Oct 3, 2015

Posted by | Comments Off on Saving Quality of Your Food With The Help of Foodsaver Vacuum Sealer

Saving Quality of Your Food With The Help of Foodsaver Vacuum Sealer

You can keep many appliances for your home that helps to save your food from bacteria.  The best way to store your food is to use food saver vacuum sealers for your home. Vacuum sealer reviews are available on internet that can help you to get the good vacuum sealer for your home that can provide you help. Vacuum sealer reviews are very much helpful in getting the right type of vacuum sealer that can easily be used for your home. You can use such vacuum sealers without having any fear that your food will be damaged or destroyed. You can easily use vacuum sealers that help to let you stay in your range and get the best quality result.

If you throw all your food items in dustbin just because it has got rotten, so now you can save your food with the help of foodsaver vacuum sealers. This appliance is made to help everyone to save their food with a sealing of vacuum at their place that helps to give a better life. When we talk about the bestselling brand nowadays, food saver is one of them.

  • Many advantages that we come across related to food saver is that it is very easy to handle and can be used easily. It is versatile. It helps to save time and keeps the product same as it was. It helps to store the food properly. Some of the food saver vacuum sealers are user friendly and is just very simple to handle. The steps involved are that, first it needs to be sealed.
  • After sealing add the food you wish to save in that plastic bag. And then keep the end which is open into the machine and just check the result it produces. It helps in sealing of the bag by just touching a button and helps air to let out only. Food savers basically helps to remove oxygen from the food and helps bacteria and moulds to stay away from the food items and keeps the food fresh.

Main advantage of food saver is that you can buy things in bulk and can save in the food saver vacuum sealers so that it helps to save your time.try different foodsavers for your home.  You can also prepare food items and store them in such food savers. Foodsaver 4840 is also among the best food saver vacuum sealer that helps to seal food and avoid any moist or damage occurring to the food. Fewer disadvantages are seen for the food saver and its products. The main con is that noticed by many users that it removes bag which is extra past the point of sealing.

Many different accessories are also present. These accessories include different bags of food saver, canisters, sealers for jar, and containers for the produce savers.

This food saver is the best choice for those people who are trying since ages to save their food but get failed every time. Here it is the best way to keep your food away from bacteria and moulds.

How to save money by purchasing rolls of vacuum sealers?

It has been seen that today vacuum sealers are available everywhere and is used by people at their homes. These vacuum sealers are unique when it comes for storage and for its packing. It helps to protect food as well as other things. It helps to keep yourself protected that includes food, clothing and several other accessories. These bags are highly appreciated by users and they recommend such bags for all. If you wish to save money so you can buy different vacuum sealer rolls that helps you to save money instead of buying individual sizing bags.

Purchasing in bulk

The best way to buy many of them at the same time, this helps to save your money and with this you can use similar rolls and bags for longer duration. Some plastic bags also offer discounts on purchasing in bulk, this can also help you to save your money. It does not need any accessories to preserve the sheets you buy that you wish to use later.

Adding money to your rolls

Basically the quality of the bags sealed entirely depends upon the advanced sealing machine that helps to protect the quality and quantity of the products that are used for storing in these bags. Try to get the best sealing bags for your use. Only quality bags will be helpful and helps to give proper packing whenever you need.

Purchasing approved plastic bags for use

You can use these rolls with the help of machine for sealing that can be of your own. Make sure that the bag you purchased is agreed by the FDA. Such approved plastics will help you to save your time as well as your money.

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Aug 14, 2015

Posted by | Comments Off on Be a Super-Safe Sitter

Be a Super-Safe Sitter

You’ve decided to earn extra money baby-sitting, and you think it will be easy. How about viewing it as taking responsibility for another human being?

Since accidents are the greatest cause of injury and death in infants and children, you have a little planning to do before you assume this new responsibility.


Be sure the parents give you full instructions, including:

  • Where the parents can be reached
  • Emergency numbers for the fire department, police, Poison Control Center, doctor, hospital, and a neighbor or relative
  • The location of all exits from the home in case of fire and the locations of fire extinguishers and smoke alarms
  • Instructions on the food and any medication for the child
  • The location of a first aid kit, flashlight, blankets, and syrup of ipecac in case of poisoning
  • Restricted play areas such as bathroom, garage, basement, or kitchen because of hazards found in these areas
  • Bedtimes, favorite stories, and TV regulations


In case of fire, you should get the children out of the house immediately without stopping to dress them, make a phone call, or gather items. Go to the nearest neighbor and call the fire department from there as well as the parents. (It helps if your list of phone numbers is portable.


Never leave the children alone, even for a minute to answer the phone. In addition, do not become distracted by phone calls, TV, or visitors and allow the children to be alone. Remain awake at all times.


Do not open the door to strangers. If you hear a sound you cannot identify, call neighbors or police.


