Gourmet Tips

When it comes to Gourmet, we've been there, done that, now serving 574 tips in 21 categories ranging from Answer User Questions to Yields/Substitutions/Charts.

How do you keep an avocado from spoiling once you have cut into it?

Keeping Avocado Flesh Fresh

The best way to keep an avocado from spoiling once you cut into the meat is to sprinkle it with lime or lemon juice or even vinegar. Also, wrap the avocado slices tightly in plastic wrap before storing in the refrigerator to keep oxygen from the air from browning the flesh. If you have the capability to vacuum seal, this will keep the avocado slices even fresher.

   
Is there a time of year that you should not eat raw oysters?

When Are Raw Oysters Not Safe

There's been an old myth around that it's only safe to eat raw oysters in the months that contain a letter "R," which means you shouldn't consumer oysters in the months May through August. According to the website safeoysters.org sponsored by the National Sea Grant, this is actually part truth. Some naturally occurring marine bacteria such as vibrio vulnificus are higher in warmer months, and while the bacteria may still be present in the cooler months, it is usually at lower levels. However, not everyone is susceptible to infection by this bacteria and many people are fine eating oysters year round. If you know you have certain health conditions, you shouldn't eat raw oysters at any time. It is a good idea to check with your doctor before eating any raw shellfish.

   
How much cooked pasta will one cup of uncooked pasta yield?

Dry vs. Cooked Pasta

One cup of uncooked pasta will yield 2-2 1/4 cups when cooked. A 1 lb. box of pasta contains 4 cups of uncooked pasta, and so 8-9 cups when cooked.

   
How many medium eggs equal 3 large eggs?

Egg Size Equivalents

3 1/2 medium eggs equal 3 large eggs. The reasoning behind this is: A large egg without the shell weighs 1 2/3 ounces, and a medium egg weighs 1.45 ounces. Also, a small egg weighs 1 1/4 ounces. Knowing the weights of the various sizes of eggs, will help you whevever you don't have the size egg a recipe calls for. About 75% of an egg's weight is water, while the rest is equal parts of protein and fat.

   
What is the term used for a very small portion of something (prepared especially by the chef for all guests)served before any course? It sounds like a- muse- a..?

Amuse-bouche

The culinary term referring to a small portion of food served before a meal is "amuse-bouche." This term first showed up in August Escoffier's Le Guide Culinaire and are believed to be a pre-cursor to what are now known as appetizers. The word comes from "amuse" and the purpose of the food is to appeal to the diner and supply amusement.

   
How do I make dried apricots? Just dry them or do I have to sweeten them first?

Drying Apricots

In preparation for drying apricots, cut the fruit in half and take out the pits. If you want to sweeten the apricots by pre-treating them, you definitely can, though it is not necessary. For pre-treating, you have many options. The most common ways to pre-treat apricots is either with sulfur or with a syrup solution (1 cup sugar, 1 cup light corn syrup, 2 cups water). Be aware that many asthmatics are allergic to sulfur.
After pre-treating, you must decide whether to dry your apricots in the oven, the sun, or in a dehydrator.
If you decide to use the oven, you must be able to set it to 150 degrees or lower. You also have to leave the door open a couple inches and set up a fan blowing into the oven to keep out moisture. Using this method will take 24-36 hours.
Drying apricots in the sun requires a sunny day with temperatures above 98 degrees. Cover the trays of fruit with some sort of cheesecloth or screen to keep away insects and dirt. It will take 2-4 days to dry your apricots this way.
If you have a dehydrator, this is the most efficient way to dry apricots. When you place the fruit in the dehydrator, it will take about 18-24 hours to dry.
To determine if your apricots are dried, first allow fruit to cool, and then feel it to make sure it is pliable and that no moisture is visible.

   
Not finding the advice and tips you need on this Gourmet Tip Site? Request a Tip Now!


Guru Spotlight
Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.