Cooking Tips


Here’s a list of all of our cooking tips!

  • 1 average-sized eggplant will serve 3 people. 1 average-sized elephant will serve 3 dozen.
  • 1 medium eggplant equals 1 pound
  • 1 package of active dry yeast is equal to about 1 tablespoon.
  • 1 pound of fresh spinach equals about 1 cup of cooked spinach.
  • 1 pound of raw shrimp in their shells equals about 1/2 pound peeled and cooked shrimp.
  • A dark roux will thicken less than light roux.
  • A leaf of lettuce dropped in a pot of soup will absorb the grease from the top.
  • A slice of white bread, placed into the sealed plastic bag with the bricklike mass of brown sugar, will soften it within a day. Grandma Lange likes to use a slice of apple. In either case, put it into the plastic bag with the brown sugar and seal it up and check it again in 24 hours.
  • A sure sign of spoilage is the presence of mold, which can grow even under refrigeration. While not a major health threat, mold can make food unappetizing.
  • A tablespoon of minute tapioca sprinkled in apple or fruit pies will absorb excess juice while baking.
  • A tip on whipped cream...soupy whipped cream can be revived by adding an egg white to it then chilling thoroughly before re-whipping it to its former fluffy glory.
  • Add a pinch of salt to onions when sautéing. This draws out the moisture and softens them more quickly.
  • Add a touch of vinegar to your water when cooking cabbage and cauliflower. It will reduce the odor and bitterness.
  • Add lots of salt to the water before boiling to make peeling easier.
  • Add seltzer water to grape, cranberry or orange juice, even fresh watermelon juice to make a carbonated fruit drink.
  • Add uncooked rice to salt shakers to make the salt free flowing.
  • Although undesirable, freezer burn does not make the food unsafe. It merely causes dry spots in foods. Cut away these areas either before or after cooking the food.
  • Always cook fish thoroughly. Cooking fish until it’s opaque and flaky helps destroy any existing pathogenic bacteria that may be present.
  • Always preheat the oven to desired temperature 10 to 15 minutes prior to baking. And when baking cakes or other desserts, don't peek until the minimum baking time has elapsed. A blast of cold air can cause a cake or soufflés to fall.
  • Always soak and wash the pig casings when making sausage; otherwise it will be too salty and not flexible enough for filling.
  • Baking soda keeps for about 12 to 18 months if stored on a shelf in its original box. It will keep much longer - almost indefinitely - if sealed in a container that keeps out moisture and air. To determine whether baking soda is still active, sprinkle a pinch into a small amount of vinegar. It should bubble vigorously.
  • Before you pour sticky substances into a measuring cup, fill it with hot water. Dump out the hot water, but don't dry the cup. Next, add your ingredient, such as peanut butter, and watch how easily it comes right out.
  • Before you remove your cake from the pan you should cool it for 15 minutes, or as the recipe recommends. Then transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
  • Boiling quail Eggs and hate to peel? Boil in pure vinegar 7 to 8 minutes; Remove and cool until firm. Remove outer skin membrane. The shell dissolves in the vinegar. The vinegar will have only a slight oily film - skim and reuse.
  • Buttermilk substitute: 1 c. milk plus 1 tbsp. lemon juice. Let stand 5 minutes. Beat well.
  • Cake and cookie batters won't clump on your mixer beaters if you spray PAM or non-stick spray on them before starting.
  • Cleaning Corn - If u zap ears of corn (in the husk) in the good old zapper (microwave) for 3 minutes, let cool a little & peel back the husk & silk at same time, you will come out with a clean ear of corn.
  • Cooking corn an easy way is to take an unhusked ear of corn, cut off the exposed silk protruding from the end, and place the in the center of a microwave oven and cook on high for 3 minutes. Turn the ear over and cook another 3 minutes on high. Very carefully remove the corn to a plate; remove the husks and the silk. Apply butter and seasonings and enjoy.
  • Cooking perfect corn on the cob - microwave 2 ½ minutes one side, flip do it 2/12 more minutes…perfect corn to eat right off the cob! I introduced this to my son and his wife and that is the only way they want to eat since it is so easy!