Be sure to watch the child and the surroundings; this includes weather conditions, hazards, other children, strangers.


If possible, become trained in first aid and CPR before beginning a baby-sitting career. There are even baby-sitting courses you can take that offer appropriate training. These courses also may help improve your chances of being selected as a family’s baby-sitter.

Beyond the routine, here are some special instructions and concerns related to the age of the child (children) in your care.

Infants up to 6 months

Infants are completely helpless and need close attention. Even when they’re sleeping they should be checked at least every half hour. Be sure the face is free of covers; do not give infants a pillow. When handling an infant, it is wise to remove all jewelry and place it out of reach, along with any other hazardous items that could wind up in the child’s mouth.

When you pick up an infant, support the head. Do not leave an infant on a surface from which it could fall. Place the baby in the crib any time you must leave the room. Do not prop a bottle up to the baby’s mouth to feed him or her; the baby could choke. To check a baby’s temperature, feel the arms and legs or body rather than the naturally cooler hands. Be sure no toys have detachable parts that could find their way into the baby’s mouth.

Babies 6 to 12 months

At this age, babies become more mobile. They can roll over, push themselves backwards and forwards, and may sit up or crawl; some even walk. This increases your responsibility because they want to get into everything they see. Be aware of new hazards such as electrical cords, matches, lighters, electrical outlets, poisons such as cleaners in low cabinets. Any time the baby is out of the crib, highchair, or playpen, he or she will require constant attention.

Children 12 to 24 months

Now these tykes are really on the move. They can climb, poke, probe, even open and close things. Anything in sight can be attractive to them. If there are safety gates at the top of stairs, be sure they’re closed. All electrical outlets are a potential danger unless they have safety caps. Children this age begin climbing, and are very susceptible to falls. They also can reach and pull things off surfaces, like appliance cords, tablecloths, and dishes. Watch out for plastic bags that can smother children. Low shelves also are fair game and should not contain anything dangerous or breakable.

Children Ages 2 and 3

Children this age are particularly adventurous and independent. Expect them to be able to open doors (even locked ones), run into the street, take things apart, work lighters and even light matches, climb up to and out of windows, or fall down stairs. You’ll need to be constantly with these children. They can dart into the street in a flash, so hold hands near traffic.

Children Ages 4 to 7

At this age children gain mobility by riding tricycles and wagons, so watch out on hills. They may be able to roll faster than you can run. They also are good climbers, and often families have swing sets in the yard for this purpose. But be sure to watch closely. The good news is that by this age, children can understand the meaning of “no,” pick up their toys, color and draw, and love to be read to. The kitchen with its stove, electrical appliances, knives and utensils, household cleansers, and insecticides is still a danger zone.

Even the bedroom can be risky if it contains cosmetics, sewing kits, scissors, pills, or pins. The bathroom is especially dangerous to 4- and 5-year-olds. Children can lock themselves in, so remove the key or tape the lock.

Outdoors, be cautious about wading pools and even buckets of water. Drowning can occur in as little as 6 inches of water. Supervise all play areas.

In case you are totally freaked out by all these hazards, baby-sitting is fun if you think and plan ahead. You can build a trusting relationship with a child who looks forward to your time together, and earn some extra cash.

The more you know about safety and accident prevention, the better and more confident you will be at the job. Baby-sitting is a big responsibility. Be prepared to handle the what ifs.

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Jul 25, 2015

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Efficacies of the Best Vacuum Sealer

A vacuum sealer can perform many useful tasks for you. Because of the vacuum sealers now you can buy the food in bigger quantities and save them for future use without any difficulty. It is a great way to save your both cash and time. Vacuum sealers are greatly helpful as they eliminate air particles from the food packages which keep the food fresh. But remember a vacuum sealer can provide you all of its benefits only when it is of best quality otherwise there is no use of this machine, as food must be stored perfectly to preserve it from microorganisms for longer.

Efficacies of the Best Vacuum Sealer

Countless Benefits of the Best Vacuum Sealer

Vacuum sealers can provide you countless everyday benefits. They help decrease the spoilage of food daily. It keeps the food wrapped up with an airtight packaging. Freezing food in airtight packaging will sustain the quality of food as the oxygen would have been eliminated completely.

Following are some bold benefits of the Best Vacuum Sealers.

  1. Time Saving: For any feast like Christmas and Easter, you can make all the foodstuffs prepared in advance so that whenever the time comes you will just have to reheat it and it will be ready to eat.
  2. No Harmful Issues: Making the food bag airtight and removing oxygen from it completely means, no presence of any type of fungi, mold, yeast, corrosion or any other bacterial germs.
  3. Cost Saving: When you have a vacuum sealer at home, you can easily preserve any leftovers quickly to use them in future, ultimately the amount of food being thrown away will decrease and you can save a real cost.

