The kitchen is the heart of the home, and where most accidental burns and cuts occur. Below are some suggestions for First Aid for the Kitchen Emergencies in the event of an accident. Every adult should be aware of basic first aid for common home, especially the kitchen, injuries.
National Fire Protection Agency and the U.S. Fire Administration suggest fire extinguishers should present in the kitchen and you should know how to use it and when to use it. Often a simple pot lid can quickly put the fire out or baking soda. The problem is if it is not out and ready for use the fire can get away from you. Call for 911 help immediately, fires grow quickly out of control. It is better to be embarrassed letting someone know you have a problem before it is out of control. Alert everyone in the house to get out.
Preventing Burns While Cooking
The most common cause of house fires is cooking, and the most common cause of burns in kids under 3 come from scalding hot liquids or hot surfaces.
Here are a few tips to help you make your kitchen a safer place. Please ensure that the following precautions are in place.
Stay in the kitchen while food is cooking. It is so easy to get involved on the computer or television and forget your times and your food will burn. Use a timer so you have a reminder.
Turn pot handles toward the back or center of the stove to prevent someone from either bumping or grabbing a hot handle.
Keep items such as dish towels, plastic bags, and long sleeves away from the heating surface.
Most kitchen fires start because of heating fat or oil. A simple pot lid often can put out the flames.
Never cook while holding a child or pet.
Keep small children and pets away from the front of the oven or stove.
Every home should have a first aid kit in the kitchen for fast and easy use. All family members and babysitters should know where they are.
First Aid for Kitchen Burns
Burns There are two forms of burns that occur commonly in the kitchen:
A dry burn is one that occurs from a direct source of dry heat, such as touching a burner or other hot object.
A moist burn is one occurring from steam.
Burns are indicated in various degrees:
A first degree burn refers to burning of the top layer of skin. It is associated with swelling and reddening of the skin. The casualty may complain of mild to serious pain.
A second degree burn refers to burning the top layer of skin, along with the second sub-layer. It is associated with raw, moist skin – colored white or very red, and often weeping fluids. The casualty may complain of extreme pain.
A third degree burn refers to burning the top two layers of skin, as well as underlying muscle, nerve or fatty tissues. These are extremely serious, and are associated with waxy white or charred skin, dry or leathery appearance, and complaints of little to no pain in the deepest burned areas.
If despite your best efforts, you or a family member suffers a burn in the kitchen, follow these first aid tips:
Run clean cool water over the burned area, soak it in cool water (not ice water), or cover it with a clean, cold, wet towel.
Cover the burn with a sterile bandage or a clean cloth.
Protect the burn from pressure and friction.
Use over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen for pain.
Do not apply butter, ice, fluffy cotton dressing, adhesive bandages, cream, oil spray, or any household remedy to a burn.
If a burn appears to be severe or you develop signs of infection, call your doctor.
Preventing Scalding Burns
Of the many types of burns that can happen in your home, scalds may be the most unexpected. Thousands of people are injured each year by hot liquids and many of them are young children. Children and older people have thinner skin than teens through middle age adults and are more likely to receive severe burns from hot liquid. Simple precautions can protect you and your family from scalding burns.
Set your hot water heater to 120 degrees.
Turn pot handles toward the back or center of the stove so children cannot tip pots over.
Never warm baby bottles in the microwave; they may heat unevenly and can burn your baby’s mouth.
Use mugs or coffee cups with lids when you are around children.
Keep hot liquids like soup, coffee, or tea away from the edge of counters and tables.
Most scalds and burns are caused by spillages of hot liquid; hands, arms, and feet are the parts of the body most at risk.
Avoid lifting and carrying heavy or awkward containers or get two people to team lift where possible.
Allow oil and fat to cool before moving.
Wait for appliances to be cool before starting to clean Always use oven cloths and gloves and wear covered in shoes.
First Aid for Scalding Burns If you or a family member suffers a scalding burn, take the following steps to start healing:
Remove any clothing that is wet from the hot liquid.
Slowly cool the injury under running clean tap water for 30 minutes.
Do not apply ice, because it may stop important blood flow to the damaged skin.
Avoid ointments, grease, and oil (contributes to the cooking process of the burn).
When a serious burn occurs:
Phone for medical help if necessary.
Cool the burn.
Immerse in CLEAN cool water (not cold) If it is not possible to immerse, gently pour cool water over the burn.If that is not possible, use a cool clean soaked cloth over the burn.
Remove any restrictive materials (i.e. clothes) or objects (i.e.jewelry) immediately, before swelling occurs.
When the burn has been cooled, and the pain has lessened, apply a loosely fitting clean (preferably sterile) cloth over the burn cure with tape, begin careful not to apply tape over the burn.
Make the burned person as comfortable as possible until help arrives.
CUTS- Safety precautions for sharp items:
Keep knives sharp and use properly.
Use a drawer divider or knife rack for sharp cutting tools.
Don’t try to catch a falling knife.
Don’t soak knives in sink or dishpan or water.
Sweep up broken glass from the floor using broom and dustpan.
Wrap broken glass and dispose of it safely;
First aid for cuts –Cuts:
Consumer product safety commission estimates over 137,000 people receive hospital treatment for injuries from kitchen knives each year. Serious cuts can occur from numerous sharp objects in the kitchen. It is important to seek medical help if you are unsure of the seriousness of the cut, or the origin of the cut.
When a Minor cut occurs:
Minor cuts – wash with soap and water, blot dry and bandage.
First aid should be applied to cuts immediately to prevent infection.
Stop severe bleeding with the pressure of a thick cloth.
Completely cover the cut before you start cooking again. You can put a bandage and then wrap your figure with plastic wrap to keep the wound clean and prevent blood and other things from getting into the food.
When a serious cut occurs:
Assess the situation. Phone for medical help if necessary.
If possible, clean the cut of any dirt or debris by wiping AWAY from the wound with a clean (preferably sterile) cloth.
Stop severe bleeding with the pressure of a thick cloth.
Protect the wound by covering it with a clean (preferably sterile) cloth.
If there is profuse bleeding, use a bandage or cloth to apply pressure to the cut. Elevate above the heart if possible.
If there is an embedded object, do NOT try and remove it yourself, rather, support the object with the help of bandaging.
Make the injured person as comfortable as possible until help arrives.
Electricity in the kitchen area can cause any number of accidents for electrocution to burns. The following are precautions concerning electricity:
Don’t overload circuits by using adapters.
Keep leads (cords) as short as possible.
Appliances save both time and work in the kitchen. But, they are a source of shock, burns and other injuries.
Read owner’s manual.
Use care with any plugged in appliance.
Water and electricity don’t mix –keep appliance and cords dry.
Don’t use electrical appliances near to sinks.
Avoid damage to electrical cords – tugging on the cord, stapling, or burn them.
Use outlets properly.
First aid for electrical shock –
Don’t touch person connected to electricity.
For electric shock, first, kill the power to the equipment or electrical source before touching a person who is still in contact with electric current or pull person away with cloth loop otherwise you could be hurt, too.
Then check to make sure the person is breathing. If the person is not breathing and has no pulse, have someone call for emergency medical assistance and administer CPR until help arrives.