  • Cooling the eggs in ice water also them peel easier. The idea behind this is with rapid cooling, the egg white will shrink away from the sturdy shell. Make sure to have a bowl of ice water ready after eggs have been boiled. Once the ice has melted, drain water and store eggs in refrigerator for no more than one week.
  • Cooling the eggs in ice water also them peel easier. The idea behind this is with rapid cooling, the egg white will shrink away from the sturdy shell. Make sure to have a bowl of ice water ready after eggs have been boiled. Once the ice has melted, drain water and store eggs in refrigerator for no more than one week.
  • Do not cook your okra in a black cast iron pot; it turns the okra black and somewhat distorts the flavor. Use a heavy duty aluminum pot instead.
  • Do not feed a baby honey or syrup -- at least for the first 6 months. Honey and syrups can contain spores of Clostridium botulinum. The immune systems of adults and older children can prevent the spores from growing once ingested. However, in an infant, these spores can grow and cause infant botulism.
  • Do not use aluminum pans when cooking eggs...the aluminum will turn the eggs green.
  • Do not wash your knives in the dishwasher. The dishwasher makes them dull.
  • Don't crowd the refrigerator or freezer so tightly that air can't circulate.
  • Don't ever try to freeze mayonnaise or food made with mayonnaise. While the other ingredients may freeze fine, the mayo holding everything together will separate creating an oily mess when defrosted.
  • Don't have time to soak your beans overnight? Cover with plenty of water and bring the beans to a boil. Boil for 20 minutes. Then, turn off the heat and allow them to sit, covered, for 1 hour. Then, drain and cook as usual.If you live in an area with particularly hard water, dried beans will benefit from the addition of a scant 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda to the cooking water. It prevents them from being tough.
  • Don’t store soft chewy cookies and crisp cookies in the same container. The crisp cookies will soften.
  • For a crisper cabbage for cole slaws, shred the cabbage and soak it in salted ice water for 15 minutes and then drain.
  • For a crustier chewier roll, spray the rolls with cold water from a fine mist spray bottle a couple of times during baking time.
  • For a more pleasing appearance, add a little vinegar to the water when cooking red vegetables. A little vinegar in water will also keep white vegetables from yellowing.
  • For a quick icing on cupcakes, put a fast melting chocolate on the cupcakes right as they come out of the oven.
  • For a shiny, deep golden pie crust, brush with egg yolk beaten with a little water or milk before baking. For a sugary, sweet pie crust, brush lightly with water, milk or cream then sprinkle with sugar.
  • For added flavor in your gravy, use chicken bouillon granules instead of salt. Chicken bouillon is noted for being very salty, and adding it in place of the salt will make a big difference in the taste. Do not use the powdered form (it will make lumps). Avoid using cubes, as these must be dissolved first.
  • For better results, use the size pan specified in a recipe. To check the width of a pan, measure across the top from inside edge to inside edge.
  • For easy deviled eggs, put cooked egg yolks in a zip lock bag. Seal, mash till they are all broken up. Add remainder of ingredients, reseal, keep mashing it up mixing thoroughly, cut the tip of the baggy, squeeze mixture into egg. Just throw bag away when done easy clean up.
  • For extra flavor, loosen any stuck-on brown bits in the saucepan by deglazing with wine, beer, chicken broth or cola drinks.
  • For fluffier fried shrimp - try this tip from the Riverside Inn that a Facebook visitor shared that he learned that from years ago: Ice cold water mixed in with the eggs. I even add a couple of cubes of ice to the egg mixture that I'm dipping my shrimp or crawfish into.
  • For mashed potatoes whiter than your grandma's false teeth, just add a little vinegar or lemon juice before draining the water.
  • For muffins and quick breads, simply substitute each egg with 2 tablespoons of corn oil and 1 tablespoon of water. You won't miss the eggs at all.
  • For refreshing ice cubes, fill your plastic ice cube trays half way with water and add a maraschino cherry or some piece of small fruit. Freeze and when frozen, fill the cubes to the top with water and return to freezer. Great for punch and ice teas. You can also make your watermelon juice and freeze it in cubes..really great in any drink!
  • For soft, chewy cookies, remove from oven about two minutes before they are done as they will continue to bake on the hot baking sheet.
  • Freeze single-sized juice packs overnight and place the frozen drink in with your lunch. The juice will thaw by lunchtime, but it will still be cold. The frozen drink will also keep the rest of the lunch cold.
