Monthly Archives: June 2010

How To Keep Fruits Fresh For A Long Time …

There are different methods of preserve he freshness of different fruits:

Apples: Let’s start from A for Apple. Apple does not require refrigeration. They stay fresh for a long time at room temperature i.e., 25 degrees Celsius. So keep them out at room temperature and at some dry place and they will stay fresh for about 3 weeks.

Oranges, Mandarins and other citrus Fruits: Keep all the citrus fruits at room temperature. Same as apple, they don’t need high or low temperature. They stay fresh for approximately three weeks if kept at room temperature. You can refrigerate them but after that they will not give a fresh look. Keeping in refrigerator or outside does not affect its taste.

Mango, Pineapple and other Tropical Fruits: Keep them refrigerated as they need cool and dry environment to stay fresh. They stay fresh up to 2 weeks if placed in cool dry place or for 1 week if placed a room temperature. Keep them away from water. Wash before eating.

As mango is a very delicious fruit and is not available 365 days, you can still store it for shakes and other tropical drinks. Peel them, cut them into wedges, place them in tub ware or freezer bags and store them in freezer. Mango wedges will stay fresh up to 4 – 6 months easily. Keep away from moisture.

Grapes and berries: Grapes and berries can also be frozen for further use in shakes and drinks in the same way as mangoes. Take of their leafy parts and stems and freeze them using tub ware or freezer bags. For fresh and short term use, place them in refrigerator where temperature is a bit high, because berries and grapes need cold temperature to preserve their freshness. They stay fresh up to 7 days.

Bananas: Never ever keep bananas in refrigerator or without its bunch stem, because bunch stem give them energy to stay fresh for longer period of time. Keep them out at room temperature and they will stay fresh up to 3 weeks. Use soft timber basket or plastic basket to store them otherwise they will get marks on the outer peel.

Tamarillos, Kiwi Fruits, Star fruits, Plums, Apricot, Lychee, Loquats and Pears: Keep them in refrigerator in middle level shelf because they need a bit of cold temperature to stay fresh.

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How To Keep Veggies Fresh For A Long Time …

There are different methods for different vegetables to keep them fresh:

Coriander, Parsley, Celery and Spring onions: These two vegetables remain fresh for 2 – 3 days in refrigerator but are used quite often. So a very easy way to preserve their freshness is to chop and freeze them in tub ware or freezer bags. They can be accessible anytime when you need them, but make sure they are stored in a dry place. And some tips you must consider while doing this process are:

  • Don’t thaw when u want them. Use spoon or fork instead of defrosting.
  • Don’t wash them before storing. They should be dry when you chop and store.
  • Keep them in dry and cool place.

Tomatoes: Tomatoes are mostly used in salads or in South Asian Curries or in Italian Cuisine. So the best way to preserve them is to cut them in wedges or chunks and freeze them in tub ware (Don’t use freezer bags). SO whenever you need them for Pasta sauce or Karahi Chicken or butter chicken, keep them out for 20 minutes.

Slightly glaze the tub ware before putting tomatoes into it to avoid mess.

Onions: Onion is a naughty fellow. It is not the strong odor of the onion that makes us cry, but the gas that the onion releases when we sever this member of the lily family. The onion itself contains oil, which contains sulfur, an irritant to both our noses and to our eyes. Cutting an onion arouses a gas contained within the onion, propanethiol S-oxide, which then couples with the enzymes in the onion to emit a passive sulfur compound. When this upwardly mobile gas encounters the water produced by the tear ducts in our eyelids, it produces sulfuric acid. In response to the caustic acid, our eyes automatically blink, and produce tears which irrigate the eye, and which flush out the sulfuric acid. So, to avoid tears, cut onion in a deep bowl filled with cold water.

Onions can be preserved after cutting or peeling. All you have to do is cut them in slices, pat with clean kitchen towel (dry), Put them in freezer bag and refrigerate till you need them.

  • Don’t wash them before storing.
  • After cutting, do pat them dry to store.

Spinach: Spinach is mostly used in form of paste. So when you get fresh spinach from the market, wash it, boil it, grind it and then after cooling down, freeze it in freezer bags.

Baby Spinach: Baby spinach is mostly used in salads, pizza toppings and in pastas. So buy it in less quantity from the market. Keep it refrigerated because it will stay fresh for 4 days in refrigeration and if you are lucky it can survive for a week.

Bitter melon/ Bitter Gourd: One of the favorite vegetables of South Asians. This is widely used in Pakistan, Sri Lanka and India. So the best way to preserve its freshness is, peel its outer skin, make a slit on one side, take out is seeds, cut the remaining part in chunks, apply some salt, keep it aside for 20 minutes, wash thoroughly, dry and freeze in tub ware or freezer bag. This is the way my grandma preserve bitter melon and it is very effective.

Cabbage, lettuce, broccoli, capsicum or cauliflower: Use cling film to preserve their freshness. Pack them airtight in cling film and keep them in refrigerator. (They will stay fresh for 1 week; do not wash them before packing, Keep away from water).

Green chillies or any other chili: If you get cheap green chillies from the market or you get lots of them from your veggie garden, you always want to keep them fresh and save. So for that prick off their stem part and put them in freezer bag and freeze. This is the way which will never waste your chillies. My mothers in law always do this with her chillies.

Ginger, Garlic, Chili, Coriander, Mint or any other Paste: When preserving any herb or vegetable paste, add some lemon juice or vinegar in it to preserve its freshness.

Okra: When you buy okra or lady finger, wash it and pat it with clean, dry kitchen towel. When it is totally dry put it in newspaper and refrigerate. Like this it will stay fresh for 1 week to  1.5 weeks.