Assistance For falls
Never move a person if you suspect broken bones or if the person complains of bad back or neck pain. Call 911. Keep the victim comfortable until emergency medical help arrives. If the person is not badly hurt and can move comfortably on his or her own, help the person up and have him or her sit down until feeling OK.
CPR – When a person has stopped breathing and heartbeat have stopped.
First aid for Choking –If a person can speak, cough or breathe, do nothing. Do the Heimlich maneuver (details below) procedure.Understand how to do the procedure now so when an emergency comes up you will know what to do.
Other First Aid Necessities
Food allergies are becoming increasingly common, as well as severe. As most food preparation takes place in the kitchen, it pays to be diligent about ingredients that may affect members of your household, as well as knowledgeable on what to do in the case of an emergency. If you or others have severe allergies, you may be instructed to wear a medical bracelet outlining your condition, or be required carry medicine to be administered in the event of accidental ingestion.
It is extremely important for other members of your household to understand your condition, and know how to treat it. For example, if some has an allergy to nuts or seafood or bee stings, they may carry an Epi-Pen with them self at all times. The Epi-pen is an injectable shot of epinephrine designed to treat anaphylactic shock. There are specifics regarding how it is administered that family members, teachers, friend, and co-workers must be made aware of in order to help the person to get to a hospital – and therefore save a life. Often times someone does not know they are allergic to a food or insect bite and the first time the reaction occurs can be frightening to all concerned. Keeping a calm head and getting immediate medical attention will save a life.
How to Do the Heimlich Maneuver for CHOKING ADULTS
A choking victim can’t speak or breathe and needs your help immediately. Follow these steps to help a choking victim:
From behind, wrap your arms around the victim’s waist.
Make a fist and place the thumb side of your fist against the victim’s upper abdomen, below the rib cage and above the navel.
Grasp your fist with your other hand and press into their upper abdomen with a quick upward thrust. Do not squeeze the rib cage; confine the force of the thrust to your hands.
Repeat until object is expelled.
UNCONSCIOUS VICTIM, OR WHEN RESCUER CAN’T REACH AROUND VICTIM:
Place the victim on their back. Facing the victim, kneel astride the victim’s hips. With one of your hands on top of the other, place the heel of your bottom hand on the upper abdomen below the rib cage and above the navel. Use your body weight to press into the victim’s upper abdomen with a quick upward thrust. Repeat until object is expelled. If the Victim has not recovered, proceed with CPR.
The Victim should see a physician immediately after rescue.
Don’t slap the victim’s back. (This could make matters worse.)
The Heimlich Maneuver for CHOKING INFANTS
Follow these steps to help a choking infant:
Lay the child down, face up, on a firm surface and kneel or stand at the victim’s feet, or hold the infant on your lap facing away from you. Place the middle and index fingers of both your hands below his rib cage and above his navel. Press into the victim’s upper abdomen with a quick upward thrust; do not squeeze the rib cage. Be very gentle. Repeat until object is expelled.
2. If the Victim has not recovered, proceed with CPR. The Victim should see a physician immediately after rescue.
3. Don’t slap the victim’s back. (This could make matters worse.
The Heimlich Maneuver for CHOKING (ONESELF)
When you choke, you can’t speak or breathe and you need help immediately. Follow these steps to save yourself from choking:
Make a fist and place the thumb side of your fist against your upper abdomen, below the rib cage and above the navel.
Grasp your fist with your other hand and press into your upper abdomen with a quick upward thrust.
Repeat until object is expelled.
Alternatively, you can lean over a fixed horizontal object (table edge, chair, railing) and press your upper abdomen against the edge to produce a quick upward thrust. Repeat until object is expelled.
See a physician immediately after rescue.
Before Giving CPR (American Red Cross Directions)
1. Check the scene and the person. Make sure the scene is safe, then tap the person on the shoulder and shout “Are you OK?” to ensure that the person needs help.
2. Call 911 for assistance. If it’s evident that the person needs help, call (or ask a bystander to call) 911, then send someone to get an AED. (If an AED is unavailable, or a there is no bystander to access it, stay with the victim, call 911 and begin administering assistance.)
3. Open the airway. With the person lying on his or her back, tilt the head back slightly to lift the chin.
4 Check for breathing. Listen carefully, for no more than 10 seconds, for sounds of breathing. (Occasional gasping sounds do not equate to breathing.) If there is no breathing begin CPR.
Red Cross CPR Steps
1. Push hard, push fast. Place your hands, one on top of the other, in the middle of the chest. Use your body weight to help you administer compression that are at least 2 inches deep and delivered at a rate of at least 100 compression per minute.
2 Deliver rescue breaths. With the person’s head tilted back slightly and the chin lifted, pinch the nose shut and place your mouth over the person’s mouth to make a complete seal. Blow into the person’s mouth to make the chest rise. Deliver two rescue breaths, then continue compressions.
Note: If the chest does not rise with the initial rescue breath, re-tilt the head before delivering the second breath. If the chest doesn’t rise with the second breath, the person may be choking. After each subsequent set of 100 chest compressions, and before attempting breaths, look for an object and, if seen, remove it.
3 Continue CPR steps. Keep performing cycles of chest compressions and breathing until the person exhibits signs of life, such as breathing, an AED becomes available, or EMS or a trained medical responder arrives on the scene.
Note: End the cycles if the scene becomes unsafe or you cannot continue performing CPR due to exhaustion.
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The humble Carrot is one of the most widely used vegetables in the world. Carrots are very versatile in so many dishes from around the world. The modern day carrot has been bred to be sweet and has a crunchy texture. Carrots are typically orange, but purple, white, yellow, and red carrots are grown but are not as common. The average American eats about 12 pounds of carrots a year, that is about one cup per week.
It is believed that the carrot was first cultivated in Afghanistan thousands of years ago as a small purple or yellow root with a woody and bitter flavor, nothing of the carrot we know today. Purple, red, yellow and white carrots were cultivated long before the appearance of the now popular orange carrot, which was developed and stabilized by Dutch growers in the 16th and 17th centuries. The majority of carrots today are now cultivated in China.
“Baby Carrots” were introduced in the 1980s by a farmer who wanted to salvage misformed carrots that were being thrown away because they did not look desirable. Up until then all the broken and misformed carrots were discarded, leaving sometimes as little as 30 percent of their crop suitable for stores. The carrot farmer took an industrial green bean cutter to quickly whittle, peeled, cut, washed and packaged the carrots into the familiar 2-inch baby portions we find in packages today. All Baby Carrots are washed with a water/chlorine solution that is comparable to tap water to eliminate bacteria (including E. coli and Salmonella) that can cause food-borne illnesses. There is controversy concerning the benefits and drawbacks to this water/chlorine solution. Baby carrot products have become the fastest growing segment of the carrot industry since the early 1990s and are among the most popular produce items in the market – more than potatoes and celery, according to a 2007 USDA report.
Here are a few ways to enjoy carrots – raw, cooked or baked:
Add grated raw carrots to whole-grain muffin batter.
Add grated carrots to omelets, frittatas, pasta sauces, coleslaw and green salads.
Combine grated carrots, beets and apples for a nutrient- and antioxidant-rich salad.
Make carrot soup by pureeing boiled carrots and potatoes (and cooking water). Add herbs and spices to taste.