  • Freeze whole garlic cloves in a closed container. When you need one, the skin will slip right off.
  • Freezing at zero °F (minus 18 °C) or less stops bacterial growth (although it won't kill all bacteria already present).
  • Good-quality portabella mushrooms are dark brown, dry and have smooth, firm caps. Avoid product that is wet, black, bruised, or has spots of mold.
  • Gravy too salty? Use instant potatoes to make your gravy less salty. You may need to add more water if your gravy gets too thick.
  • Hot foods should be refrigerated as soon as possible within two hours after cooking.
  • If a recipe calls for dried herbs and you are using fresh always double the amount of herbs needed.
  • If the egg is refrigerated, leave it outside for about five minutes before placing it in a bowl of hot water. Add vinegar to the pan of water and place the egg fully submerged in water. Boil the egg for about 15 minutes.
  • If the flesh doesn't spring back when pressed, the fish isn't fresh.
  • If you are preparing your own lemon or orange zest; scrape only the utmost top of the rind as right below the skin it is bitter.
  • If you hate to throw out cookies just because they have gotten a little hard, place them in a ziplock sandwich bag with a piece of bread overnight. The next day you'll have fresh, soft cookies again.
  • If you have difficulty in shucking your oyster, soak them in a bath of carbonated water (club soda) for about 5 minutes. They oysters absorb the carbon dioxide causing them to practically pop open.
  • If you like a lot of crust on your cornbread, use a black iron skillet to bake it in and when it is done, turn your broiler on low & with your door open keep an eye on it until it's crust on top is the desired color, like dark brown!
  • If you plan to make your own pie, you can make the dough three days ahead and refrigerate it or two months in advance and freeze it. You also can make pies up to three days in advance.
  • If you splatter when you fry batter, get off your can and flour your pan.
  • If you will not be arriving home within 2 hours of being served, it is safer to leave the leftovers at the restaurant
  • If your cracklings have become too hard to eat, simply heat oil to hot in a heavy cast pot. Drop the cracklings (be careful to avoid popping hot oil) in for a minute or so and the cracklings will soften right up!
  • If your eyes start to water when you cut your onions for your Cajun Trinity, try submerging the onions in water while chopping.
  • In general, the larger the shrimp, the lower the count -- and the higher the price. How much? About 1 pound whole shrimp, 1/2 pound headless unpeeled shrimp or 1/4 pound headless peeled shrimp per serving.
  • Instant potatoes are a good thickener for stews.
  • Just put leftover tomato paste in a ziplock bag and push it to the bottom so it's in one long tube. Put it in the freezer, and as you need it, just cut off some of the tube.
  • Lard and shortening produce the most tender pie crusts. You may use half lard or shortening and half butter if you want the buttery flavor.
  • Lost your rice cooker measuring cup? Just measure 3/4 cup of raw rice for every cup of rice you want cooked.
  • Make a tasty and low-fat substitute for whipped cream by beating a banana and the white of one egg together until stiff .
  • Marinate meat in a Ziploc® bag. This allows the marinade to completely surround the meat and also makes it easier to reposition.
  • Meringue won't "weep" if you blend a teaspoon of cornstarch into the sugar before beating it into the egg whites.
  • Most shrimp cook in as little as 3 minutes; when they're pink, they're done.
  • Never add salt to legumes until they are tender, as salt added too soon toughens them and they seem to never get done. Another rule is, always start vegetables cooking in cold water.
  • Never defrost meat in hot water; if the water is too hot, it can cook the meat.
  • New potatoes should start cooking in boiling water; old potatoes in cold water and brought to a boil
  • On average, a head of broccoli, or the bunches of 2 or 3 small heads that are sold wrapped together these days, will give you about 3 to 3 1/2 cups of broccoli florets or 5 1/2 to 6 cups if you chop the stems with them.
  • Once bananas have turned brown all over, they are too ripe to eat, but they are perfect for baking. The most flavorful banana recipes are made with bananas that have almost black skins. If you aren't ready to bake but your bananas are very ripe, just pop them into the freezer. You can thaw them without losing out on the wonderful flavor that only the ripest bananas provide to baked treats.
  • One lemon yields about 1/4 cup juice; one orange yields about 1/3 cup juice.
