Things I've Googled This Week #4

Saturday, September 12, 2015

This is going to be a fun segment of the blog where I share the tips that I have been learning along the way.  I am forever googling things to make sure I am not missing any of the finer details of different cooking processes.  Maybe I can save you a little time and share what I have learned.

Q: How to tell if a pomegranate is ripe?

A good pomegranate will be heavy, which indicates that the fruit is loaded with juice.  Poms are usually not picked until they are ripe, so you should be able to consume right after purchase.  They are typically in season in North America from late summer to early winter.  Thank goodness I decided to make High Five sweet potatoes in September.  That was totally a fluke!

Q: Is this grapefruit rotten?

I think my grapefruit was mere hours from being past the point of edible.  When I cut it open, it wasn't the bright pink glow, rather a dull dusty pink color which looked rather sad.  When I cut the sections, the fruit wasn't very firm.  The tiny juice 'vesicles' (I had to google the name for those too.) didn't seem to stay attached to their neighbors very well.  It was definitely almost in too mushy to eat territory.  To keep your grapefruit fresh, keep it in the refrigerator or use it within 3-4 days.  It is 100% rotten when it is slimy, moldy, dried out, spotted, or smells bad.

Q: How to steam a pita?

The direct method with a steamer basket.  Fill a wok or pan with water, bring to boil and sit the pita in the top (not touching the water) and allow the steam to heat the pita through.  I don't have any of this stuff, so the next neato suggestion is to wet a paper towel, and wad it up loosely.  Take a brown paper bag, and put your wet towel wad in the bottom.  Keeping the bag on it's side, add the pita, but not letting it touch the towel, and fold the bag shut.  Microwave of 30 seconds-1 minute.  The wet paper towel + microwave heat in a bag creates a little steam oven for your pita.

Q: Onions in ice water?

Turns out this does in fact take the bite out of the onion.  (Not that I didn't believe you, Aarti)  I learned you can also use milk, it will mellow out the taste.  Someone on the chowhounds forum suggested that the acids in the onions that burn your eyes are water soluble, so soaking them dilutes/removes them from the onion.  I don't know if that is confirmed with science, but I suppose it makes sense?  It makes a big difference when you are eating a raw onion, so remember this tip for your next burger cookout or dinner salad.

Q: China pine nuts?

Let me tell you.  I needed pine nuts as a mere garnish for a sweet potato dish and a hummus recipe I was making.  I am talking like 10 seeds per person total.  Well I was at the store with Aaron, about to throw the three dollar pine nuts into the cart and it was like the record player in a dance hall screeched to a halt.  We can not buy pine nuts that are from China.  Dead serious with a fear in his eyes.  Well here I am googling it, and apparently pine nuts from China can be known to cause 'Pine Nut Syndrome' and they pretty much mess your tastebuds up and everything tastes bitter and metallic.    Kind of crazy.  Annoyed, I spent the extra $$ to get the $10 pine nuts from Italy.  All for a stinkin' garnish.

Q: Tips for grits

More cheese is better, and take your time.  They need more seasoning than you think, and also more time.  A rushed grit, is a lumpy, unpleasant one.  Slow and steady wins the race.  I used instant, but apparently that is a no-no.

Q: Pinterest tips for food blogging

I was looking to get some tips on how to get my recipes seen more.  I learned that in order to be followed and re-pinned more, you need to pin A LOT.  Also a good tip is to have a lot of different boards that are specific.  For example, I originally had my recipes into feasting (meat), fasting (vegetarian) and desserts.  Now I have chicken recipes, freezer meals, cakes and pies, cookies and bars, and everything in between.  If you found this site via Pinterest, welcome!  If you'd enjoy following my perfectly curated boards, find me here.

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