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How to store apples so they last all winter

For many people, autumn means one thing: apples. Families love heading to the orchard and loading up on bags full of apples for making devious homemade applesauce, pies, and cobblers. But don’t let your enjoyment of those tasty fall treats end earlier than it needs to. Believe it or not, some varieties of apples can last you all the way through March. They just have to be stored the right way. Also see, the best apples for eating fresh. Apples are abundant in the fall, meaning you can buy them at cheaper prices and stock up. You’ll save money by buying in bulk, and you’ll also avoid grocery store apples which can be coated in unnatural waxes or doused with chemicals used to delay their ripening. Here’s everything you need to know about storing apples for winter: What type of apple should you buy Apples come to maturity between late July…

How to pick the best butternut squash

Fall has finally arrived and winter squash are stocked on the shelves — acorn, spaghetti, and of course, butternut. Butternut squash a must-have fall vegetable that dates back nearly 10,000 years ago.  It’s true. Archaeological evidence suggests that squash was first cultivated in what is now known as the Isthmus of Panama. Squash was one of the three main crops (known as the “Three Sisters” — maize, beans, and squash) planted by Native Americans. If you’re looking for authentic North American fall foods for your Thanksgiving feast, squash certainly qualifies. (Read more at: How Americans Became so Obsess with Pumpkins) The most noticeable difference between winter squash and summer squash, like zucchini and yellow squash, is the exterior skin. Summer squash have thin, flavorful skin you leave on and eat, while winter squash have a tough, inedible outer shell. It’s because of this shell, however, that winter squash can be…

The very best way to freeze peaches

Is there anything as delicious as a fresh peach? Peaches on ice cream, peach sangria, peach barbecue sauce — my mouth is already watering. Some summers the crop is extra delicious, juicy and fragrant. It’s these flavors I want to capture and savor all year long. When you come across a crop like this, you’ll be tempted to buy the whole bushel, and that’s what I say go for it! Delicious fresh peaches make for delicious frozen peaches, too. What good are frozen peaches? Well, you can pretty much do just about anything with them that you would have done when they were fresh: savory dishes like peach topped pork chops, kebabs, cobblers, pies, jams, sangria, smoothies. Or use them as ice cubes in your iced tea or lemonade for a fruity treat when you reach the bottom of your glass. So what’s the best way to freeze peaches? The…

How to brew the perfect french press coffee

French press coffee might look intimidating, but if you can drop a plastic pod into a Keurig, you can easily brew a great cup of French press. It’s totally worth waking up a few minutes earlier to use this flavorful method and save yourself from buying those expensive machines and wasteful K-cups. Experts estimate that every year, coffee drinkers are trashing enough single serving coffee pods to circle the planet between 10 1/2 and 12 times. But your freshly ground coffee beans produce zero waste and actually work as great compost among other things. There is no wasteful paper filter involved in the process (although you can compost this paper, you probably don’t), which allows the oils in the coffee bean to stay in your cup and give you a more satisfying serving of coffee. Are you ready to make the best brew you’ve ever had? It’s as easy as spooning coffee grinds to your French…

8 Mistakes you’re making when cooking fish

Fish on the menu tonight? If you’re guilty of doing any of these 8 things, you should adapt your style before you take to the stove tonight. 1. You choose the wrong pan Most people instinctively reach for the non-stick cookware pan, but the secret to cooking fish is a hot pan. Stainless steel or cast iron help you reach the right temperature so you can create that perfectly seared salmon. The only want to achieve that delicious crust is with a high dose of heat. Plus, a lot of recipes call for a quick turn in the oven to finish off the dish, so an oven-proof pan is the only way to go. 2. You don’t dry the fish off To make sure your fish gets a crispy outer layer, dry it off first with a paper towel. This also helps seasonings, salt, or marinade stick to it. Starting…

How to pick the perfect cantaloupe

Is there anything more disappointing in the world of food than getting home from the supermarket with a bunch of fresh produce only slice it open and find you’ve literally picked a bad apple… or pineapple.. or cantaloupe. Cantaloupe can be particularly tricky because they pretty much all look the same from the outside. So how do you tell what’s happening underneath that rough, tannish-grey skin? With a few tips you can actually get a pretty good idea. Here’s what you need to know: Buy only in season You just aren’t going to get the juicy, sweet cantaloupe you crave if you’re shopping in January. In the off season, cantaloupe are shipped from South America, meaning that by the time they make it to your mouth, they’ve been off the vine for quite some time. In the U.S., cantaloupe are at their peak from June until August. So if you’re…

10 bad kitchen habits you need to break now

We all make mistakes in the kitchen — especially when we’re just starting out. But great cooks learn to be great by learning from their mistakes. Whether you’re a seasoned professional chef or a 20-something try-hard, if you’ve picked up any of these bad habits in the kitchen ditch them right now! Your cooking is suffering and you might not even know it. 1. Your knives are always dull When you’re using a dull knife, you actually increase your risk of getting injured. A sharp knife easily slices through anything, but a dull blade needs some force. This means it’s more likely to slip out of your hand and cut you — possibly seriously. If you don’t know how to properly sharpen a knife, no worries. You can get it done by a professional relatively cheaply. Once sharp, remember to store them with their blades protected in knife guards. Never…

5 Types of foods to avoid cooking in your cast iron skillet

When you get your first cast iron skillet, you’re eager to see how much it can master. Sizzling grilled cheese? Check! Fajitas? Check! You’ll start to eat skillet dishes six nights a week just because you love the flavor and the simplicity. But even Superman has his kryptonite. Here are 5 types of food you should steer clear of in your cast iron skillet. 1. Acidic Foods Cast iron can’t handle large quantities of acidic foods very well. Acidic foods allow the metal to leach into your foods, but they can also breakdown your seasoning.  This means like foods with tomato sauce, vinegar or lemon-based sauces will pick up a metallic taste from the pan. This can happen in as little as a half hour, so if it’s a white wine chicken dish you’re going for, make the marriage of the two quick, or better yet, do it outside the…

An easy trick to bring butter and eggs to room temperature for baking

Baking happens. Sometimes it’s planned days ahead, and sometimes you get the urge for something sweet out of nowhere. But, if you find yourself up for a little impromptu baking session, you might run into a few problems. Recipes regularly call for room temperature eggs, butter, and even milk — that means setting them out ahead of time to warm up. So what’s an impulsive baker to do? While a perfect planner would have had these ingredients resting on the countertop for an hour ahead of time, you just pulled them from your fridge and need them ready now. The microwave looks tempting, but you know that’s seriously hit or miss — and usually makes a mess. Don’t fear. Here a few hacks so you can bake your cookies without waiting until 10 p.m. to start. How to bring butter to room temperature If you’ve ever tried to microwave butter…

How to make homemade chili seasoning

Skip the store-bought packets and make your own chili seasoning from scratch with spices you already have in your pantry. There’s a little game in my kitchen I like to play called, “How many tiny bottles of spices can I squeeze onto the shelf.” I have dried spices for all sorts of meals that I made once, needed a specific spice blend, and never made again. Thus, the spice just sits there with others that suffered the same fate, taking up valuable space in my tiny kitchen. Chili powder isn’t one of those. It’s so versatile, I’m actually happy to lend my leftover mix some shelf space. It’s great on everything from chili to tacos to roasted veggies. Put it on potatoes or even on top of mac and cheese or corn on the cob. What can’t you put chili powder on? Here is a spice blend that I want to…