My Top 5 Food Tips in the Kitchen
Tips and Tricks in the Kitchen – My Top 5 Food Tips for You in The Kitchen
Meal Planning. Every Monday I do my food shop, I have already planned my recipes for the week and have the shopping list ready. So on Sundays its time to use up anything in the fridge. I find I always have excess herbs and greens as I end up purchasing extra fresh ones during the week. There are many ways you can utilise food rather than waste it. I make a herbed pesto each week. A lot of people think of pesto as just being basil but you can use so many other herbs. This week I had an excess of coriander, flatleaf parsley, rocket and carrot tops, yes I said carrot tops. There has been little research on the health benefits of carrot tops, but they are rich in nutrients, containing around six times more vitamin C than the root, as well as lots of potassium, calcium and phytonutrients. We often cut the carrot tops and throw them out but next time try using them up in a pesto or soup or even wilted greens. I throw everything into the food processor with some olive oil, cashew or pine nuts, garlic, and sea salt then I fold in some parmesan cheese. Also this week I had some leeks, garlic, onions and tomatoes so I chopped them up and roasted them. I keep both of these in containers in the fridge and use them during the week. They are the perfect topping for eggs, on fish or salad. So this week, when you are clearing out the fridge, have a look at what you have and get creative! If you have any questions pop me a mail and I’ll be happy to help out 🙂
Freezing your fruit and veg. Now I rarely have veg left to freeze but I always have extra fruit. I make a green smoothie most days and always add some fruit for sweetness and flavour. Freezing the fruit preserves it and adds that bit of coolness rather than ice especially in summer. Frozen fruit is also perfect if you are making overnight berries, adding to a cake mixture, making icecream or jams. Last year I had so many red currants and strawberries from the allotment that I froze some of them to make jams during the winter. So it’s a great way to use seasonal local produce throughout the year. The main tip for you when freezing fruit is to firstly spread them on a flat tray that will fit in your freezer in a single layer. This will prevent them from sticking together. Freeze then for an hour then take put straight into a sealed container and use them as you need them.
Healthy Snack Prep. Whether you are a sweet or savoury snack person it’s always best to have your snacks prepped on a Sunday to keep you fuelled throughout the week.
I am all about meal prepping and there are many delicious healthy snack recipes available. Some also on my own page for you to enjoy. Before I go through some ideas with you there are some tools that make meal prep snacks a breeze! First and foremost is a Food Processor, that piece of equipment in my kitchen is a lifesaver! Next is good containers to keep your snacks in and finally a good knife for any chopping slicing and dicing you have to do.
Also, I always have the following ingredients in my cupboard readily available when I need to make up some treats. Nuts + seeds (almonds, cashews, peanuts, sunflower seeds etc), Dried Fruit (mainly dates but also raisins, sultanas and currants for any fruit and oat bars), Nut Butters (peanut butter, cashew butter, almond butter), almond flour, oats, coconut oil and sea salt
My personal go-to is date energy balls and I mix and match the ingredients for different flavours and textures. Oat bars and cookies are also great sweet alternatives.
My favourite savoury snacks are homemade hummus with carrots, celery or red pepper. You can prep them all and have them in a container in the fridge. Another good one is a boiled egg, simple I know but it’s a great snack filler, this also can be done in advanced and kept in the fridge. Another one is some roasted veggies, seasoned and tasty.
If you just want a simple snack then you could have chopped apple with some nut butter, delicious. A chocolate rice cake with banana and nut butter and a bit of honey are delicious. Or a plain rice cake with some hummus and pesto is also delicious.
A few nuts with some fruit works too but be careful of the calories that are in nuts, as delicious as they are the type of snack that the whole packet could be gone before you blink and then well not so healthy!!!
Whatever you do make snacks a part of your meal planning for the week. That way you won’t be tempted to raid the cookie jar!!
Moving Towards A Plastic-Free Refrigerator. Now more than ever our greens are covered in plastic, they are one of those foods that are quick to rot especially kept in their plastic wrappings. Leafy greens can keep fresh for nearly a week when stored correctly, and the best way to do that doesn’t involve a single plastic bag!
The good news is that there is more awareness than ever before about the effects plastic has on our food, so the real challenge is deciding which option to choose! Not to worry, preserving your greens plastic-free is simple, easy, and budget-friendly.
Now if you shop at a farmers market you are most likely to get unwrapped veg which is a better choice however this is not available for everyone so once you get home you can take out all your greens and veg and discard your plastic.
No matter where you get your greens, be sure to wash them with cool water and dry them fully in your salad spinner if you don’t have a salad spinner just use a colander to wash and drain then pat dry with kitchen paper.
The best way to protect and prolong the life of your greens is by storing them in a large container, don’t pack in too much as that can cause bruising to the leaves, and cover with damp—not dry, but not too wet—paper towels. A damp paper towel will give your greens the humidity they need to stay crisp, while continuously soaking up the excess moisture that causes rotting.
Finally, store the containers in the lowest/coolest part of the fridge, preferably in the drawer if not the bottom shelf.
Now you have fresh leafy greens, ready to use when you want them and will last longer in your fridge 🙂
Peeling Garlic, ginger and onions. Garlic, onions and ginger are used daily in my house and are generally the basis of most savoury dishes. Here are some tips on how to peel them easily!
For the garlic, remove the cloves you need from the bulb. Trim off the root. Place the clove under a large chef’s knife, with the blade facing away from you. Press down using the palm of your hand until you hear or feel a crack. The skin loosens as you do this. Peel away the outer layer and use as required.
If you have a lot of garlic to peel you can also use the jar method. Take a garlic bulb and remove as many cloves as you need. Add them to a jar and screw on the cap. Shake the jar for 10 seconds or so. The skins will break away.
For your onions, Instead of pulling and clawing at the skin until the onion is finally peeled, cut the tip of the onion skin (opposite to root) then slice the onion right down the middle vertically at the root. After that, the skin should peel back towards the root easily and it is easier also to chop and dice when you do it this way.
And finally your ginger. This is such a good way to peel your ginger, it guarantees very little waste and the skin comes off so easily. Get a small spoon, grip the spoon upside-down, while holding the ginger in your other hand and firmly scrape the spoon over the skin in a repeated forward motion. Continue until all the peel is removed from your desired amount of ginger. Surprisingly, tough-looking skin is relatively thin and comes off easily with a spoon.
Hope you take some new tips from this and bring them into your own Kitchens!