Cucumbers, Chinese or Winter melons, Pumpkins, Potatoes, beetroots, radish, white turnip, turnips, brussel sprouts, Carrots or Squash: For keeping cucumber like vegetables fresh for 1 to 1.5 weeks, place them in vegetable box of your fridge because they need normal room temperature or a bit higher to stay fresh.

Beans and Peas: If you are using French beans, then wash them and dry with a clean kitchen towel and keep them refrigerated in freezer bag, but in vegetable box as they do not need cold temperature to survive. Consume them within 7 – 9 days. And for peas, take them out from the shells and keep them in freezer for next use. Use tub ware or freezer bag to store them and make sure they are not wet. Don’t wash them after taking them out from the shells. They can stay fresh up to 30 – 50 days.

Mushrooms: Mushroom is a very delicate vegetable; it can only stay fresh up to 4 days. So the best way to preserve its freshness for 1 week is keep it in paper bag (easily available in markets) or if you don’t have paper bags, line one freezer bag with a big piece of butter paper and place these mushrooms in it. Keep them in refrigerators in a dry place, may be in ridge door cabinets.

Easy Mincemeat Pasta

The easiest way to cook tasty and juicy, aromatic pasta …

Ingredients:

  • ½ kg beef/ chicken/ lamb mincemeat
  • 1 carrot chopped
  • 1 spring onion chopped
  • 1 white onion chopped
  • ½ bell pepper chopped
  • 2 cups traditional tomato pasta sauce
  • 1 pkt. Macaroni or spirals boiled
  • 1 garlic clove crushed
  • Some salt and pepper
  • 4 tbspns olive oil
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese (grated)
  • ½ cup mozzarella cheese (grated)

Procedure:

-Boil pasta according to the instruction given of the backside of the packet.

-In a skillet, heat oil and stir fry garlic. After sometime add mincemeat and let it cook on low heat for 15 minutes. Add salt, pepper and all other ingredients.

-Cook well for 10 minutes.

-Stir in boiled pasta.

-Grease a pyrex tray and place all the mixture in it.

-Top it with some grated parmesan and mozzarella cheese and bake in a preheated oven (200 degrees Celsius) for 10 – 20 minutes or until he cheese melts and turns into golden red.

-Take it out from oven and serve.

Outcome:

Tasty and tangy mincemeat pasta is ready to serve.

Ayesha's Kitchen

Tips:

-Use fresh vegetables and chop them well.

Servings:

This will serve 4 persons easily.

Mattar Paneer (Peas And Home Made Ricotta In Creamy Tomato Sauce)(Restaurant Style)

Matar Paneer is housewife’s style of romance with green peas…. Try this creamy tomato sauce based curry dish and enjoy the real taste of this vegetarian Indian delight…

Ingredients:

  • 500 gms of diced paneer
  • 2 cups boiled green peas
  • 2 medium onions chopped
  • 2 medium sized tomatoes chopped
  • ½ tspn turmeric powder
  • 1 tspn chilli powder
  • ½ tspn cumin powder
  • ½ tspn coriander powder
  • 1 tspn ginger and garlic paste
  • 4 – 5 pcs of raw cashew nuts
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tbspn butter
  • Some water
  • ½ cup cream
  • Some salt
  • Some green chillies chopped
  • Some fresh coriander leaves
  • ½ tspn cumin seeds
  • A pinch of fenugreek leaves
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 cardamom
  • 1 pc of cinnamon stick
  • 1 small bay leaf

Procedure:

-Fry onions and cashew nuts for 2 minutes and add a bit of salt along with ginger garlic paste.

-When onion leaves the raw flavor, add turmeric and tomatoes. Cook the mixture on low heat.

-Put this in blender and blend. Add a bit of water if needed and blend this mixture into fine paste.

-Heat some oil in the vessel and add cardamom, bay leaf, cinnamon and cloves. Fry for 30 seconds and add the blended paste in it. After simmering for about 2 minutes on medium heat add peas and let the sauce simmer again for 2 minutes. Not add all the other spices and mix well.

-After 2 minutes add cheese and cumin seeds and garnish with green chillies and coriander leaves.

-Serve hot with nan bread or chapattis and enjoy.

Outcome:

Tasty Mattar paneer is ready to serve.

Ayesha’s Kitchen

Tips:

-Add 4 – 5 pcs of cashew nuts, no more no less otherwise your sauce will not come out to the rite consistency.

Servings:

This will serve 4 persons easily.

Chicken Spring Onion Curry

Chicken spring onion curry is a wonderful curry for lite dinners, try it and love it …

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken breasts (boneless and skinless)
  • 3 – 4 scallions or green onions (2 sliced diagonally, 2 lengthways)
  • 4 green chillies sliced diagonally
  • 1 tspn crushed black pepper
  • Some salt
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 4 – 6 tbspn vinegar
  • 4 – 6 tbspn soy sauce
  • 1 ½ tbspns corn flour mixed with water
  • 4 tbspns olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove crushed
  • Some unsalted cashew nuts
  • 1 lemon squeezed

Procedure:

-Cut chicken into strips.

-Heat oil and stir fry chicken strips, cashew nuts and garlic in it. When chicken starts changing its color add salt, sauces and broth. Let it cook on medium heat for 10 minutes.

-Now add vegetables and cook for another 2 minutes.

-Add corn flour and water mixture for thickening with constant stirring.

-Add lemon juice and black pepper at the end just before serving.

Outcome:

Tasty spring onion curry is ready to serve.

Ayesha's Kitchen

Tips:

-Follow the instructions carefully.

Servings:

This will serve 4 persons easily.