When you are buying frozen Salmon, look for salmon that has been frozen solid and does not look like it has defrosted during transit.  Avoid packages that look freezer burned or have any white icy colorations.

Once you get it home wrap it in freezer paper tightly or in an air tight container.  Freeze immediately and it should stay fresh for up to 4 months.

When you are ready to use your salmon, remove from the freezer and place in the refrigerator overnight.  Don’t forget to put a plate or a pan underneath to catch any juices that might escape the packaging.  Once it has thoroughly thawed you can make your recipe as normal.

Types of Tea

You love tea, but you have no idea what all the different kinds are.  Here is a quick lesson in the types of tea that there are out there and their flavor profiles.

Black – Black Tea is the most common variety out there today.  Black tea is a bit more bitter than other tea’s and has the most caffeine.  It is very versatile and can be used in most drinks and recipe’s if you want a strong taste of tea.

Flavored – Flavored Tea can be any variety of tea that has extra spices or additives to make it taste like something specific.  Common types of flavored tea have cinnamon, orange peel, blackberry, lemon and lavender.

Green – Green Tea has a very delicate flavor.  It uses the same leaves as the black tea, but they are dried fairly soon after the leaves are picked so that they do not fully ferment.  Green tea does have some caffeine, but not as much as black tea.

Herbal – Herbal Tea are technically tea.  Instead of using tea leaves, Herbal tea’s use flowers, spices and herbs instead for their flavor. Herbal tea’s typically have no caffeine unless they are mixed with regular tea.

Oolong – Oolong Tea is a black tea that is fermented more than white tea, but less that black tea.  This give the tea a richer taste than white tea, but a milder taste than black tea.  It does also contain some caffeine.

White – White Tea is also tea leaves that are picked when they are very young and dried shortly after so there is little to no fermenting.  It has a very soft flavor and has the least amount of caffeine as other types of tea. (except herbal)


What Kind of Ham Should I Buy?

You are shopping for a ham but you have no idea which one to buy. Here is a brief synopsis of different kinds of ham and how they need to be prepared.

Fully Cooked Ham
This is the most popular kind of ham in most supermarkets today. It is fully cooked and ready to eat as soon as you buy it. If you plan on serving your ham warm, bake until the internal temperature reaches 140F.

Cook Before Eating
These hams are processed much in the same way as fully cooked hams, but they are not completely cooked. Once you get it home you will need to heat the ham until it reaches an internal temperature of 160F.

Country Style Hams
These hams are prepared with a special process that gives them a very distinct flavor. Because of the process in which they are made, they can be slightly saltier than other kinds of hams. Since there are so many different kinds on the market, make sure that you follow the packaging directions for best results.

Turkey Ham
These hams are usually skinless and boneless. Turky thigh meat is prepared, smoked and salted to taste like a pork ham. If you would like to serve turkey ham warm, you can heat it to 140f.

Fresh Herbs?

When cooking with herbs it is hard to tell if what you have in the cupboard is fresh.

Dried herbs actually have a shelf life of about 1 – 1½ years, but if you are like me, most of my herbs have been there for much longer!

Before using the herb in your recipe, pinch a few of the leaves between your fingers and roll a bit. If you can smell the herb it should be good to use.

If you don’t smell anything or the smell is very faint toss the herbs and buy some new ones.

What is Udon

You found a cool recipe that you want to try out, but it asks for Udon noodles and you aren’t quite sure what they are.

Udon noodles are packaged similar to spaghetti and can usually be found in the oriental section of your market or an oriental market.

Udon noodles are thick noodles that are most commonly made from wheat flour.

If you would like to try out different flavors with your dish, you can sometimes find them made out of rice flour or corn flour also.

Sizes and shapes can vary for variety also.

Mighty Fresh Mint

You just went shopping and found a great bundle of fresh Mint. You get it home, and you are wondering how you can store it so that it will last the longest.

First grab a large bowl and fill it up with cool water. Break the bundle into the bowl and rinse well. Pick through the bunch and discard any pieces that are starting to die or look decayed.

Remove from the water and gently shake off any excess water. (You are not going to want to use a salad spinner as it will bruise the leaves)

Grab a vase, jar or glass and fill with water. You will want a container that will hold the herb snugly with the leaves just above the rim. Place your herbs in the container of water making sure that all of the stems are in the water.

Grab the produce bag that you brought your herbs home in and gently place over the top.

Place the jar in your refrigerator and monitor it. Every couple of days you will want to check the water, if it starts to look murky, dump the water and replace the water. Trim off any stems that might look like they are going bad.

Mint should stay fresh for about one month if stored in this manner.

Finding Farina

In your culinary wanderings you occasionally see a reference to Farina.

Farina is derived from the Latin word for Flour and it is wheat, but it is more coarsely ground, kind of the same texture as cornmeal.

Now pretty much the only time that you see Farina is in hot cereal such as Cream of Wheat.

Farina was used more for baking since it holds moisture so well but you will very seldom see it referenced in modern recipes.

Mighty Milk

When you are storing milk, you really don’t think too much about it.

There are a few simple things that you should keep in mind to help keep your milk fresh.

Do you get the plastic jug or the carton? When you buy milk, you should get it in the carton. The carton helps insulate the milk and keep it at a more even temperature. This will help it from spoiling as quickly.

Your refrigerator should be kept at 40 degrees, and the milk should be stored on a shelf inside the refrigerator and not on the door. The door has too drastic of temperature changes every time the door is opened.

No matter what the expiration date on the carton, you should dispose of milk that has been opened for more than one week.

If you need to store it for longer, freeze it. You can store frozen milk for up to 3 months.

Yeast Know How

When buying yeast it all depends on how you cook as to how much you will want to buy.

If you only make bread once or twice a month, only buy the yeast in the envelopes.

If you make bread several times a week you can buy the larger jars. Some times you can find yeast in bulk, but only try to buy that if you know that you will be making large quantity of yeast breads or treats.

Once you get the yeast home you can store it in the refrigerator. If you don’t plan on using all of the yeast right away, freeze any left over portions in a tightly sealed container.

You keep the yeast in the refrigerator it should easily stay fresh up to the date on the packaging.

If you place it in the freezer it should still be usable for up to one year from the date on the package.

Don’t forget to bring your yeast back to room temperature before using it whichever method you use.