  • One medium clove garlic equals 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic, or 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder, or 1/4 teaspoon garlic juice, or 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt.
  • One pound cabbage equals 4 cups shredded or 2 cups cooked cabbage.
  • One pound of eggplant equals 3 to 4 cups chopped eggplant.
  • Pack a plastic container of frozen lemonade or iced tea in the a.m., to keep food chilled and have as a drink by lunchtime.
  • Persimmons must be ripe in order to get all the tangy sweetness they have to offer. Unripened persimmons are very astringent. To ripen persimmons, place them in a punctured brown paper bag and leave at room temperature.
  • Place a foot long sheet of aluminum foil on the middle rack of your oven to distribute heat like a convection oven. Biscuit bottoms will come out perfect every time!
  • Potato sprouts may seem ok, but eat them and you'll have to pay. (Cut 'em off before consuming the potato)
  • Potatoes don't belong in the refrigerator. Store them in a cool, dry place
  • Presoaking reduces the gas-producing potential of beans if you discard the soaking water and cook using fresh water.
  • Prolong the power of your seasonings by keeping them in a cool, dry, dark place away from the heat.
  • Put seafood on ice, in the refrigerator or in the freezer, immediately after buying it.
  • Ran out of powdered sugar? Make your own by processing granulated sugar at high speed in the blender. As cornstarch in an ingredient in the store bought variety the sugar will look and vary slightly.
  • Remember to boil vegetables that grow above ground in a pot without a cover.
  • Roll out pie crust dough between pieces of plastic wrap or wax paper to make transferring it to the pie pan simple
  • Rubbing vinegar on fish scales makes it easier to scale a fish.
  • Russet potatoes make the best mashed potatoes. Peel, boil, drain, mash, eat.
  • Salt added to flour used for thickening gravies will help to prevent lumping.
  • Salt is considered antibacterial because it restricts bacterial growth in many foods. It preserves foods by lowering the amount of "free" water molecules in foods. Bacteria need moisture in order to thrive, so without enough "free" water, they cannot grow well in foods that contain salt.
  • Save bad or dark bananas by freezing them and using them the next time you bake bread. Or coat them with Hershey's chocolate syrup or cocoa syrup, freeze and enjoy in lieu of ice cream.
  • Shallots are a cross between an onion and garlic. Substitute shallots for onions in your recipes. Use 3 to 4 shallots for one medium onion.
  • Store eggs in their carton in the refrigerator itself rather than on the door, where the temperature is warmer.
  • Syrup, molasses or solid shortenings are inclined to stick to the cup or spoons when you are measuring them. To make it easier to flow and not cling, oil the measurer or rinse in cold water.
  • Take your bananas apart when you get home from the store. If you leave them connected at the stem, they ripen faster.
  • Test an egg for freshness by placing it in a bowl of cold water. If they float, dont use them.
  • Test the potency of your baking powder by dropping a teaspoonful in a cup of hot water. It is bubbles, it is still good.
  • The best way to season a heavy (cast iron) pot or skillet is to soak in lye to clean, then melt LARD and rub on pan. Heat at 200 degrees for a couple of hours, repeat a couple of times. When thru using to cook, do not wash with dishwashing soap, wipe clean with a damp rag. Do not cook stews with high tomato content in cast iron as it will attack the metal. If you use cooking oil to season the pan it will build up to a gummy surface - always use lard.
  • The quickest way to make grated lemon or orange peel is to slice off big pieces of the peel and grind them for just a few seconds in a food processor.
  • There are two kinds of measuring cups. One is for measuring dry ingredients and has a round top. The other is for measuring liquids and has a lip for pouring. Be sure to use the correct cup for the job or else the measurement will be wrong.
  • To avoid soggy pie crusts, brush a beaten egg white on the bottom and sides of an unbaked pie before you fill it. (This prevents the filling from seeping into the crust during baking – and causing a soggy crust).
  • To avoid the strong cooking odor of Brussels sprouts that are boiled or steamed, add a rib of celery or a sprinkling of caraway seeds to the cooking water.
  • To beat egg whites stiffly, add one tablespoon of cornstarch to the sugar and slowly add to the already beaten egg whites.
