Category: Food Preparation

How to prepare the raw materials needed for cooking.

An Easy Trick for Keeping Cut Vegetables & Fruits Fresh Looking

McCormick Anti Oxidant
Chances are if you ever peeled, sliced or shredded a potato you found it didn’t take long for the nice white color of the potato to turn a lovely shade of brown. This happens because the oxygen in the air reacts with the enzymes in the cells of the potato which quickly changes the white potato to an unappealing brown color. The same is true with apples. Oxygen also reacts with that fresh cut salad turning the edges of the leaf brown.

Luckily, there is an easy solution to stop the oxidation. The simplest method is placing those peeled potatoes and sliced apples in water. This works well when there is only a limited time between preparation and cooking and when the pieces of potato and apple are large.

If you shred the potatoes and apples, the oxidation occurs very quickly. In fact, when I shred potatoes using my KitchenAid stand mixer’s shredding attachment, the potato starts to brown almost at the moment it’s coming out of the attachment. In this case as well as when sliced apples are to be displayed, I turn to McCormick Anti-Oxidant. Through the magic of chemistry, this product, which is made primarily with food grade citric acid, effectively stops the browning of sliced fruits and vegetables.

  • For potatoes, simply mix up 1 1/2 tsp of McCormick Anti Oxidant with each quart of water (or 2 tbsp to a gallon for larger needs) and let the potatoes sit in the solution for three minutes and then drain.
  • For shredded potatoes, put the anti-oxidant mixture in a bowl placed directly under the shredder to cath the shredded potatoes as they fall out.
  • For green vegetables such as cucumbers and lettuce, use 1/2 tsp anti-oxidant to 1 gallon of water. One gallon of solution will treat 40 pounds of vegetables and fruit.
Shredded Potatoes in Anti Oxidant Solution
Shredded potatoes in anti-oxidant solution

One of the best reasons for using anti-oxidant with foods instead of other solutions such as lemon juice is the pure citric acid adds no tastes to the food. When I used lemon juice to prevent the browning of my sliced avocado it always added the taste of lemon to my salads. You can see from the picture above how white the shredded potatoes are in the anti-oxidant solution, and they stay that way while cooking.

How To Dice A Potato

Diced potatoes are used in soups, stews, hash browns, and more, and yet you’re just supposed to know how to cut them up. Sure, there are lots of ways to slice and dice a potato, but some are just plain easier then others. We’re going to describe how we dice a potato. The pictures are of fairly large dices that we prepared for making beef stew.

Start by first peeling, and washing the potatoes. Since potatoes will turn brown if left exposed to the air, if you are going to dice a lot of potatoes, have two pans of water on hand. In one pan place the peeled potatoes, and in the other pan placed the diced potatoes after you cut them. Keeping the potatoes in those pans of water will keep them from turning brown. Make sure the potatoes are covered with water.

Once you have the potatoes peeled and washed, carefully cut them in half lengthwise and then place them cut side down on the cutting board.
First step in dicing a potato
Next cut the potato half in half again. If you have very large potatoes, you may want to cut the potato in thirds instead. We want about 3/4 – 1″ dices since we’re making diced potatoes for stew. If you’re making a meal that needs smaller diced, turn the slices of potatoes so they lay flat on the cutting board, and slice them lengthwise again.
Second step in dicing a potato
The final step is to form the dices by cutting the potatoes crosswise. Make these cuts by first starting at one end, then make the next cut 3/4 to 1″ over, and continues to cut the dices until you reach the other end.
Final step in dicing a potato

Dice An Onion With Ease

Whole onion before dicingThe art of cooking well comes from experience. Sometimes we forget that what seems to us today to be simple to do took a little while to learn how to do right. It occured to us that one of those items is diced onions. We’re all so used to seeing them on salad bars, hamburgers, etc — diced onions surround us everywhere. Yet dicing an onion isn’t one of those skills that is readily apparent.

So we’ve put together a step by step lesson on dicing an onion.

Onion with top and bottom removedFirst, choose an onion of suitable size for your meal. A two inch diameter onion will make about one cup of diced onion. The one in the pictures here is a large 3 1/2″ sweet onion. We’re only going to dice half of it, saving the other half in the refrigerator for tomorrow.

Second, cut off the top and bottom of the onion, and discard the pieces.

Next, make a small slit on the side of the onion, just into the first layer, and remove the skin. Peeled onion revealing slit from peeling skin

Today, we only needed the amount of half of the onion, so we cut the onion in half, and set the flat side down on the cutting board. Having the flat side down makes it so that cutting the onion is a stable action. The onion isn’t going to roll around on us so it decreases the risk of getting accidently cut by the knife.

The next step is to slice the onion across the rings. This is the most important step and it sets up the next step which will utilize the natural ring structure, and the slices we create here to produce the dices of onion. Slicing onion in preparation for diced onions

The final step is to turn the sliced onion one quarter turn, and then to cut the onion across the sliced rings. The result in each slice will be about 1 tbsp of raw diced onion. You can slice finer or thicker to produce diced onions of the thickness you desire. Dicing the onion