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Stacy Fraser's Blog

March 7, 2017 - 9:47am

Roasting vegetables

Once limited to high-end ranges, convection functions are now built in to most new ovens. I use convection almost exclusively at home, because it cooks faster and more evenly than regular settings.

Here's why: It has a built-in fan that helps heat the oven faster, eliminates hot spots and enables even cooking on all racks. No more fussing with rotating pans! Plus, ovens with convection also have a vent that draws out excess steam. The drier air helps foods cook and caramelize sooner—just what you're looking for when roasting chicken or vegetables.

Related: Do You...

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March 3, 2017 - 9:38am

Dishwasher

Even though your dishwasher's job is to clean, it too needs a once-over periodically. Over time, food residues gunk up the drain and spray arms. The clogs reduce the amount of water circulating during the wash and rinse cycles and dishes can end up with a film of baked-on food and soap. Plus, if you have unfiltered well water, mineral deposits build up and further reduce water flow. Here's how to keep your dishwasher—and dishes—sparkling.

Related: 15 Simple Ways to Clean Up Your Kitchen

1. Clean the drain: Locate the drain on...

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November 23, 2016 - 9:56am

Most of the time, either type of pan will give you good results. But there are slight differences because of the way each conducts heat. Here's how they affect brownies.

Related: Do You Really Need to Preheat Your Oven?

If you like fudgy brownies, a glass pan is best. It heats more slowly, so the batter takes a while to heat. Once it gets hot, glass holds in the heat, cooking the brownies around the edges faster while the middle stays fudgy. The heat continues to build in the pan the longer it's in the oven—keep a close eye toward the end of baking to prevent overdone (or even burned) edges.

If you like less-fudgy brownies with crispy edges, go for a dark metal pan. Metal heats up quickly and is noninsulating, so the...

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November 4, 2016 - 9:51am

Most people worry about the food safety of thawing and refreezing, but as long as it's done right, it's perfectly safe. The only risk you'll take is ruin­ing the taste and texture of the food.

Related: Our Top Picks for Healthier Frozen-Food Dinners

Air exposure is the enemy when food is in the deep chill. Air trapped in the package or that seeps in from the freezer causes the moisture in the food to evaporate—making the food overly dry. Freezer air can also impart off-tasting flavors. Pack foods in airtight containers that are just a bit bigger than what you're freezing (leaving a little room for expansion as the foods freeze) or pack in freezer bags, squeezing out as much air as possible. Meat in plastic-wrapped...

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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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