  • To check a turkey for doneness, insert a food thermometer into the inner thigh area near the breast of the turkey but not touching bone. The turkey is done when the temperature reaches 180 F. If the turkey is stuffed, the temperature of the stuffing should be 165 F.
  • To easily pour condensed milk, place the opened can in a pot filled with hot water. Wait 10 minutes and pour.
  • To easily remove marshmallow crème from jar, remove lid and seal. Microwave on high 30 seconds.
  • To get rid of "onion breath", eat salt-dipped parsley or chew on coffee beans.
  • To get rid of pesky fruit flies, take a small glass fill it 1/2" with Apple Cider Vinegar and 2 drops of dishwashing liquid, mix well. You will find those flies drawn to the cup and gone forever!
  • To get the garlic odor off your hands, rub them with coffee grounds and rinse.
  • To loosen skins off of garlic, smash the cloves with the flat side of a meat mallet.
  • To peel a tomato or peach easily - Bring water to a boil. Drop the tomato or peach in for one minute. Skin will easily peel off.
  • To peel sweet potatoes easily, take them from boiling water and immerse immediately in very cold water. The skins will almost fall off by themselves.
  • To preserve the fresh green color of beans, peas and greens, add a pinch of baking soda to the cooking water. A pinch is less than 1/8 teaspoon.
  • To prevent crumbling, cool your brownies completely before you cut them into squares, unless the recipe states otherwise. Use a plastic knife or table knife for smooth-sided bars.
  • To prevent foods such as honey or molasses from sticking, spray spoons or measuring cups with a non-stick vegetable spray before measuring.
  • To prevent pie shells from shrinking when baking do not stretch the dough when placing shell into the pie pan.
  • To prevent your crust from overbrowning, cut a strip of aluminum foil and circle the edge of the crust leaving it on when you bake the pie.
  • To relieve the burning effect on your hands or body from the juices (capsaicin) of hot peppers such as jalapeño or chilies, soak in milk, yogurt or other milk products.
  • To remove odor from a plastic container use baking soda and cold water to clean the container or let it soak overnight solution of the water and soda.
  • To ripen an avocado, place it in a sealed plastic bag with a ripe banana at room temperature. Another method is to bury the avocado completely in a jar of flour. Do not refrigerate avocados until they are ripe.
  • To save a step when making pie crust, shape the dough into a disk - not a ball - wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate.
  • To seed jalapenos or other chilies of the same type, cut the stem end as normal, rub the pepper vigorously back and both forth between your hands, cut end at the bottom. The seeds will drop out, but the ribbing (the white part that also contains a lot of the heat) will remain. Great if you're planning on stuffing them to make chili poppers, or if you just don't want seeds but still want the heat.
  • To soften cream cheese, place completely unwrapped package of cream cheese on microwavable plate. Microwave on HIGH 10 to 15 seconds or until slightly softened.
  • To stop cooking broccoli from smelling , throw a couple of thick pieces of bread into the water.
  • To test if a sweet potato pie is done, insert the knife one inch from the edge and if it comes out clean it is done.
  • To warm biscuits, pancakes, or muffins that were refrigerated, place them in a microwave with a cup of water. The increased moisture will keep the food moist and help it reheat faster.
  • Too much parsley for your gumbo; Wrap the parsley in foil first, then freeze. Shave off as much as needed, rewrap and return to the freezer. It will retain its flavor and freshness.
  • Try an old time remedy of 1 tablespoon honey and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda for a cough or chest congestion. It will soothe the throat and the cough.
  • Try thawing frozen fish in milk. The milk draws out the frozen taste and provides a fresh-caught flavor.
  • Try thawing frozen fish in milk. The milk draws out the frozen taste and provides a fresh-caught flavor.
  • Two medium ears of corn equals 1 cup corn kernels and a hard time hearing.
  • Use a lemon or crumbled crackers to wash away the stink that peeling crawfish leaves behind.
  • Use a paper towel to absorb excess grease off of gravies and soups.
  • Use butter on the skin of a potato when baking potatoes. This will make them crispy :)
  • Use only canning or pickling salt. These products can be found next to the regular table salt or in the home canning section of your local grocery store. Using table salt may result in soggy or discolored pickles.
  • Warm the milk before adding it to pasta and vegetables dishes—this allows the mixture to heat quickly and avoids overcooking.