Now, let me clear a common misconception in people regarding vacuum sealer that these machines use heating procedure for sealing the bag, remember they do not! But when packaging the food and vacuum sealing it everything should be done very carefully. Hygiene should also be takes care of as before sealing any unhygienic process can make all your efforts ended in smoke. As mentioned in above points these machines are very useful but if you use it in a healthy method.

Buying the Best Vacuum Sealer

There are numerous benefits of vacuum sealer but nowadays because of high pricing it has become quite difficult to find the highest quality vacuum sealer in your budget. In order to save money and time it is best to first check and get info about everything that is necessary in a best vacuum sealer. The biggest dilemma of this regard is that there are many types and brands of vacuum sealers in the market to choose from. This is why many buyers get confused while choosing the best one for their home use.

lava vacuum sealerEvery vacuum sealer has its some unique qualities which you have to check and choose according to your needs. Search through internet or go to VacuumSealerExpert to read useful vacuum sealer reviews and comprehend the difference between a normal vacuum sealer and a best vacuum sealer. Following points will help you find the vacuum sealer that worth its price.

It is always helpful to read some top Vacuum Sealers reviews to know what latest technology in market is. You can also search for the best and low cost vacuum sealers, which can save you a lot of bucks. After picking a reliable and popular brand, search for their best and heavy duty material. And after doing that you can go to buying step and enjoy the fresh food packed by vacuum sealers forever.

Many people think that Size of a vacuum sealer doesn’t matter but believe me it does. Vacuum sealers are not only used in homes, they are also helpful when you go on camping and picnics, and for that they have to be of portable size. So, it is suggested to buy the vacuum sealer of portable size and structure.

If you want to find the most effective vacuum sealer in low price then you should look at the different brand vacuum sealer reviews. It will help you to understand better what you are going to buy and which feature costs what.

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Sep 25, 2015

Posted by | Comments Off on Compressing Issues

Compressing Issues

It seems that air compression is often left to the back of the queue when it comes to capital investment. After all, it doesn’t actually produce more product. The benefits are somewhat intangible.

So it might seem a strange time, with the country firmly in the grip of recession, to bring a new compressor to the market, especially when it retails at around 1.8 times the price of many of its competitors. But that is exactly what Atlas Copco has done with the release of its ZTI range (enter 450 on enquiry card).

In what is claimed as a European first, the units, with capacities ranging from 38 to 831/s, offer oil-free compressed air using rotary compressor technology.

Compressed air is a requisite of many industries and 17 000 potential users for this capacity range have been identified. The market comes principally from food, drink and tobacco businesses, for which compressed air must be clean as it contacts the products. But there are also sizeable markets within the chemical and power generating industries.

These users have traditionally coped with their need for oil-free air by following one of two routes. Either using a rotary compressor with an oil retention filter to remove the oil, or using an oil-free piston compressor. Both roads lead to trouble.

Rotary compressors generally need oil to lubricate the compression elements and to dissipate the heat produced by the rotating elements in the single compression stage. Small filters are then used to extract oil from the air. During operation, the oil starts to block the filter. To compensate, the compressor has to work harder to get the air through the filter, leading to higher electricity costs (often adding six per cent to energy bills). The oil — a foul mixture containing emulsified oil and water — then has to be dumped and often finds its way into open drains. Up to 180 pints of oil can be used each year. The ability of the filter to retain the oil also reduces as temperatures increase.

As a rule, oil-free piston compressors are enormous beasts. The noise produced (often over 90dB) makes compressor houses imperative. With so many moving parts, service costs can soar to over 4000 pounds per year.

Positive Attitudes

The Atlas units use the principle of positive displacement compression. They create a volume then change the volume to create pressure.

Air enters the compression chamber and one of two interlocking rotors seals off the outlet ports. The rotors turn and the volume is reduced. The pressure increases until the compression level is reached when the air is released.

The teeth rotate at a relatively slow 6000 to 9000 rpm. The novel aspect is that the teeth make no contact with each other or with the wall of the compression chamber. A Teflon coating on the teeth and on the inside of the chamber ensures that, at operating temperature, the tolerances are extremely tight, but still there is no contact. This greatly reduces heat produced in the chamber and removes the need for lubrication.

Compression is performed in two stages. The low pressure section increases air pressure to 3bar while raising the temperature to around 190 [degrees] C. The heat is then all but removed in an air cooler, before the second compression stage fulfills the unit’s 8bar rating.

And by way of launching the new range, Atlas Copco is embarking on a quest — to seek out the oldest operational stationary air compressor in Great Britain within the capacity range of the ZTI. If you are the lucky, or embarrassed, owner of the sought after antique then, in good soap powder commercial style, you will be offered a swap, new for old — completely free of charge. The company does not expect the winner to want its old unit back.

