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Stacy Fraser's Blog

June 17, 2016 - 9:22am

Fresh berries are the most delicious during the summer, so haul in the bounty! They're one of the most perishable fruits, so it pays to know how to store them.

Related: 21 Easy Summer Berry Dessert Recipes

Remove fresh berries from their container and sort them as soon as you can. Eat any gently bruised ones right away—they're super-ripe and the tastiest. Compost any that show signs of mold.

Skip washing until you're ready to use them. Washed too soon and berries absorb the moisture and start to rot.

Then, decide how long you want to store them, so you can pick where to store them.

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June 17, 2016 - 9:21am

When enjoying meals outdoors, here’s what you need to know to about food safety:

Related: Our Top 50 Recipes for Summer

Keep It Cold

While it’s OK to let picnic foods sit out for a little bit while serving, it’s safer for foods that are meant to be eaten cold—potato salads, coleslaw and even fresh fruit—to be kept cold (40°F or below) to prevent bacterial growth. Instead of letting food sit out on a table, serve it from an ice-filled cooler or from bowls submerged in a deep tray (or small inflatable pool) filled with ice. Cold foods can be held on ice for up to 2 hours; if temps are above 90°F, 1 hour is the limit.

Keep It Hot

Foods like burgers and chicken need to be cooked to a...

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June 17, 2016 - 9:15am

Since both can measure ingredients from as little as 1/4 cup to 1 cup (or more), many people wonder if they really need both types—especially when they have limited space.

Related: Can I Use Wax Paper Instead of Parchment Paper?

Let’s back up a touch and clarify the two types: liquid measures are glass or plastic with a pour spout and graduated measuring marks on the side. They come in 1-, 2-, 4- and even 8-cup sizes. Dry measures look like straight-sided cups with handles and usually come in a set (typically 1/4-, 1/3-, 1/2- and 1-cup sizes).

In our Test Kitchen, we religiously use liquid and dry measures for their intended purpose, depending on what we’re measuring. Anything completely pourable (e.g.,...

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June 17, 2016 - 9:07am

Warm, soapy water plus some elbow grease is technically the only DIY cleaning solution you need to prevent the growth of most illness-causing bacteria on kitchen surfaces. Before and after food preparation, simply scrub counters, sinks and cutting boards with hot, sudsy water for at least 20 seconds, then rinse well. Wipe dry with a clean towel or let air-dry.

Related: 15 Simple Ways To Clean Up Your Kitchen

For added assurance after preparing raw meat or as part of a weekly deep-clean routine, you can sanitize with distilled white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide or a homemade bleach solution. Pour full-strength vinegar or hydrogen peroxide solution into a spray bottle, evenly spritz onto the surfaces and let stand for...

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June 9, 2016 - 9:54am

Q. Can I use wax paper instead of parchment paper? —D. Piazza, San Diego, CA

Related: Do I Need Both Liquid and Dry Measuring Cups?

A. Wax paper and parchment paper can be used interchangeably in many applications, but not all. Wax paper melts when exposed to heat, while parchment can withstand temperatures up to 450°F, depending on the brand. Both types of paper are a great surface for rolling out pastry dough to prevent sticking and for layering cookies and candies when storing. But parchment paper is the one to choose when lining a baking sheet for a batch of cookies or a pan for roasting meat or vegetables. It’s also the only paper to use when cooking en papillote (i.e...

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