Posts Tagged ‘mold’

Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Storing Berries

June 30, 2015

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Berries are plentiful and in season right now. Strawberries, blueberries and raspberries are delicious and nutritious. They are also very perishable. One little speck of mold seems to sprout out of nowhere, and spreads through the entire box quickly. Most experts advise keeping them unwashed until you are ready to eat them. Not only does that not seem to help, but I find that unwashed fruit becomes uneaten fruit around here.

The folks at Food 52 have a solution, and we think it is a good one.

They advise soaking berries in a mix of three parts water and one part white vinegar, to kill the mold spores and bacteria that causes the fruit to spoil. After a short soak, rinse the fruit well to get rid of the vinegar taste.
Keeping the berries dry is critical to extending their shelf life. They suggest laying paper towels in the basket of a salad spinner to cushion the delicate berries, and give them a good spin to dry them off. Once fully dry, line a container with paper towels to absorb any additional moisture, and partially cover it, so that air can get in. Place the container in the refrigerator, and enjoy your berries for days to come!

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Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Storing Produce

June 9, 2015

 

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Summer time is produce time. Our cravings turn to green market fresh vegetables, and cool juicy fruits which grow at this time of year. What happens when the abundance of the season gets wilted and moldy before we have a chance to enjoy it?

Here are a few tips to keeping produce fresh:

Buy the freshest fruits and vegetables you can find. The farmer’s markets are a great source, since the produce is local and comes to us directly from the farm, rather than traveling for a week before it gets out on the floor of the grocery store. The fresher it is at the time of purchase, the longer it will last.

Keep produce dry. Many experts suggest washing and thouroughly drying fruits and vegetables, and storing them wrapped in paper towels to absorb any additional moisture. Strawberries can be either be washed and hulled before storing in an airtight container, or can be laid on paper towels in a single layer in the refrigerator, for those lucky enough to have the real estate.

Certain foods give off ethanol, which causes food to ripen. Keep those ripe bananas away from other fruits and vegetables, to keep them from over ripening and molding. Avocados are a prime candidate for going from rock hard to mush, missing that window when they are at their peak.

One bad apple, (or tomato, berry etc.) can spoil the whole bunch. Pick through and toss any soft or moldy items and rinse the rest well to keep it from spreading.

When the week is nearing an end, and there are lots of leftover vegetables sitting in the refrigerator ready to “kick the bucket” at any time, try making soup. Saute a diced onion in butter or olive oil. Add diced vegetables, and quickly brown them. Cover with broth ( vegetable or chicken) and simmer until they are soft. Season with salt and pepper, and herbs of your choice. Puree until smooth, and enjoy!

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Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Moldy Matters

April 28, 2015

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This time of year, it is easy to attribute that stuffy nose, irritated eyes and itchy skin to allegries. Often, that is exactly the case. But did you know that mold exposure can cause some of the same symptoms?
Mold can be spotted growing on bread, fruit or even between the tiles of the shower; virtually anywhere where moisture is present.

The coffee maker is a prime spot for harboring hidden mold, especially the types that use those convenient little pods, such as Keurig. Because the main tanks of these coffee makers can’t be drained, they provide the perfect environment for mold to grow, especially when left unused for a period of time.

There are steps you can take to clean the machine and ensure it is mold free.

Check the drip tray and around the rubber ring to make sure no mold is present. Wipe it down before putting it back.

Wipe the entire machine, inside and out, as best you can and be sure to clean the needle.

Run the machine through a few times to clean the mechanism.

If you are using a pot where you add your own water, use a mix of vinegar and water, or baking soda and water for the first run, and then run the machine with clean water for the subsequent rinses.

Keep coffee machines as dry as possible before putting them away.

If you have access to filtered water, use that to make coffee to avoid the build up of minerals in the pot.

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Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Spatulas

January 20, 2015

 

imagesRubber and silicone spatulas are indispensible in the kitchen. Their flexibility allows you to get into nooks and crannies, and scrape every last drop out of the bowl.
You know what else has nooks and crannies? That spatula.

They are designed to come apart for a reason. It is important to detach the handle from the upper portion, and wash the inside thoroughly. Food tends to get into the head of the spatula and bacteria can form. Make sure it is completely dry before reassembling it to avoid growing mold.

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Hidden Havens (for bacteria)

April 29, 2013

A recent report looks at the places and appliances in your kitchen, which are the most likely to harbor harmful bacteria. The results may surprise you.

The study by NSF, a nonprofit public health group, hopes to provide some insight on how food borne illnesses spread in even the cleanest of kitchens.

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Researchers took swabs from kitchens in suburban Detroit and Ann Arbor, Michigan, and asked participants to rate where they thought the highest contamination might occur.

While the participants all guessed that the microwave keypad would be the dirtiest, the researchers found that other areas were much more contaminated.

Refrigerator ice and water dispensers are a breeding ground for yeast and mold. The vegetable and meat compartments of refrigerators were often found to harbor salmonella, and listeria. Most shockingly, rubber spatulas, and the rubber gasket that prevents leaks in the blender, were also found to contain yeast, mold and E coli and salmonella.

Proper cleaning of these items is pivotal in preventing food borne illness.

The blender should be fully disassembled and washed in hot soapy water, before drying and storing. Just washing the jar and lid does not seem to be effective enough. Be sure to remove the rubber ring and wash each component thoroughly.

Rubber spatulas are made in 2 pieces, and the handle should be detached from the rubber head, and cleaned separately.

NSF also suggests that the vegetable bins be washed regularly with soap and water, and dried with a clean towel. Unwashed produce should be kept separated, and away from other foods to prevent cross contamination.

The meat drawers should also be cleaned regularly. The meat should be stored at the bottom of the refrigerator, to avoid juices dripping onto other items.

Water and ice dispensers should be cleaned with a solution of vinegar and water. It is recommended that the water source be turned off, and 3-4 cups of distilled white vinegar be run through the system. Use a tiny brush to clean the waterspout weekly. Be sure to run the water and discard the next batch of ice, to avoid the vinegar taste.

While it was not found to be the ultimate harbinger of germs, it doesn’t hurt to wipe down that microwave keypad with a disinfectant on a regular basis.


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