Add baby carrots or sliced carrots to curry and stir-fry recipes.
Juice carrots by making a beta-carotene-rich protein shake by blending leftover cooked carrots (or one half-cup carrot juice), one banana, almond milk and protein powder.
Carrots make great snack food to eat with dips.
CookingToday Store offers these great recipes using carrots:
You do not need to peel the organic carrots, many of the nutrients and fiber are found in the skin. Just use a strong brush to wash the carrots and remove any dirt and debris. Nonorganic root crops, such as carrots, grow in soil and absorb whatever toxins and pesticides are present in the soil. The deeper the color, the more beta-carotene is present in the carrot. When juicing it is best to consume whole, organic carrots so many of the unwanted contaminants such as pesticides and heavy metals chemicals do not end up in your body. Carrots are hardy vegetables that will keep longer than many others if stored properly. The trick to preserving the freshness of carrot roots is to minimize the amount of moisture lost.To do this, remove the green tops and make sure to store them in the coolest part of the refrigerator in a plastic bag or wrapped in a paper towel, which will reduce the amount of condensation that is able to form. They should last fresh for about two weeks. Carrots should also be stored away from apples, pears, potatoes and other fruits and vegetables that produce ethylene gas since it will cause them to become bitter. Carrots will form a white film that is a result of the dehydration of the cut carrots, to revive the carrots soak in a bowl of ice water. Carrots should be firm, smooth, relatively straight and bright in color. Avoid carrots that are excessively cracked or those that are limp or rubbery. When buying carrots do not have their tops attached, look at the stem end and ensure that it is not darkly colored as this is also a sign of age. If the green tops are attached, they should be brightly colored, feathery and not wilted. Since the sugars are concentrated in the carrots’ core, generally those with larger diameters will have a larger core and therefore be sweeter. As carrots age they become limp, these are perfectly good to freeze and save with other vegetables to make your broth base.
Be careful not to overcook carrots to help them to retain maximum flavor and strong overall nutritional value.
Carrot Nutritional Value & Calories
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, one medium carrot or ½ cup of chopped carrots is considered a serving size. One serving size of carrots provides 25 calories, 6 grams of carbohydrate, 3 grams of sugars and 1 gram of protein, beta-carotene and fiber content plus antioxidant agents and vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, vitamin B8, pantothenic acid, folate, potassium, iron, copper, and manganese.
Vitamin A, One medium carrot contains 204 percent of your daily recommended value of vitamin A. In plant-based foods, this vitamin is produced by your body from the nutritional compound beta-carotene. This vitamin, also known as retinol, is responsible for maintaining the health of your eyes. Vitamin A helps your eyes retain their ability to adjust to changes in light and maintains necessary moisture and mucus levels of your eyes. Vitamin A and antioxidants protect the skin from sun damage. Deficiencies of vitamin A cause dryness to the skin, hair, and nails. Vitamin prevents premature wrinkling, acne, dry skin, pigmentation, blemishes, uneven skin tone. Improves Eyesight: Deficiency of vitamin A can cause some difficulty seeing in dim light. Since carrots are rich in vitamin A, it is good for improving eyesight and preventing conditions like night blindness from developing as we age.
Vitamins K and C. Vitamin K maintains your blood’s ability to clot. It also contributes to bone strength and kidney health. One medium carrot contains 8 mcg of vitamin K. One medium carrot also contains 6 percent of your daily value of vitamin C, which is associated with a healthy immune system and strong teeth and gums. Vitamin C can also help your body absorb iron from plant foods and can help combat free radicals. Carrots contain a number of antiseptic and antibacterial abilities that make it ideal for boosting the immune system. Not only that, carrots are a rich source of vitamin C, which stimulates the activity of white blood cells and is one of the most important elements in the human immune system.
Carrots contain 2% of calcium needs and 2% of iron needs per serving.
The antioxidant beta-carotene that gives carrots their bright orange color. Beta-carotene is absorbed in the intestine and converted into vitamin A during digestion.
Potassium one carrot contains 400 mg of potassium. Potassium is the third-most-abundant mineral in your body. It may help reduce your risk of stroke, high blood pressure, and anxiety. Potassium is a vasodilator and can relax the tension in your blood vessels and arteries, thereby increasing blood flow and circulation, boosting organ function throughout the body and reducing the stress on the cardiovascular system. The coumarin found in carrots also has been linked to reducing hypertension and protecting your heart health and the health of your muscles, heart and nervous system.
Fiber is one of three types of nutritional carbohydrates, your body’s main nutritional energy source. Fiber promotes bowel regularity. It can also help control your blood sugar levels and contribute to healthy weight management. Carrots contain high amounts of soluble fiber, largely from pectin, which could be the reason they’ve been shown to lower cholesterol.
Beta-carotene in carrots has been linked to a reduced risk of several cancers, notably lung, breast cancer and colon cancer. The average carrot contains about 3 milligrams of beta-carotene. In one study, researchers found that eating fiber-rich carrots reduce the risk of colon cancer by as much as 24 percent. Another study shows that women who ate raw carrots were five to eight times less likely to develop breast cancer than women who did not eat carrots.
Researchers have just discovered falcarinol which may have the anticancer properties.Falcarinol is a natural pesticide produced by the carrot that protects its roots from fungal diseases. Carrots are one of the only common sources of this compound.
Alpha-carotene and bioflavonoids in carrots have been associated with lower risks of cancer, particularly lung cancer.
Carrots are good for blood sugar regulation. Carotenoids inversely affect insulin resistance and thus lower blood sugar. They also regulate the amount of insulin and glucose that is being used and metabolized by the body, providing a more even and healthy fluctuation for a diabetic.
Carrots clean your teeth and mouth. They scrape off plaque and food particles just like toothbrushes or toothpaste. Carrots stimulate gums and trigger a lot of saliva, which being alkaline, balances out the acid forming and cavity forming bacteria. The minerals in carrots prevent tooth damage.
Fun Facts on Carrots:
Carrots are the second most popular type of vegetable after potatoes.
The biggest carrot recorded is more than 19 pounds and the longest is over 19 feet!
There are over 100 species of carrots some big some small and come in a variety colors orange, purple, white, yellow, and red.
English women in the 1600’s often wore carrot leaves in their hats in place of flowers or feathers.
The name “carrot” comes from the Greek word “karoton,”
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The kitchen knife is one of the most used tools in the kitchen. Almost all of your food preparation begins with cutting is so much easier with the right knife for the job. A good kitchen knife maybe costly but it’ll serve you cooking well. Good knives, properly taken care of, should last forever. When equipping a kitchen for the first time, or when you are adding to your current kitchen knives, you’ll want to know which knives are best and what to look for.
Know Your Knife
Tip- The first third of the blade (approximately), which is used for small or delicate work. Also known as belly or curve when curved, as on a chef’s knife.
Cutting Edge– The entire cutting surface of the knife, which extends from the point to the heel. The edge may be beveled or symmetric.
Spine- The top, thicker portion of the blade, which adds weight and strength.
Heel- The rear part of the blade, used for cutting activities that require more force.
Bolster– The thick metal portion joining the handle and the blade, which adds weight and balance.
Spine– The top, thicker portion of the blade, which adds weight and strength.
Rivets- The metal pins (usually 3) that hold the scales to the tang.