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Sep 12, 2015

Posted by | Comments Off on Bauer Utilus-10g Portable Compressor

Bauer Utilus-10g Portable Compressor

Become a Go Anywhere Diver with this Portable Powerhouse

Extended scuba explorations while camping or boating in a remote area are rather difficult without a portable air source. If you want the freedom to dive as much as you desire wherever you may be, then you would do well to look into the Bauer Utilus-10G. This compact, ultra reliable compressor can fill a tank with pure air in less than 20 minutes, anywhere. Unlimited air and complete independence is no problem with this personal, portable powerhouse.

Portability And Usability

The Utilus-10G is 30 inches long, 14 inches wide and 20 inches tall. It weighs only 97 pounds fully assembled and can be separated into two pads, each with its own handle, for ease of carrying and storage. Its compact size makes it very travel friendly. It fits nicely into most car trunks or tucks tidily away into an out of the way place on a boat.

The Utilus-10G pumps 4.3 cubic feet per minute, filling an 80 cubic foot tank from 500 to 3,000 psi in a mere 19 minutes.

For convenient tank positioning, there is a six foot long, 3/16 inch, 5,000 psi rated Parflex high pressure filler hose with a chrome plated, forged brass yoke rated to 4,000 psi (the intermediary line valve is rated to 6,000 psi for extra safety). To monitor airfills, there is a large faced 5,000 psi pressure gauge. But, if you are in the middle of a tall tale or are otherwise distracted during the airfill, all three compressor stages are protected by overpressure relief valves (first stage: 116 psi; second stage: 1,150 psi; third stage: 3,200 psi) to prevent accident or damage. In fact, this compressor features a number of failsafes and safety valves, described in detail in the manual. Conversely, there is a pressure maintaining valve that automatically closes an outlet in order to prevent pressure inside the air filter from dropping below 2,000 psi. This ensures the filter will remain contaminant and moisture free.

Air Filtration System

Since an air compressor is an underwater life support system, the tolerance for deviation in air quality is virtually nil. Thus, the filtration system has to work perfectly, with a dependability you don’t have to worry about.

With the Utilus 10-G, air filtration begins with a removable telescopic intake shaft. This four piece segmented PVC tube raises the air intake to nearly three feet above the engine exhaust. Air then passes through the moisture removal system. There are three condensation separator valves, two at the filter and one intermediate valve between the stages. The three drain valves are simple compression spring twist knobs – twist to drain condensate, let go and they close themselves. For the final purification step air is cooled to 18 to 27 [degrees] F above ambient then sent along to the patented Triplex filtration system. In simple terms, this system consists of a separator and cartridge chamber. The separator removes any liquid oil and water particles and the Triplex long-life filter cartridge removes any residual oil and water vapor. All that is left for your tank (and lungs) is pure, fresh, odorless air every time.

Honda Gas Engine

There is a good reason Bauer has chosen a Honda engine as the powerplant for the Utilus-10G – Honda manufactures some seriously reliable engines and this dynamo is no exception. The simple and smooth mechanics make this powerplant exceptionally easy to use. With the well thought out, clearly illustrated manual, even the most mechanically disinclined will find operating the choke, fuel levers and rotary on/off switch a breeze. The engine automatically shuts down if the oil level gets too low and there is a spark arrestor for added safety. The fuel tank capacity is three-quarters of a gallon, which allows nearly three hours of continual operation (approximately nine tanks of air).

The compressor we had for review had a five horsepower, four cylinder engine with the recoil (pull cord) starter. If you prefer, a diesel engine or an electric (single phase 230 volt/60Hz or three phase 230 volt/460Hz) engine is available. The engineers at Bauer have made it particularly simple to swap the gas engine for an electric motor drive. It’s just a matter of twisting off a few thumbscrews, removing the V-belt guard, rocking the engine forward on the hinged motor plate, detaching the V-belt from the motor pulley, then withdrawing the gas engine and replacing it with the electric motor drive. The setup is completely modular and each type of engine fits into the mounting frame the same way. The engine and compressor both have handles and can be easily removed from the noncorrodible aluminum frame and stored separately for space conscious travel.

For internal dependability, the Utilus-10 uses only approved compressor oil that is specially formulated for its non-carbonizing effects, anti-corrosive properties, minimum emulsification of condensation in the crankcase and toxilogical and physiological suitability.

The telescopic intake shaft breaks into four pieces and is stored in special slots behind the V-belt cover. The bottom of the frame also has three rubber vibration dampening cushions.

If you don’t want to limit your dive possibilities, a portable, high pressure air compressor offers a tremendous amount of freedom and flexibility. The Bauer Utilus-10 has a outstanding reputation for reliability and quality and, with a choice of power-plants, the convenience of its modular set-up and the patented Triplex filtration system, offers a superior set of features.

