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Tag: Food Preparation

Using Pyrex® in Pressure Cookers

The popularity of electric pressure cookers has brought up other safety issues besides food safety.

One is about using Pyrex® inside the electric pressure cooker. According to Corelle Brands, makers of Pyrex®, it is not recommended to put this glassware in these appliances. The glass is not made to be put under pressure and it could crack or explode. If you have further questions, contact the Corelle Brands Consumer Care Center at 1-800-999-3436.


New Bread Sculpture Contest at Fairs

“Find Your Fun” and have some fun with food! A new contest for county fairs and the State Fair has been developed by the Kansas Wheat Commission to bring out your creativity with bread sculptures.

The Kansas Wheat Commission recommends having a county contest to send the winner on to the State Fair. But, individuals may still enter their item in the “Open Class” Bread Sculpture contest at the State Fair.

Judges will consider creativity, originality, imagination, attention to detail, design, color, and instructions.

For more information, the contest flyer can be found at under “Foods & Nutrition.”

For questions, please contact or


The History of the Humble Pot Pie

There are many kinds of comfort food. But, the pot pie is one that has quite a history. A basic pot pie consists of a pie crust, poultry or meat, vegetables and gravy. It is a good way to use up leftovers for an easy meal.

Prior to becoming popular in American cuisine in the late 1700s, the pot pie was a very “lively” dish. According to Smithsonian magazine, cooks from the Roman Empire era would sometimes make pot pies with a living bird that would burst through the pie shell when cut and fly out. Surprise! While this would scare any unsuspecting diner, this active meal was still prepared in 16th century England.

Pot pies were also described as “Sea Pie.” This version typically included pigeons, turkey, veal and mutton. The name came from the pie being made aboard ships.

In 1951, the first frozen pot pie was created by the C.A. Swanson company and was made with chicken.

Other versions of pot pies have toppings made of mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, cornbread, biscuits and more.

Source: The Encyclopedia of American Food & Drink, John F. Mariani


Are Your Dried Beans Old?

It is soup season and many recipes include dried beans. But how can you tell if they are old? One specific sign dried beans are old, is if they wrinkle during soaking.

As dry beans soak, they should absorb moisture through the hilum, the part of the bean that attaches to the pod. But during harvest handling and storage, dry beans can develop holes, called “checks”, due of temperature changes, moisture changes, and fungi growth. The “checks” allow water into the bean and wrinkle the skin.

Since these “checks” are difficult to see before cooking, always buy new beans and use  remaining dry beans within one year.

Source: The Science of Good Cooking, Cook’s Illustrated


What is a Fruit Shrub?

Historically, the beverage called a shrub was created using fruit, sugar, and alcohol such as brandy or rum. It was a way to preserve fruit to drink. It was fermented, strained, and served over ice with water or soda water.

Today, a shrub is made with vinegar instead of alcohol and fermented. Spices or herbs may be added. The fruit is strained out and vinegar such as apple cider, balsamic, sherry, or red wine vinegar is added.

Want to try it? A non-alcoholic recipe can be found at—ball-recipes-br3531.html.


Using Expired Yeast for Bread

Bread yeast is a living organism. Over time, it loses its potency and ability to make dough rise. Yeast packaging has an expiration date and it is best to use it prior to this date.

If dough is made with expired yeast, it is possible to rescue the slow rising dough by using a new package of yeast. These tips are from Fleischmann’s Yeast for each packet of yeast in the recipe.

  1. In a large bowl, combine 1/4 cup lukewarm water (100°-110°F), 1 teaspoon sugar and one packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) of yeast. Stir to dissolve.
  2. Using an electric mixer, slowly beat in small (walnut size) pieces of dough until about 1/2 of the dough is mixed into the new yeast.
  3. With a spoon, stir in remaining dough. Knead in extra flour so dough is not sticky.
  4. Let rise, shape and bake as directed.

Source: Fleischmann’s Yeast


Skimming the Fat

Making soup, broth or sauce and need an easy way to skim off excess fat? Here’s some tips.

Place a metal spoon in ice cold water. Touch the cold spoon to the hot food and the fat should coagulate on the spoon for easy removal. In place of a spoon, use a cold lettuce leaf or an ice cube. Avoid stirring the food too much so fat rises to the top.

If you have more time, chill the food and the fat will rise to the top. Use a spoon or spatula to remove the hardened fat.

While fat carries some flavor, it also makes a food mixture unappealing and greasy.


Cooking Slow in a Fast-Paced World

Consumers are on the go and want meal preparation to be easy and fast to fit active schedules. Yet, the slow cooker is still a go-to appliance to fix a complete meal. According to the Food Marketing Institute, in 2016, 82% of consumers prepared a nightly meal five or more times per week. Other trends include:

  • 65% of U.S households own and use a slow cooker.
  • 28% of men use a slow cooker for game day parties.
  • Eight in 10 adults are skilled at using a slow cooker.
  • Sixteen meals per person were prepared in a slow cooker per year.
  • Several food manufacturers offer seasoning mixes or frozen meal packages for quick preparation.

Source: Food Technology, December 2017


Why is Vanilla so Expensive?

Shopping for pure vanilla extract can cost you a pretty penny, depending on the brand. Prices can vary from $12.00-$25.00 for a 4 fl. oz. bottle!

Producing vanilla is very labor and time intensive. Most of the vanilla used to make vanilla extract is grown in Madagascar. A cyclone hit that region a year or so ago which destroyed many vanilla fields and facilities. Therefore, the supply is reduced and it takes time to get the fields of orchids growing again.

Learn more about the 2017 vanilla crop at

Imitation vanilla extract is an economical option for many baked goods. For non-baked goods or products needing low heat treatment, pure vanilla extract is best for optimum vanilla flavor.


What is Sous Vide Cooking?

Sous vide cooking is gaining momentum in food service operations and in home kitchens. When compared to traditional cooking, there are two differences. In sous vide cooking, raw food is vacuum packed in heat stable, food grade plastic bags. Then it is cooked at a precisely controlled temperature inside the bag.

The vacuum package protects the food from contamination, eliminates off-flavors, and prevents moisture loss during cooking. The bag of food is cooked in a water bath at a specific temperature which converts collagen into gelatin, reduces toughness, and reduces overcooking.

Limitations include lack of browning and those flavors developed by browning. Therefore, the food must be browned after sous vide cooking to make it more visually appealing. Food safety is a concern because of initial microbial content in the food; the cooking time and temperature; the cooling process after cooking; and storage. And, with vacuum packaging, a major concern is the growth of Clostridium botulinum.

Sous vide cooking is done with equipment designed for this type of cooking. This method of cooking is not recommended for anyone who is immune-compromised, any pregnant women, or young children.

Source: Food Technology, December 2017