Heel – The rear part of the blade, used for cutting activities that require more force.
Tang– The portion of the metal blade that extends into the handle, giving the knife stability and extra weight.
Butt– The terminal end of the handle.
Look for a knife that is rated excellent or very good for handle comfort and balance. Make sure the knives feels comfortable and are a good weight. A lightweight knife is great for speed and precision, but a heavier one can be better for more solid foods like ginger and nuts. The balance is important to make the cutting action more effortless, good knives don’t have too much weight on the handle of the blade. Some handles may be adapted to accommodate the needs of people with disabilities or left handed people. For example, knife handles may be made thicker or with more cushioning or a slight difference in the handle shape.
Wood handles provide good grip they are slightly more difficult to care for as they must be cleaned more thoroughly and occasionally treated with mineral oil. Most wood handles, especially those of ordinary varnished hardwood, do not resist water well and will crack or warp with prolonged exposure to water. They should be hand-washed for that reason.
Plastic handles are more easily cared for than wooden handles and do not absorb microorganisms. However, plastics may also be less resistant to ultraviolet damage and may become brittle over time, resulting in cracking. Some plastics are also slippery in the hand. The material is lighter than most other materials, which may result in a knife that is off-balance or too light for some tastes.
Composite handles are made from laminated wood composites impregnated with plastic resin. Composite handles are considered by many chefs to be the best choice because they are as easy to care for and as sanitary as plastic, they have the appearance, weight, and grip of hardwood, and are more durable than either. They often have a laminated, polished appearance, and may have intense or varied coloring.
Stainless steel handles are the most durable of all handles, as well as the most sanitary. They are very slippery in the hand, especially when wet. To counter this, many premium knife makers make handles with ridges, bumps, or indentations to provide extra grip. One disadvantage of some all-metal handles is that knife weight usually goes up considerably, affecting the knife’s balance and increasing hand and wrist fatigue. Knife manufacturers, most notably Japan’s Global, have begun addressing this issue by producing hollow-handled knives.
Knives are forged or stamped.
Forged knives, which tend to be higher priced, are made in an intricate, multi-step process, a single piece of molten steel alloy is cut and pounded into the desired shape and pounded while hot to form it, so as to realign its molecular structure and make it stronger and more resilient. The blade is then heated above the critical temperature (which varies between alloys) and tempered the desired hardness. Forged blades are generally less flexible than stamped and they are less apt to bend over time. After forging and heat-treating, the blade is polished and sharpened. Forged blades are typically thicker and heavier than stamped blades, which is sometimes advantageous.
Stamped knives are made from cold rolled steel and literally cut with a cookie-cutter-type machine, then heat-treated for strength, then ground, polished, and sharpened. They are usually the same thickness throughout, except at the cutting edge.
Kitchen knives materials.
Stainless steel knives are the least expensive. Stainless Steel, also called SS, can rust if not cared for, but it can withstand much more causal care than High-Carbon steel. SS is harder, will hold an edge longer, but is harder to sharpen.
Carbon steel is more expensive, but the metal is harder and simpler to keep sharp, although it can rust. A knife made from a single piece of steel – and better still, hand-forged (although this costs a bomb) – will last you a lot longer than cheap, thin knives with clumsy handles covered in plastic.
High carbon stainless steel normally refers to higher-grade, stainless steel alloys with a certain amount of carbon, and is intended to combine the best attributes of carbon steel and ordinary stainless steel. Most ‘high-carbon’ stainless blades are made of higher-quality alloys than less-expensive stainless knives. Carbon steel is normally easier to sharpen than most stainless steels, but are vulnerable to stains and rust. The blades should be cleaned, dried, and lubricated after each.
Ceramic blades, which are 10 times harder than carbon steel and they don’t rust. They are extremely lightweight, and they don’t need to be sharpened, but they can chip or break if care is not exercised. Ceramic knives are very hard and will maintain a sharp edge for a long time. They are light in weight, do not impart any taste to food and do not corrode. Excellent for slicing fruit, vegetables and boneless meat because they do not react with any acids or oxidizer in your food.
Laminated Knife blades are both hard, but brittle steel which will hold a good edge but is easily chipped and damaged, with a tougher steel less susceptible to damage and chipping, but incapable of taking a good edge. The hard steel is sandwiched (laminated) and protected between layers of the tougher steel. The hard steel forms the edge of the knife; it will take a more acute grind than a less hard steel and will stay sharp longer.
Titanium knife blades are lighter and more wear-resistant, but not the hardest metal They are more flexible than steel.
Plastic blades are usually not very sharp and are mainly used to cut through vegetables. They are not sharp enough to cut deeply into flesh making the good for a child to learn with.
Damascus, are very costly mottled knives are made from carbon steel core, surrounded by layers of soft and hard stainless steel, which results in an extremely hard and razor-sharp edge.
The Knives to avoid new or second-hand:
There are ads that say their knives don’t need to be sharpened but what they do not say is when they lose their edge, you’ll have to throw them away, they can not be sharpened.
Check for signs of poor joining or welding, in the blade and handle, which may cause a weak point and cause the knife to bend or break, as well as trapping food and breeding bacteria.
When a knife is left unwashed knives in the sink or put in a dishwasher, the knife will be stained and become dull. Knives will last as longer if you hand wash and dry. All knives require regular honing. If you do not want the maintenance to consider an inexpensive disposable knife.
Avoid a wobbly handle, loose parts, or protruding rivets (the round metal pieces that secure the blade to the handle). If the rivets aren’t flush, they could irritate your hand or trap food, creating a breeding ground for bacteria.
Any knife with broken tips or chips in the blade can not be repaired or sharpened.
Knives with wooden handles that have started to crack or degrade (to prevent this, never put them in the dishwasher).
Blades with a separate piece of metal (called a collar) attached at the point where the blade meets the handle. These knives are not well made and tend to come apart easily.
The 4 Essential Kitchen Knives that do 90% of all cooking jobs:
Chef’s knives are also known as a cook’s knife or French knife, are the number one workhorse in all cutting tasks in the kitchen. Everything from slicing zucchini to chopping meat, slicing, trimming or carving. The common chef knives ranging from 6 inches to 10 inches, the average 8-inch blade has about a 2-inch width and slightly curved edge. That curve helps you rock the blade back and forth when mincing. Chef’s knives typically come in either the French or German style. German chef knives have a more continuous curve to their blades, while the French style has a flatter edge and more pronounced curve right at the tip, neither design is inherently superior, so it is just a matter of taste.
Paring Knife is an all-purpose small plain edge blade knife 3 to 4 inches long used for general light-duty jobs, peeling fruit or potatoes or hulling and slicing a strawberry and deveining a shrimp, removing seeds from a jalapeño, or cutting intricate garnishes. It is similar to a chef’s knife but smaller, a good all purpose knife. Avoid using a paring knife to cut hard vegetables, such as carrots, beets, or parsnip, they cannot easily slice through these foods, where you may increase the pressure or tighten your grip as you’re cutting. Paring knives are ideal for children use when they first start learning to work with knives, it allows their little hands to have more control.