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Jul 22, 2015

Posted by | Comments Off on Doorstops for dinner: don’t hold winter squash’s size and decorative qualities against it (part 3)

Doorstops for dinner: don’t hold winter squash’s size and decorative qualities against it (part 3)

IT’S MORE interesting to play off the sweetness of squash than to add to it, as brown sugar and maple syrup do. Something peppery is a good start, whether it be a dash of cumin on baked squash halves or the hot chili peppers the Thais and Burmese use in winter-squash dishes.

Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant, by the Moosewood Collective, gives examples of both approaches: a very easy Autumn Gold Squash Soup, with sweet spices and tomato, apple, and orange juices; and a Burmese-inspired winter-squash dish with garlic, ginger root, hot green chili, shrimp paste, and cilantro. Italians also make dishes that are both sweet and hot.


A famous pasta filling in the Italian regions of Lombardy and Emilia is pumpkin mixed with crushed amaretti cookies and mostarda, a sweet-and-hot pickled mixture of fruits which has a strong flavor of mustard seed. Paula Wolfert, the author of The Cooking of South-West France, found in that region many pumpkin soups and gratins, some with sweet red peppers or cheese. (Winter squash other than pumpkins barely exist in Italy and France, and even pumpkins are seldom used elsewhere in these regions.) Balsamic vinegar is made in the same region of Italy where pumpkin is popular, and although Italians seldom serve them together, the combination is very good: try cooking squash halves or chunks with a teaspoon or so of balsamic vinegar, and olive oil if you like, instead of maple syrup.

The Italians and the French both make a thick soup in which chunks of peeled pumpkin are boiled with garlic and herbs. Vinicio Paoli, of the Ristorante Toscano, in Boston, gave me this recipe: for two pounds of winter squash, use three or four branches of rosemary or thyme and two cloves of garlic, smashed and peeled. Boil with just a half cup of water about a half hour, until the squash softens. Fish out the garlic and herb stalks, put the squash through a food mill or blend it in a food processor, and season with salt and pepper. The resulting puree is too thick to be considered a normal soup; serve it over croutons or toasted bread for a homey supper (the original meaning of soup and supper is “a thick broth served over bread“).

  • The best soup I made both exploited the sweetness of squash and added something that contrasted with it. Slightly Smoky Squash Soup (a name I like), from Leslie Land’s The Modern Country Cook, adds smoke by having the cook spread six cups of cooked mashed squash on a baking sheet and then run it under a broiler.
  • The squash chars a bit, and the heat causes much of the moisture to evaporate. To make the soup, saute two and a half cups of chopped onions in butter or oil over low heat for fifteen minutes. Add two cloves of garlic minced fine, if you like, and the grated zest of a large lime, and cook for three or four minutes more. Add the broiled squash, a cup of peeled, seeded tomatoes–if you don’t have fresh, open a can–and five cups of beef broth. Land flavors the soup with a tablespoon of soy sauce and two tablespoons of dark sesame oil; you can garnish the soup with dollops of sour cream or plain yogurt.
  • The color of the soup is the brick red of chili, the flavor deep and rich. You’d think the soup had kidney beans in it (they would go very well, in fact), or even ground meat.

The dish that wins converts is in Verdura, a new book by Viana La Place, who with Evan Kleiman wrote the justly popular Cucina Fresca and Pasta Fresca. In several of her recipes La Place pan-fries peeled and sliced squash so that it tastes like sweet home fries. I wondered why the combination of crisp, caramelized outside and sweet, soft inside was familiar until I remembered how eagerly I eat the squash and sweet-potato slices whenever I order tempura. This method produces the same texture with much less fat (and trouble).

Since you have to peel the squash, choose butternut, banana, or hubbard. Cut the squash into slices a quarterinch thick and an inch or two high and wide. You should have at least two cups. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a heavy-bottomed frying pan. If you like, saute several cloves of garlic in the oil just until they begin to color, and then take them out. When the oil is hot, add enough pieces of squash to not quite cover the pan in one layer; you’ll probably have to fry two batches.

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Jul 21, 2015

Posted by | Comments Off on Doorstops for dinner: don’t hold winter squash’s size and decorative qualities against it (part 2)

Doorstops for dinner: don’t hold winter squash’s size and decorative qualities against it (part 2)

I DIVIDE SQUASH into two categories: the ones that can be easily peeled before cooking and the ones that can’t. (The rind is edible, but it’s tough, and eating too much of it can cause a stomach ache.) In the first category are butternut, hubbard, and banana. All three have bright orange flesh and a compact, firm texture, and they are interchangeable. Butternut is cudgel-shaped; hubbard has a knobby orange skin and a shape like a basketball (frequently a size, too) with a snub-nose top; banana looks like a torpedo, and is named for its shape, not its taste.

