Monday, October 10, 2011

6 myths about freezing food.

We are hoping to get an extra freezer in the future, my mom said we could have hers because she hardly ever uses it.  We just have to figure out WHERE we will put it and HOW we will get it here.  It just pains me to miss out on all the great meat sales and frozen veggie deals I see.  I have a few Green Giant Frozen Veggie coupons that are just wasting away in my binder.

When I powered up Yahoo! this morning, this helpful article caught my eye....  It is from the editors of Eating Well Magazine.

Myth: You can freeze all foods.
While it’s true most edibles freeze under the right conditions, there are some that should never see the inside of your freezer. Delicate vegetables like lettuce practically disintegrate when they’re frozen then thawed. Creamy sauces that are frozen separate and “break” or curdle when thawed. Even coffee shouldn’t be stored in the freezer—especially dark roasts. The oils that make them so special break down in freezing temperatures, allowing the coffee to readily absorb off- flavors. The USDA also advises not to freeze canned goods or eggs in their shell. (But you can freeze canned goods if they are removed from their original packaging, as well as eggs as long as they are removed from their shell.)

Myth: You can freeze food indefinitely.
This is true at least from a food-safety standpoint, but quality suffers the longer food is frozen. Here are some guidelines from the USDA as to how long to keep food in your freezer (at 0 degrees F) for optimal freshness:
  • Soups, stews and casseroles: 2-3 months
  • Cooked meat 2-3 months
  • Uncooked steaks, roasts or chops: 4-12 months
  • Cooked poultry: 4 months
  • Uncooked poultry: 9-12 months
Of course how you store the item will lengthen or shorten its freezer life. Air coupled with moisture is the enemy of frozen food (think freezer burn), so if you can keep those two elements out you’ll give your frozen foods a longer life. That’s why I love the vacuum sealer. It sucks air out of the packaging so foods last longer than if they’re just stored in plastic bags or their original packaging.

Myth: Freezing kills bacteria.
Freezing foods renders bacteria inactive but doesn’t actually kill anything. That means if your food went into the freezer contaminated, once thawed it will still harbor the same harmful bacteria. Cooking it to the recommended temperature is the only way to ensure that your food is safe.

Myth: Frozen food has fewer nutrients than fresh.
Actually, the opposite can be true. Frozen fruits and vegetables may be even more healthful than some of the fresh produce sold in supermarkets because they tend to be processed at their peak ripeness, a time when, as a general rule, they are most nutrient-packed. If you’re worried about nutrient loss, eat your frozen fruits and veggies soon after purchase: over many months, nutrients in frozen vegetables do inevitably degrade. Finally, steam or microwave rather than boil your produce to minimize the loss of water-soluble vitamins.

Myth: Once thawed, food cannot be refrozen without cooking it first.
You can freeze and refreeze to your heart’s content as long as the food has not been left outside the fridge for more than 2 hours (or 1 hour in 90-degree heat). One point to be aware of is that refreezing anything uncooked, especially meat, will degrade the quality due to the loss of moisture in the thawing process. So although it is technically safe to eat, from a culinary standpoint, it’s best to avoid refreezing if at all possible.

Myth: You can store frozen food long-term anywhere in your freezer or anywhere that’s cold.
The door of the freezer is a handy place to store frozen items, but not necessarily the best place for long-term storage. The temperature near and on the door fluctuates every time the door is opened. Although the food may remain frozen, the freezing process could be slowed, opening up the possibility for larger ice crystals to form inside the food and destroy its integrity. To prevent this, store frozen foods toward the back of the freezer where a constant 0 degrees F is more likely to be achieved and use goods stored near the front or on the door sooner. And if the power goes out? Don’t open the freezer door! According to the USDA, a full freezer should remain frozen for 2 days. And if you’re tempted to store your freezer overflow in a snowbank—don’t. Even if the temperature is very cold, the sun can still heat up your frozen foods to dangerously warm temperatures. This is still an excellent way to store beer, though. So keep doing that.

Happy Homemaking,

Tiffany

Friday, October 7, 2011

Speed Demon Cleaning with Right@Home

Speed-demon cleaning

I found this helpful article at S.E. Johnson's website mailto:http://www.rightathome.com/Cleaning/Articles/Pages/Speeddemoncleaning.aspx.  This is a great site for tips and tricks around the home such as cleaning, decorating, and money saving tips....and let's not forget COUPONS!!!!  Lots of great cleaning product coupons, Glade, Scrubbing Bubbles, Drano, etc.  I hope you check it out!!!!

The following are tips to help you get thru some tough cleaning chores in record time....

Get your groove on.
 
Gear up music that feels good to you and work to a rhythm—you'll clean faster and stay more focused. Before you start, program your MP3 player or stack up your favorite energizing CDs. And don't hesitate to take a dance break and let loose. You're sure to keep your energy high!

Find Your Cleaning Groove

Here are my favorite songs for various household tasks.

"Light My Fire" (kitchen)
"It's My Life" (living room)
"(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" (bathroom)
"Don't Leave Me This Way" (decluttering)
"Rich Girl" "(closets)
"Dancing on the Ceiling" (dusting)
"Get On Up, Get On Down" (mopping)
"I Walk the Line" (laundry)
"Little Red Corvette" (car)
"You Are My Sunshine" (windows)
"Ain't No Mountain High Enough" (any hard task)
"It's Raining Men" (rainy days)

Arm yourself in advance.

 Precollect your arsenal of cleaning products, paper towels, gloves, and, if you suffer from dust allergies, a face mask.

Dust first, vacuum last.

 Otherwise, you'll have to vacuum all over again when the dust from your dusting falls to the floor.

Clean from top to bottom.

 It's an old-school rule but it works. This technique forces you to look at your ceilings, door and window frames, and high corners—areas often overlooked in cleaning. Simply put, dirt does not fall up, it falls down as you clean. So, for example, start at the top of your refrigerator door and clean down.

Schedule an hour and stick to it.

Get as much done in that hour as you can. Then take a break (my favorite treat here) and start again.
 

 
 
Use multitasking products.
 
You won't believe the time you will save with products that tackle multiple surfaces. Pledge® Multi Surface Spray or Wipes can be used on wood, glass, stainless steel, granite and electronic appliances. Windex® Multi-Surface Antibacterial easily cleans many rooms—from kitchen to bathroom—including windows, mirrors, exterior surfaces of appliances, countertops and more.

 

Clean all bathrooms at the same time.

 You'll save time and effort! Scrubbing Bubbles® Fresh Brush® 2-in-1 Toilet Cleaning System is so easy to use and even has a disposable pad you toss in the trash. Be sure to use a new one for each toliet.

Use the strongest product for the hardest jobs.

 For instance, I use Antibacterial fantastik® All Purpose Heavy Duty Cleaner whenever I cook—to wipe the tough grease and grime from my stove top, kitchen counters, microwave, and refrigerator. It kills 99.9 percent of bacteria as it cleans and even leaves a fresh scent!

Don't clean what's not dirty.

 Some of us (you, too?) obsess over the same clean counter while the rest of the house is just begging for help. So stay awake to your unconscious habits! For instance, don't clean the oven racks if they aren't soiled.

Leave the sink for (almost) last.

 Ever notice how everything gets dumped into the sink while you're cleaning the rest of the room? So why clean it first? Whether you're in the kitchen or bathroom, wait until you're finished mopping the floor to give your sinks a deep clean. And remember to leave yourself a little path to the door. Mop that final swath of floor last!
 
Happy Homemaking,
 
Tiffany