Serrated Knife or Bread Knife, usually is 8-10 inches, long and with a wavy, saw-like serrations blade to allow for even and precise slicing. The serrations of these knives cut well without needing much downward force. Serrated knives cut much better than plain-edge blade knives when dull, and they do not require frequent sharpening.A Serrated Knife is especially useful for cutting bread and soft fruit or vegetables, such as tomatoes and peppers, or also particularly good on fibrous foods such as celery or pineapples, watermelons. The jagged edge can grip and cut those exteriors, while the flat blade of a chef’s knife would slip and slide across the surface. Serrated knives should not generally be used with fish or meat, as the blade can damage the structure of the flesh.
Knife or Filet Knife or Boning knife the same knife, just with different names. A carving knife is often a little longer than a chef’s knife, but far narrower, and without the chef’s knife’s customary curve. These knives tend to be quite long—between 6 and 11 inches—and exceedingly narrow with a flexible blade. This allows the knife to easily curve under the fish skin, or remove the silver skin on beef tenderloin up or boning fish, meat, or poultry of any size, whether a 3-inch-long anchovy or a 150-pound side of pork. The thinner blade allows for thinner cuts, and the length of the blade encourages a sawing motion used in carving. A carving knife must be razor-sharp to produce minimal friction on the meat, allowing you to cut easily and cleanly against the grain. A carving knife should not be used to cut through bones, but rather to cut around bones.
How to Sharpen a Knife with a Honing Steel or a Whetstone
The edge of a knife gradually loses its sharpness, which can be restored by sharpening. Knives with smooth edges can be sharpened by the user; knives with any form of the serrated edge should ideally be sharpened with specialist equipment. The essential tool for your knife is a honing steel, which is a rod made of steel or ceramic, which is designed to keep your knives at their peak sharpness for as long as possible. Knives should be honed every time you use them, but because honing doesn’t actually sharpen the blade.
Running your knife along a steel does not sharpen knives, but instead straightens the blade, while a sharpener the blade and realigns the teeth on the blade, which leads to a sharper edge and thus a cleaner cut. A honing steel is about 30 centimeters (12 in) long and about 6 mm to 12 mm (¼ to ½ inch) thick.
Whet Stone (Also know as Wet Stone)
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The amazing story about mangos is every part of the Mango tree, the roots, stems, bark, blossoms, and leaves, plus the fruit all have many uses and healing properties. Plus you have a fruit that is delicious too.
Mango fruithas a delicious, juicy sweet taste and is loaded with many vitaminsand minerals. Mangos are an ancient fruit that originated in India and now Mangos are now grown in the southern United States, Mexico, South and Central America, Africa, the Caribbean Islands, and other warm tropical areas of the world. Most mangos consumed in the United States are produced in Hawaii and the Southern states, Mexico, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Guatemala, and Haiti. They are oval shaped and about five inches long. They vary in color, shape, flavor, and seed size. The skin color of mangoes varies from green to red, yellow or orange, the inner flesh of the mango is mostly a golden-yellow.
The big Mango Tree provides shade and comfort in the hot months of summers. I have a mango tree and have enjoyed the fruit for years, now I am learning the other benefits this amazing plant has to offer. I now understand now why the mango has been considered the undisputed and uncrowned king of all fruits. The Mango Tree prefers tropical areas. Mango trees that were grown in a nursery are usually grafted and should fruit within three to four years. Seedling trees may take five to eight years. Seedling mango trees grow much bigger and stronger than the nursery trees and have an indestructible root system.
There are many different kinds of mangoes.
Mexican type is rounder and slightly stringy and heavier than many Asian mangos. The flatterer, kidney-shaped mango with yellow skin has less fiber and a smoother texture. The mango surrounds a large seed or stone. They are a member of the drupe family along with olives, dates, cashews, pistachios and coconuts. Botanical name: Mangifera Indica.
Eating a mango is a wonderful juicy treat. They can be the one thing that turns an ordinary dish to extraordinary, from seafood, chicken and desserts and smoothies. When the mango is still slightly green it is often used in salsa, pies, and salads (it will have a crunch similar to an apple). The natural tenderizing properties of the mango make them an ideal ingredient for marinades for any type of meat.
The best way to choose a mango is to look for a mango that yields to gentle pressure, not as much about the color.
Refrigerate your mango when perfectly ripe to slow down the development of the fruit. If unripe, keep it at room temperature, and it will continue to ripen and become sweeter. To speed up the ripening process, place it in a brown paper bag for a few days, checking at regular intervals. Uncut, mangos will keep for about a week refrigerated. Peeled and chopped, and frozen in an airtight container they should last for six months or so.
Cookies appear to have their origins in 7th century AD Persia, shortly after the use of sugar became relatively common in the region. They spread to Europe through the Muslim conquest of Spain. By the 14th century, they were common in all levels of society throughout Europe, from royal cuisine to street vendors.
This is an excellent short video by TED- perfect for those that want to know more!
Types of Cookies
Bar Cookiesare made from a stiff dough that is poured or pressed into a baking dish, then baked, cooled and cut into bars, squares or diamonds. Bars cookies can be single-layered (like brownies) or multi-layered – with cake-like or chewy textures.
Drop Cookies are made by dropping a spoonful of soft batter on a sheet pan. While baking, the batter will spread out and flatten to form the popular circle cookie shape.
Perfect cookie every time. Taste is great and uniform on size.
Icebox Cookies are cookie dough rolled into logs, ready to slice and bake. You can use the basic butter-and-sugar-rich dough and add nuts, fruits or whatever to the dough.
Chocolate-Dipped Macadamia Cookies
Ice Box- Shortbread Cookies
Molded Cookies are cookies that have been either cut or pressed into certain molds or shapes. Molded generally tend to be fancy. They can be cut into assorted shapes rolled cookie with a cookie cutter or molded with a cookie mold or stamp or molded by hand to make them unique looking.
Rolled Cookies are a type of cookie prepared from a dense cookie dough that is rolled out flat onto a counter, and cut into the desired shapes. There are many different recipes for rolled cookies, but they are especially popular for the holiday season because they can be made into shaped like gingerbread men. These types of cookies can also make great gifts.
Butter Cookies or Sugar Cookies are a crispy style cookie that is a very basic and easy-to-make and have a rich buttery flavor. The Dough is rolled into a thin sheet on a clean and flat surface with a rolling pin. Then cut into shapes that are often decorated before or after baking. Butter cookies decorated to celebrate a particular holiday or event.
Hand MoldedCookie dough is rolled into balls, Mexican Wedding Cookies, or Crescents, Braids, Logs, or Rings made with your cake decorating star tip and pastry bag, or Almond Pretzels, and then rolled in sugar or nuts before baking. While others are filled with jam, like thumbprint cookies, dropped and flattened with fork tines in a crisscross pattern, such as the popular peanut butter cookies, or baked as a loaf and then cut into strips and baked again, such as biscotti. Some hand-formed cookies are shaped after baking, while they are still warm, fortune cookies.
Thumbprint Cookies Thumbprint cookies can be filled with jams, lemon curd, nuts, chocolate or whatever you like.
*Use the best quality ingredients–they’ll produce the tastiest cookies.
Successful baking relies on the correct ratio of ingredients, so be sure to measure accurately.
Measure the flour first and then sift or stir with a whisk to lighten the flour. Usually stir in all dry ingredients together so they are well mixed.