I received my squash samples from Frieda’s Finest, a California produce marketer that has increased American awareness of new and better varieties of many fruits and vegetables. You can tell a Frieda’s product by the bright purple label, which includes cooking instructions for unfamiliar foods. I asked the Frieda’s people to be sure to send me banana squash, because cookbooks by West Coast writers specify it, and it is almost unknown on the East Coast. When I opened the box from Frieda’s, I thought they had sent me a 1950s lamp base. It was iridescent yellow and salmon, and huge, but Californians told me that it was a small specimen. I see why banana squash is sold almost exclusively in chunks. So is hubbard squash, which was once as common as butternut and whose flavor I prefer, mostly because there’s more of it. These chunks are often conveniently peeled, but once any of the flesh has been exposed, squash must be stored refrigerated, and lasts only a few days.

Of the varieties I tried that were unfamiliar to me, I’ll seek out three in the future: buttercup, sweet dumpling, and golden nugget. These all fall into the second category–you need to cook them with the skin on and then scoop out the flesh or lift off the peel. You have to tackle the skin to open any squash, whether or not you intend to peel it, and you never know whether you’ll meet with resistance or not. It’s best to pierce the skin with the tip of a heavy knife, and then cut around the equator. Scoop out the seeds with a sturdy spoon, and put the pieces flesh side down on the cooking dish.

Squash seeds, especially small ones, are excellent snacks: Spread out the pulp and seeds on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil, salt or spice them if you like, and toast them in a 325[degrees] oven for fifteen minutes or so, until they start to brown. The seeds will easily break away from the pulp after they are toasted.

I was particularly leery of buttercup, because it is shaped like the most decorative and improbable winter squash–Turk’s turban, a flattened globe crowned by three humps, usually in brilliant oranges, reds, and yellows–to which it is in fact a close relative. (I tried cooking a Turk’s turban, and it was bland and watery, confirming all my suspicions about too-pretty vegetables. It belongs in an autumn cornucopia.) Buttercup is not so spectacularly colored–the skin is usually a drab green. Its cooked flesh is the same ocher color as acorn’s, and the flavor struck me as more acorn than acorn’s: spicy and rich, with a pleasantly smooth texture. The texture can be watery if cooked with liquid, so cook it dry and uncovered.

Sweet dumpling, too, is similar to acorn in the color and flavor of its flesh, but sweeter and spicier. And like acorn it is small enough to divide easily into serving portions (buttercups are usually over a pound) and it can be stuffed. Because the cavity is irregularly shaped, it should be divided top to bottom rather than across the middle. I didn’t find much difference in cooking it dry or with water. Buttercup, acorn, and sweet dumpling are all moist and flavorful enough to need no seasoning when served as a vegetable. Buttercup seems the overall best for flavor and texture, and I’m told that it’s increasingly available. Several new books flag kabocha, a group of Japanese cultivars of winter squash, as being among the sweetest and most flavorful. Many varieties of winter squash once common in the United States have fallen out of use, and today the innovators are the Japanese, who, like many other Asians, have long prized winter squash. I found kabocha comparable to buttercup–the same size or bigger, with a sweet but less spicy flavor.

Golden nugget looks like a thinskinned pumpkin, reliably spherical but not as deeply ridged. Its flesh remains a vivid orange when cooked, and the dry and floury texture (cook it covered, in a shallow layer of water) makes it suitable for mashing or replacing the potato in potato gnocchi. Golden nugget looks and tastes the way pumpkin, which is usually grouped with winter squash, should. (All winter squash and pumpkins are gourds and are in the same family as cucumbers and melons; pumpkin is more closely related to summer squash than summer squash is to winter squash.) I can’t warm up to pumpkin. The behemoths that make jack-o’-lanterns any child can be proud of are good mostly just for that (the seeds are good toasted, though). After years of trying “sugar pumpkins,” which are much smaller than jack-o’-lanterns, and now after tasting the new Jack-BeLittle mini-pumpkin, I’ll still take a squash over a pumpkin in any recipe calling for pumpkin.

Pumpkins other than mini-pumpkins have exceptionally thick rinds, and are so difficult to cut up that they can spoil anyone on winter squash of any kind. And their flavor payoff is small. For years I peeled, baked, and pureed sugar pumpkins for Thanksgiving pumpkin pies, until I realized not only that no one could tell the difference but also that canned pumpkin puree often had more taste. In any case, I was routinely bested by my stepmother’s famous squash pie. Squash does make a better pie, and better soup and stew, too. Cooks who adapt French or Italian recipes calling for pumpkin nearly always use butternut or some such winter squash instead. The most defensible culinary use I can think of for a pumpkin is as an arresting tureen.