  • Wash your hands after using Baker's Yeast or risk a yeast infection!
  • Water Kettle Method For Cooking Eggs - Place eggs in the bottom of an electric water kettle. Add enough cool tap water to the kettle to cover the eggs by an inch. Turn the kettle on and either wait until the unit reaches a boil and unplug it use the unit's automatic shut off boil sensor Leave the eggs in the kettle for 13 minutes. Transfer the eggs to an ice bath for rapid cooling which will prevent a green yolk.
  • When a recipe calls for butter the size of an egg, use four tablespoons.
  • When boiling milk, first stir in a pinch of baking soda. This will help keep the milk from curdling
  • When cooking, sprinkle your seasonings into a cup or spoon, not directly over the pot, as this can allow steam into your spice bottle. Steam inside your spice bottle can shorten spice shelf life and fade the flavor of the spice being used.
  • When cutting fresh corn from the cob, insert the small end of the corn cob in the tube hole of a bundt or angel food cake (tube) pan. Cut the kernels off, letting them fall into the pan. This minimizes the mess and collects all the corn into one place, and it's also easier to cut because the cob is braced in the hole.
  • When freezing food in plastic bags, push all the air out before sealing.
  • When freezing fresh fish in water, add a small amount of lemon juice to preserve the flavor.
  • When freezing fresh fish in water, add a small amount of lemon juice to preserve the flavor.
  • When frying red potatoes, melt the shortening in frying pan, add 1 teaspoon vinegar, then add the sliced potatoes and fry as usual. The potatoes will not be greasy and the top of your stove will remain clean.
  • When grilling and using wooden skewers, soak the skewers in water overnight to prevent scorching.
  • When heating pickling liquids, never use copper, brass, iron or galvanized containers. The acid in the pickles could react with these metals and affect the color, flavor and, most importantly, the safety of the product.
  • When in doubt, always sift flour before measuring.
  • When making caramel, don't stir sugar with a spoon — swirl the skillet.
  • When making piecrusts from scratch - have all the ingredients well chilled, including the flour. Use water with ice cubes to keep the water cold. Cut the butter and shortening in pieces and place them in the freezer to chill.
  • When picking blueberries, select berries that are completely blue. Blueberries should have no trace of redness as they do not continue to ripen after they are picked.
  • When preparing a can of frozen juice concentrate, pour the concentrate into your pitcher and mash with your potato masher; it will dissolve faster.
  • When sautéing onions and garlic in a recipe, add the onions first. When the onions are just about done, add the garlic.
  • When shelling pecans, if you want them to come out whole, pour some boiling water over the pecans and let them sit for thirty minutes before cracking.
  • When taking the fat out of a recipe, add some liquid to make up the difference in liquid volume and moistening power.
  • When using a bread machine, greasing the dough beater shaft with shortening, or coating with a cooking spray before installing the beater will make for easy cleanup. Soaking the beater in warm water for a few minutes after removing the bread can help loosen any baked-on ingredients.
  • When you buy a container of cake frosting from the store, whip it with your mixer for a few minutes. You can double it in size. You get to frost more cake/cupcakes with the same amount. You also eat less sugar/calories per serving.
  • When you go to the meat store ask them for filet mignon medallions. 1 medallion per person. Soak the toothpicks in water prior to using them to fasten the bacon around the filet mignon medallions.
  • When you rinse those greens in water before spinning them, try putting a slosh of vinegar in the water. It really seems to help slosh off any sand or grit-- even on freshly picked spinach.
  • While the taste of parsley is very mild, its peculiar smell is strong. When chewed after a meal, it can neutralize the odors given to the breath by onions, garlic and other hardy delicacies.
  • Whipped cream will stay fluffy and hold up longer if you sweeten with powdered sugar instead of granulated sugar.
  • With ducks or geese, soaking the meat overnight in water and salt will pull a lot of blood and "wild" flavors out, after which, papaya based tenderizers will help reduce the "gamey taste"
  • You can keep leftover cooked pasta in the refrigerator for up to three days. When it's time to reheat, simply put it in a colander and then place it directly into boiling water for one minute.
  • You can use milk and vinegar as a substitute for buttermilk. Use 1 tablespoon of vinegar to 1 cup of milk.
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