Add the flour by hand, into the creamed sugar and butter and eggs, so as not to over mix and toughen the cookies.
The dough should be tacky and sticky and should hold together. When the dough just holds together stop adding flour. Do not to over stir the dough too much because it increased the gluten and the cookie becomes tough. When the dough is too sticky, add in 1 tablespoon extra flour, and fold after each addition before deciding to add more. Stop when the dough is just tacky.
If you have added too much flour, and the dough crumbles, start with 1 teaspoon oil to correct, adding a few drops at a time, and mix afterward.Even when the dough is not the exact texture the cookies, most of the time it will still bake perfectly and taste delicious!
Try make cookies uniform in size and shape. Scoop the dough into walnut or ping pong ball sized balls. I use a small ice cream scoop for the cookie dough. Place formed dough balls on sheet pans about 2-inches apart.
When the dough is to be rolled out (to 1/8 to 1/4 inch), if you place parchment paper and a layer of flour down first it will help prevent dough from sticking and it is easily moved back into the refrigerator to chill again if necessary.Parchment also makes easy clean-up.
Cool the cookies on the baking pan for about 2 minutes. Transfer the cookies with a spatula to cool completely. If baked on parchment paper, cookies can be cooled right on its surface; slide the paper with the cookies on top to a wire cake rack to cool. Remove cookies when cooled. Cool cookies completely before decorating them.
Understanding cookie ingredients is important. The three main ingredients in most cookies are flour, sugar, and fat, plus other ingredients such as leaveners, eggs, liquids, such as milk, and sometimes chocolate, coconut, spices or nuts and raisins.
Factors like humidity, climate, altitude and brand of flour can affect how much flour a cookie dough needs. (So can slight variations in the water content of the butter or eggs you use.)
How you measure your flour does make a difference. Spoon the flour into the measuring cup and scrape off the mound with a knife. Do not pack it down. When you dip the measuring cup into the flour you compact the flour and get too much flour in the cup.
Another great way is to weigh out your ingredients. One cup of unsifted all-purpose flour weighs 4.5 oz. or 125 grams. Sifted flour will weigh less than unsifted flour.
The type of flour determines the structure of the final cookie. Flour is the main binding agent and each type of flour has an individual protein profile suitable almost exclusively for specific uses.
High-protein flour orAll-purpose flour generally used in most cookie recipes and will make a darker in color and flatter cookies.
Low-protein flour orCake flour makes a pale, soft and puffy cookie.
Bread flour will make chewy cookie: since bread flour can absorb much more liquid than all purpose flour, more moisture will stay in the cookie.
Whole Wheat Flour When you use whole wheat flour in your cookies, use a little less than regular flour. Whole wheat flour will absorb more of the liquid from the other ingredients.
All cookie recipes have some form of sugar is used. It adds sweetness and affects the spread of the cookie and makes them golden brown. When a recipe calls for sugar safe to assume that it is granulated. Sugars and fats liquefy in the oven, that is why oven temperature is so important. Each type and amount of sugar used changes the cookie performance. If you cut the amount of sugar called for in a cookie recipe, the final baked cookie will be puffier or firm and not chewy or crisp.
Using too little sugar can affect the taste, color, and texture of cookies. Adding too much can cause them to be brittle.
Granulated sugar or brown sugar are the most frequently used in making cookies, but honey, molasses, corn syrup and other sugars can be used, sometimes they are combined both brown and white sugars.
For a chewier cookie, liquid sweetener, such as honey, corn syrup or molasses is preferred.
White sugar will make a crisper cookie than other sweeteners. White sugar will help give cookies a nice crisp edge. Using all white sugar will give you hard, crunchy cookies. Cookie spread decreases as sugar particle size increases. A coarse granulated sugar produces less cookie spread during baking than powdered sugar.
Cookies made from brown sugar will absorb moisture after baking, helping to ensure that they stay tender and chewy. Brown sugar adds a beautiful color as well as a more complex flavor. Adding too much can result in dark brown cookies. Adding too little results in paler cookies. Brown sugar is white sugar with molasses added back into it. Dark brown sugar has more molasses and will give an even stronger flavor to the cookies.
Corn syrup and molasses make cookies browner.
Brown sugar and honey make cookies that soften the longer you keep them.
Fats such as stick butter and margarine, lard, and shortening, are emulsifiers and it makes cookies tender and crispy. Fats coat the flour’s gluten strands and prevent the cookie from becoming tough when moistened and stirred.
Each fat plays a major role in the cookie. Depending on the amount of fat in the recipe you may have a flat, crispy cookies or a thicker cake style cookies.
Cookies made with butter spread out more than when using shortening or margarine. Adding too much butter can cause the cookies to be flat and greasy and adding too little butter can make cookies tough and crumbly. Butter usually adds the most flavor.
DO NOT melt the butter because the cookies will run together or you will need to chill the dough for at least 1-2 hours. Use room temperature butter by leaving it out an hour ahead of time or place a measuring cup with water in the microwave and heat the water for about 1 minute. The micro will be warm, not hot, place the butter in the oven the moist air will cut the softening time to 15 minutes. You should be able to push your finger gently into the butter to make a slight indentation. If your finger easily slides through the entire stick, it is too soft and may cause your cookies to spread too much while baking.
You can substitute margarine as long as it contains at least 80 percent vegetable oil. If the oil content doesn’t appear on the label, check the calorie count. Margarine that has 100 calories or more per tablespoon contain 80 percent vegetable oil. Do not use products labeled vegetable oil spread, light or reduced-fat margarine, or diet spread, they contain to much water. Margarine makes cookies spread a little more than butter, and tastes good but with less flavor than when Butter is used.
Unless you are making low-fat or fat-reduced recipes, choose full-fat dairy products. Always use solid cream cheese and not the whipped variety. Milk- Usually milk is added for making a cakier cookie style.
The liquid from the egg forms steam and gets trapped in the cookie when the temperature gets hot enough, puffing it up. In addition, they bind the dough, bringing the water and fat together in a recipe for a moist, smoother texture, and the shape and size of the finished cookie. Using too many eggs can result in gummy, cake-like cookies. Adding too few eggs can result in dry, crumbly cookies.
Most recipes ask for eggs at room temperature. A quick way to get an egg to room temperature is to place it in a bowl of warm tap water for about 10 minutes before using it. There are recipes that request cold eggs, the cold helps to keep the butter as firmer through the final mixing stage.
Eggs should be added one at at time and beaten well between additions to keep the mixture nice and emulsified.
If you find you do not have enough eggs for baking, you can add 1/4 cup vegetable oil for each egg required.
When the recipe calls for eggs, most times use a large egg (which is about 1/4 cup or 50 grams).The size of egg determines the ratio of liquid to dry ingredients. Beat eggs into your cookie dough one at a time to allow them to fully incorporate.
Baking powder is a combination of bicarbonate of soda plus cream of tartar and cornstarch. Baking powder produces cookies that are puffier and lighter in color. Depending on how much acid is in the baking powder it can be labeled as fast-acting, slow-acting, and double-acting. Most baking powders are double-acting and will release only a small amount of gas during mixing; the majority will release in the hot oven.