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Jul 18, 2015

Posted by | Comments Off on Doorstops for dinner: don’t hold winter squash’s size and decorative qualities against it (part 1)

Doorstops for dinner: don’t hold winter squash’s size and decorative qualities against it (part 1)

From late Summer through Thanksgiving, I live at the farmers’ market. This is only a slight exaggeration. My office is fortunately situated very near a twice-weekly farmers’ market, and I regularly buy more than I can carry comfortably. I’ve almost never bought winter squash, though, and not just because it’s heavy. I’m scared of it. It’s too pretty, for one thing. The artful streaking of gold on green makes me think more of a marbleized papier-mache ornament for a fall centerpiece than of something to eat. Not only too decorative to be plausibly edible, winter squash looks impenetrable. Is a knife really sufficient to break into one? Or do you need a hammer, as for a coconut? And will it ever cook through?

Summer Squash

Summer squash, in contrast, is manageable. We all know to look for small zucchini, and crookneck squash with bright skins. They’re easy to slice. Because zucchini are the plague of gardeners (and their neighbors), inventive and desperate cooks have come up with many ways to prepare them. No dish like ratatouille comes to mind for winter squash, though. Few repertoires extend beyond baked halves of acorn squash filled with butter and brown sugar or maple syrup.

Winter Squash

  • If I’m ever bold enough to buy a winter squash, it’s usually a butternut, which along with the acorn is among the most popular kinds of winter squash in the Northeast. It looks built for business: the shape is smooth and regular, and the skin thin enough to trim off without resorting to carpentry, although peeling one can be time-consuming.
  • Usually, though, it languishes underneath a counter until, looking for a seldom-used utensil, I happen upon it months later. It seems fine, surprisingly intact. But I wonder if it could be edible after so long, and I’m put off by the size–do I really need that much squash? Soon enough the farmers’ market starts again.

I recently decided to overcome my fear born of ignorance, and I tackled winter squash of all kinds, cooking my way through three large crates of them. I found them much more pliable than I had supposed. They’re so simple to cook that I was ashamed of my years of hesitation. In learning more about them, I adjusted m the idea that winter squash don’t follow the rules that apply to most vegetables. Smaller ones aren’t necessarily better tasting. They can be any size and still be richly flavored, if they have not received too much water as they ripen, which tends to weaken their flavor. And they really do keep for months. Winter squash was to early New Englanders what cabbage is to much of the world-the only fresh vegetable in winter. Its thick skin protects the flesh from air, and as long as it has no soft or shiny patches, it should be sound. Its flavor suffers with refrigeration; keep squash in a cellar or a cool part of the kitchen.

Even though winter squash behaves like a root vegetable-many varieties taste like sweet potatoes and yams; squash is very good mashed or pureed, especially in combination with roots like potatoes, turnips, and celery root; and it thickens soups and sauces–it is in fact a fruit, and less dense than tubers in both calories and nutrients. There are 50 to 60 calories in a half cup of mashed squash, the serving size most recipes assume. Although squash is lower in protein and minerals than potatoes, it is a significant source of vitamin A, which helps to retain night vision and also to build skin, bones, and teeth.

Unlike vitamin C, vitamin A is not destroyed by heat. The amount of vitamin A in some squash even increases after the picking and while the squash sits in the cellar. Winter squash is also high in fiber–it is comparable to apples, an often-recommended source of fiber–and in complex carbohydrates, so it is filling while being low in calories, and a good source of energy.

I made several happy discoveries in my experiments. The most significant for me is that it is just as good cooked in a microwave oven as in a conventional oven. I don’t like potatoes cooked in a microwave oven, and I assumed that squash, too, would have a better flavor when cooked in a conventional oven. I didn’t realize how different a squash is from a potato. I tried eleven kinds of winter squash in both kinds of ovens, both covered, with a shallow layer of water in the bottom of the pan, and uncovered, without water. I found that for certain kinds of squash the important variable was water. The texture and flavor differed little between the two ovens, and in some cases were better in the microwave.

  • If you cook squash uncovered in a conventional oven, the skin glistens as if oiled, which it doesn’t in a microwave; but unless you plan to serve the squash in its skin and appearance counts, a conventional oven just wastes time.
  • A pound of squash, covered or uncovered, usually takes ten minutes in a microwave oven; the same amount takes at least a half hour in a conventional oven, and usually forty-five minutes to an hour. (You do have to allow more time for more squash in a microwave oven, whereas any amount will take the same time in a conventional oven, but you can decrease the time by cutting the squash into small chunks.)
  • Steaming also usually takes more time than it’s worth. Boiling is quick but seems to weaken the flavor and waterlog the squash. One other cooking method is so good and so unexpected that I’ll save it for last.

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Jul 16, 2015

Posted by | Comments Off on Lite is in-irradiation’s next

Lite is in-irradiation’s next

The foods we eat and the wines we drink are going to be different in the near future, my informants tell me. As to wine, light-or, in its trendy spelling, “lite”–is in, meaning wines that are not as high in alcoholic content as the great majority of American, and especially California, wines, which normally run around 12 to 14 per cent by volume.

