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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Cookbook - Food Tips

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Food care and Safetysalad

  • Once your bananas have ripened, store them in the refrigerator to slow further ripening. The peel might darken, but the fruit will be good for up to five days.
  • Wash and thoroughly dry greens before placing them in a plastic bag and storing them in the refrigerator’s crisper drawer. Do not place greens near fruit, which emit gasses that can spoil vegetables. When properly stored, most lettuce will last a week; tender greens like spinach will keep for three days.
  • Keen fresh mushrooms in their package. After you open them, store your button, shitake, Portobello’s and other mushrooms in a brown-paper lunch bag.
  • Store fresh whole tomatoes at room temperature and out of direct sunlight, with the stem side up to prevent bruising. Sorting them in the refrigerator keeps tomatoes from ripening, kills their flavor and makes them mealy.
  • Store dried fruit in freezer to keep it fresh.
  • Put avocados in a brown bag in a warm place to ripen them.

Cooking Tips

  • Soak a lemon in hot water for 15 minutes to yield more juices
  • Reduce the odor when steaming broccoli by adding a slice of lemon to the water.
  • Soak cucumber slices sin salt water for 30 minutes to make them extra crisp.
  • Save the water from boiled or steamed vegetables for a nutritious veggie stock.
  • Preserve the nutrients and colors in veggies. Cook them quickly by steaming or stir-frying.
  • A smoothie can cover a multitude of needs. Throw a banana (you can keep them in the freezer for weeks) into your blender along with frozen berries, kiwi or whatever fruit is around, some orange or other juice, some fat-free or low-fat yogurt and protein powder. You can get 4-5 servings of fruit in one glass of yummy shake. It’s easy, cool, refreshing and healthy.
  • Canned, processed and preserved vegetables often have very high sodium content. Look for “low-sodium” veggies or try the frozen varieties. Compare the sodium content on the Nutrition Facts label of similar products (for example, different brands of tomato sauce) and choose the products with less sodium.
  • To cook vegetables healthfully, use one to two teaspoons of oil or water. For more flavor, add herbs and spices to make vegetables. For example, these combinations add new and subtle flavors:
    • Rosemary with peas, cauliflower and squash
    • Oregano with Zucchini
    • Dill with green beans
    • Marjoram with Brussels sprouts, carrots and spinach
    • Basil with tomatoes

Information from Consumer Reports, American Heart Association and Target Wellness Center recipe book.