Cream of Tartaris also used often in recipes with baking soda and also when creaming butter and sugar together, it creates tiny air bubbles in the mixture that can be expanded by the addition of baking soda and an acid.
SaltFine salt is the best to assure it is mixed with the other dry ingredients. Salt works with the leavening ingredients and balances the flavors. Currently, there are many different types of salt in the stores. I prefer sea salt for the flavor and the micro nutrients it adds. Often coarse salt is sprinkled on top of some cookie dough for an extra burst of flavor.
Chocolate– Chocolate chips come in mini chips or regular size and both produce melted bits of chocolate, the preference is up to you which you to use. Chocolate chopped by hand to make Chocolate chunks and shavings produce the most flavor contrast with the fine shavings mix throughout the dough, adding extra rich chocolate flavor while larger chunks still melt into large gooey pockets.
Different types of chips can be interchangeable in cookie recipes peanut butter chips, butterscotch chips, white chocolate chips, or nuts.
Coffee– flavored cookies are wonderful, instead of adding brewed coffee, add a small amount of instant coffee crystals with a touch of cocoa powder and cinnamon.
Sour cream gives the cookies an irresistibly soft and tender crumb.
Vanilla is the most used flavoring in cookies. Whenever possible use pure vanilla extract or almond extract for the very best flavor.
Nutsare often called for in cookies. Usually, it is best to toast the nuts lightly first, the toasting enhances the flavor.
Raisins and other dried fruit should be soaked in warm water to rehydrated them first. Often people like to soak them in alcohol first for additional flavor.
The oven Temperature makes a big difference when baking cookies. For best results, always use an oven thermometer to get an accurate reading of the temperature, for all your baking. If you find your cookies to be usually pale and soft or your cookies seem to brown too quickly, it’s likely the fault of your oven. The sugars in the cookies need to melt at the correct temperature. I baked cookies at various temperatures in 25°F increments ranging from 250°F up to 450°F. When baked at a lower temperature, the dough has more of a chance to spread out, leading to flatter, wider cookies. Conversely, cookies baked at higher temperatures spread less. Even a difference of as little as 50°F makes a big difference.
Baking Times– Set a timer. Time moves so fast when baking and it is so easy to under cook or burn your cookies.
Storing -Baked cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for about 5 days or refrigerate (for up to 3 days).You can also freeze cookie dough (for 1 month) so you can bake cookies when you want them for fresh still-warm cookies. Always wrap the dough well when you refrigerate or freeze to maintain the good flavor.
Chile Peppers add a little spice to life. Almost every country in the world today enjoys the flavors and benefits of this humble plant. The name is spelled differently in many regions, The term chili in most of the world refers exclusively to the smaller, hot types of capsicum.
The chili pepper, is the fruit of the plants from the genus Capsicum, which are members of the nightshade family, Solanaceae, the same family as the potato. Chile peppers are thought to have originated in South America. Until the arrival of Spanish and Portuguese explorers in the New World, peppers grew only in Latin America, but they now cultivated all over the world for centuries, resulting in a wide variety of species with different colors, shapes, flavors, and, of course, spiciness. The most mild and very popular is the bell pepper often referred to red bell, green bell, used in salads, stir fries or stuffed.
A very popular grilling pepper that’s ideal for stuffing to make chiles rellenos with a kick of heat. On the heat scale they are a 2 to 3. They are big, about 4 to 6 inches long and are usually sold fresh, while they are younger and dark green. As they become red, this mature stage is when they are usually dried (and in their dried form they are called ancho chiles). Poblanos dried become Ancho or mulato chilies.
Ancho Chile means “wide chile” in Spanish, nearly black pepper, made from ripe poblano peppers. They have a high yield of flesh to skin. Anchos are mild with a rich, dark cherry/raisin sweetness. Ancho chiles are sometimes labeled “pasilla chiles,” but they are much wider at the stem than true pasillas.
This is a Mexican variety that matures from dark olive green to dark chocolate brown. The pasilla is six- to 12-inch and on the spiciness scale they are about a 2 to 3.. It’s a versatile pepper that’s good for sauces, roasting, and grilling when fresh. Pisilla chilies are medium hot but not so much that they are scary. Dried pasillas and are common in salsas (sauces) recipes; pasillas (also known as chiles negros) are available both whole and powdered.
Pisillas or Chiles Negros
Chiles Negros, also called Chile Pisilla- This chili is characterized by its deep red flesh It has a mild flavor and only a small amount of heat. They are sometimes used to make the salsa. Ancho, Pasilla and Guajillo make up the “holy trinity” widely used in mole and enchilada sauces. These long, tapered chiles sport black, wrinkled skins and lend a subtle, prune-like flavor with a whisper of licorice to sauces. Complex and quite spicy, the dark flesh of these “chile negros” yields a mahogany brown puree that is often blended with cream.
The Chile de árbol (Spanish for tree chili) is a small and potent Mexican chili pepper also known as bird’s beak chile and rat’s tail chile. Chile De Arbol Peppers are named in reference to the woody stems attached to the pod. These chilies are about 2 to 3 inches long. Their heat index is between about 7-8 on a 1-10 scale. The peppers start out green and turn a bright red color as they mature. Chile de árbol peppers can be found fresh, dried, or powdered. These beautiful little red chiles are thought to be derived from the cayenne pepper. As dried chiles, they are often used to decorate wreaths because they do not lose their red color after dehydration. Excellent in salsas.
The Anaheim is a big, about 5 to 6 inches long, and a mild chile that’s good for stuffing. Anaheims are good roasted, cut into strips, and thrown into a salad; stuffed with meat and grilled; used in salsa verde, or added to cheese enchiladas. Mildly spicy about a 3 on the spiciness level.
Anaheim Dried Chili
Anaheim, are also known as New Mexican or California chile pepper pods have a marvelous sweet, pungent, earthy flavor which you might find quite addicting. They and a shiny smooth skin, with a flavor that is very mild. They are usually blended with more interesting chilies when making sauces. It is possible to derive three distinct flavors from one chile pod: the seeds alone, the flesh alone, or the whole pod. Each produces different levels of flavor and heat.
This bright red pepper, about 2 to 6 inches long and is usually consumed in its dried, powdered form, known as cayenne pepper. When ripe and fresh, cayenne chilies are long, skinny, and very hot, spiciness range of 4 to 5.
Guajillo chilies have long, shiny, tapered pods with tough cranberry-red skins. They boast a moderately spicy, tangy flavor with a hint of citrus. Because the skins are tough, be prepared to soak the chilies a bit longer to make them pliable, and be sure to strain the sauce once blended.
The jalapeno is usedespeciallyinMexicancooking and has become one of the most popular chilies around the world at this time. The jalapeño is a medium-sized chili pepper a mature jalapeño fruit is 2 to 3 inches long with a round, firm, smooth flesh of 1–1.5 in wide. The jalapeno is harvested both green and red, the jalapeño is spicy. When dried and smoked, it’s called a chipotle chile.
Jalapeño chilies progressively get hotter the older they get, eventually turning bright red. As they age, they develop white lines and flecks, like stretch marks running in the direction of the length of the pepper. The smoother the pepper, the younger, and milder it is. The more white lines or striations, the older and hotter the chile may be. Red jalapeños can be very hot. If you want the mildest jalapeno pick the chilies without any striations. If you want heat, find a red or green one with plenty of white stretch marks.