  • Part of what has happened is that American winemakers and wine writers have finally discovered that wine goes with food and in fact is food, rather than an esoteric beverage to be sipped with awe. At the same time, strong waters, even Scotch and vodka, are no longer as popular as they used to be (“Brown goods are in the dumps,” a doleful liquor whosesaler told me today; incidentally, what ever became of the all-American rye whiskey?).
  • Hence the noticeable turning toward drinks with a 10 to 11 per cent alcoholic content. German wines, low in alcohol (usually hovering around 8 to 10 per cent), are becoming increasingly popular, and California and other American winemakers are zeroing in. Among the new wines, I have found the “soft” Doman San Martin California Chenin Blanc (1984), the Johannisberg Riesling, and the White Zinfandel, all with around 8 per cent alcohol by volume, very pleasing and potable; not great wines but nice wines, wines that don’t zonk you as you sip them but are still honest-to-goodness wine.

Another new twist is provided by Caraffa d’Oro wines, imported from Italy by Monsieur Henry Wines Ltd. This is another offspring of Pepsico, which also gave us Stolichnaya vodka. (Although Stolichnaya is Russian, which is unfortunate, I still think it is the best vodka available in this country; but then, I am not a great spirits drinker.) Both the white Trebbiano and the red Sangiovese Caraffa d’Oro wines are simple, nice, and undistinguished–the most interesting thing about them being the packaging.

Caraffa d’Oro wines come, not in traditional bottles, but in one-liter cartons. Packaged wines are more compact and easier to store and carry than bottled wines. Above all, they are much cheaper, costing about 30 to 50 per cent less than the bottled stuff, which is as it should be for these everyday, every-meal wines.

Interestingly, the packaging, called Tetrasac Aseptic Packaging, was invented in Sweden, though other packaged and canned wines have been floating around Europe for some time. Tetrasac consists of a rectangular package measuring 6 1/2 by 3 3/4 by 2 1/2 inches and made of a six-layer laminate of polyethylene, paper, and aluminum foil. I think it the best of its kind that I have seen, including in Europe, where packaged wines are more popular than they are here. Italians are used to this way of packaging liquids, especially sterilized milk and cream, which does not have to be refrigerated as our fresh milk does. I am told–and I believe it–that regular wine drinkers are far more receptive to the packaging of their everyday, inexpensive tipples than most Americans, who consider wine to be a romantic beverage, for occasions.

HAVE YOU ever heard of imitation fish, called surimi, from Japan? I bet many of my readers have already eaten it without knowing it. Actually, imitation isn’t quite the right word: It is fish, though not the fish it seems to be. Inexpensive white fish, like pollack, is cleaned, bleached (I believe), minced, seasoned, and emulsified into a paste, which in turn is frozen into blocks and shaped to resemble whatever fish or seafood you wish to present it as. Simulated crab flakes, scallops, shrimp, lobster, tuna, and fillets have been sold and eaten for the real thing for quite a while. I understand that a surimi hot dog is being considered and that surimi in many other forms looms large in our future.

ANOTHER TYPE of food with a future is the irradiated food that the astronauts eat when in space. Its predecessor, dried food, has long been familiar to mountain climbers and other voyagers who have to carry their food with them. In my mountainclimbing days in Switzerland, I subsisted on dried stews made edible with a little water; what I remember of them is that they sustained life but were repulsive and tasteless-not something you would eat for choice.

Irradiated food was first shown at MIT in 1943, and the army developed the process further during the last two years of the war. Irradiation consists of exposing the food to a set radiation dosage to kill the microorganisms that would otherwise spoil it. That way, meat, fruits, and vegetables can be kept for a long time without refrigeration, and can be easily transported. Pro-irradiationists point out that the food has no preservatives and saves energy costs connected with freezing foods and keeping them frozen–frozen foods being the nearest competitor. Anti-irradiationists claim that treating the foods is dangerous for the workers, and that although there is no radiation, there may be hazardous “radiolytic elements” in the stuff.

  • Suzanne Hamlin has taste-tested some of these foods, and has written about them in the New York Daily News (“Foods of the Future,” June 5). Radiation Technology Inc. of New Jersey, the only company in this country that produces irradiated food for commercial purposes, presented her with an array of little plastic packets of food, each in its own vacuum-sealed pouch.
  • According to Miss Hamlin, the unadorned items, such as steak, cocktail franks, pork loin, sausage, and ham, looked and tasted like food, albeit mess-hall rather than gourmet. But two dolled-up foods–sweet-and-sour pork, and chicken in wine sauce–were poor. To serve, slit open the plastic pouch and eat as is; or else slip the pouch into boiling water or a microwave oven for a short time.

About such phenomena as gourmet food in plastic pouches, more later: You may already have eaten it as some fancy chef’s creation that had been made to your order, and paid for accordingly. I will write about this new gourmet touch when I have eaten some of the products; it has not yet been possible for me to do so, since the chief maker in New York has so far been unable to connect the packaging machine to electrical outlets.

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