Chipotles are made by smoking and drying jalapenos. They are often sold canned in tomato sauce as “chipotles in adobo”. They have a dusty, tan appearance and a woodsy, smoky flavor with about a 3 on the temperature scale. They are wonderful in sauces, sour cream and even in mayonnaise for sandwiches. Try them one at a time until you find your spiciness level.
Spicier than the jalapeño, and more flavorful, the serrano is a small Mexican pepper, about 1 to 3 inches long and thinner than the jalapeno, with thick, juicy walls, and is widely available and versatile. It is about a 3 on the spiciness level. It is most commonly sold in its green stage and like the jalapeno, it turns red and then yellow as it ages. You can also find serranos canned pickled or dried.
Habaneros add a lot of heat to cooking, on the spiciness scale they rate about a 5. Be careful with them or you will destroy your dish. You’ll find different colors, ranging from red to white-yellow and even brown, but orange is the most common, they are usually 2 to 3 inches long. Great for salsa, hot sauces, or a fiery jerk chicken.
The most common sweet pepper, bells are red, green, and yellow, but there are also purple, brown, and orange varieties, 3 to 6 inches in size. They are a crunchy, juicy pepper that is great for eating raw on salads, sautéing, they have next to no heat to the bite. They have a large cavity that is ideal for stuffing. On the heat scale they are about a 1, very little.
Hot Cherry Pepper
These vary in size from 1 to 2 inches and shape and are very hot. They are usually round though sometimes more of a triangular shape. Cherry peppers can also be sweet and are about a 3-4 on the spiciness range. They’re most often used in pickling and stuffing.
This is a type of pimento (or pimento) pepper, which is what you often find stuffed in green olives. It is a large 4 to 6 inches long, sweet red pepper, similar to a bell but with an extra-thick, juicy wall. The skin comes off easily, so this is an ideal pepper for roasting. It’s also great to eat raw with dip, it is only about a 1 on the spiciness range.
If you want the flavor without the mouth-scorching fire, remove the seeds and interior ribs from a chile before cooking it.
When you purchase chilies in a can they are much milder than the fresh version.
When cooking with chilies for a group you are not sure what spiciness level they can handle, soak chilies in salt and vinegar 20 to 60 minutes, depending on how hot they are. Rinse and dry the fill as before.
Most green peppers are less spicy than the darker and redder they get.
It’s also a good idea to have dairy products, such as milk or yogurt, on hand—they contain casein, which helps neutralize capsaicin, the chemical that gives chilies their heat. A teaspoon of sugar on your tongue also helps so does eating rice, pasta or bread.
Always protect your skin by wearing gloves when handling hot peppers in your skin is sensitive. Always wash your hands thoroughly after working with chilies otherwise, you may touch your eyes or other body parts, and will feel a burn for a while.
To prevent making an overly spicy dish, be sure to add just a little bit of chili at a time and taste as you go. If using hot peppers, taste a little bit first to get a sense for how hot it is.
If you do make something that is too spicy, try one of the following, before giving up on your dish:
Dairy combats heat whether it is milk, sour cream, or yogurt, use as much of it as you can until the spice has calmed down. Stir in a tablespoon at a time of yogurt, sour cream, milk, coconut milk (a great nondairy alternative) and/or a mild cheese like Parmesan to counteract overly hot flavors.
Some people swear nut butters are able to cut through the excess heat of a dish. If it’s appropriate for the dish, try stirring in a couple tablespoons of peanut butter, almond butter, tahini, etc.
Acid can cut through the heat try vinegar, lemon juice, and lime juice.
A spoonful of sugar can also go a long way in neutralizing the spice. Sugar may be used best in combination with acid.
Soak roasted chilies first in a teaspoon of vinegar and a dash of salt with enough water to cover them, soak them for 20 to 60 minutes or more depending on the heat level of the chili.
Health Benefits of Chilies
Chilies contain health benefiting an alkaloid compound in them, capsaicin, which gives them strong spicy pungent character. Early laboratory studies on experimental mammals suggest that capsaicin has anti-bacterial, anti-carcinogenic, analgesic and anti-diabetic properties. It also found to reduce LDL cholesterol levels in obese individuals.
Fresh chili peppers, red and green, are rich source of vitamin-C. 100 g fresh chilies provide about 143.7 µg or about 240% of RDA. Vitamin C is a potent water-soluble antioxidant. It is required for the collagen synthesis inside the human body. Collagen is one of the main structural protein required for maintaining the integrity of blood vessels, skin, organs, and bones.
They are also good in other antioxidants such as vitamin-A, and flavonoids like ß-carotene, a-carotene, lutein, zea-xanthin, and cryptoxanthin. These antioxidant substances in capsicum help protect the body from injurious effects of free radicals generated during stress, diseases conditions.
Chilies carry a good amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, iron, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.
Chilies are also good in B-complex group of vitamins such as niacin, pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), riboflavin and thiamin (vitamin B-1). These vitamins are essential in the sense that human body requires them from external sources to replenish.
Some of my health information is from: http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/chili-peppers.html
How to Roast Fresh Chili Peppers
Place the chilies over a stove flame, under the broiler or on a grill and roast until the skin is charred and blistered, about 3 to 5 minutes. Avoid completely blackening the chiles; you’re looking for them to be about 60% to 70% charred.
Turn them over and roast the other side: Using tongs, flip the chiles over and roast on all sides until the skin is charred and blistered, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Steam the peppers to loosen the peel: Remove the chilies from the heat and place them in a paper bag, food-safe plastic bag, or heat-safe bowl. Close the bag or cover the bowl, and let stand for 10 to 15 minutes. The steam will help loosen the peel from the chiles.
When buying dry chilies, look for ones that are still pliable and leathery. If they feel hard or crack when you bend them inside their packaging, they’re too old and have lost much of their flavor. If you are not planning on using your chilies right away, or if you are planning on buying them in bulk, the best way to store them is in an air-tight zipper-lock bag inside the freezer or cool dark location. They become moldy if you do not wrap them well.
How To Prepare Dry Chilies
Firstclean To clean a long, straight chili like a Guajillo, start by snipping off the stem with some clean kitchen shears into a bowl. Next, make a slit along one edge. Open up the chili and use your fingers to scrape out the seeds and any ribs. For wrinkled chilies where the stem ends up inverted, start by cutting the chili in half, making sure to cut below where the internal portion of the stem ends up. Scrape the seeds and ribs out of the bottom half. Next, turn the top half inside out so that the inner portion of the stem is exposed. Cut the stem off from the inside. You should end up with a clean, ring-shaped piece of chili, the stem falling neatly into the bowl below.
Second Toast the ChiliToasting chilies opens the cells and oils which increase the flavor and complexity. Use a skillet with a heavy bottom and over medium heat toast the chili. It will slowly puff up when done. Watch the chilies because they will burn quickly.
Grind the Chilies Once those chilies are toasted, place them into a blender or spice grinder to make your own chili powder.
Soften the Chilies Place the toasted chilies in a small bowl of boiling water and let them sit for about 15 to 20 minutes to soften. Then place them in the blender and puree. Proceed with your recipe for salsa or various sauces. *Soften the dried chili also if you are going to fill it.
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