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Dairy Products and Freezer Tips
Submitted by: Jezebel Jen

BUTTER

Soften butter quickly by grating it. Or: heat a small pan and place it upside-down over the butter dish for several minutes.

CHEESE

Store the cottage cheese container upside-down and it will stay fresh twice as long!

Wrap cheese in a vinegar-soaked cloth to prevent drying out.

CREAM and MILK

For whipping cream, a pinch of salt added to the cream before whipping helps it stiffen much more quickly.

For cream that will not whip: Chill cream, bowl and beater. Set bowl of cream into a bowl of ice water while you are whipping. Add the white of an egg. Chill and then whip. If the cream still does not stiffen, gradually whip in 3 - 4 drops of lemon juice.

Cream whipped ahead of time will not separate if you add a bit of unflavored gelatin (1/4 teaspoon per cup of cream).

To keep the mess down to a minimum when whipping cream with an electric beater, cut 2 holes in the middle of a piece of waxed paper. Slip the stems of the beaters through the holes and attach the beaters to the mixer and whip on!

Never pour room-temperature milk or cream back into the original container.

ICE CREAM

An ice cream container that has been opened and refrozen may form a wax like film on the top. Pressing a piece of waxed paper against the surface of the ice cream and resealing the carton will prevent this.

Buy ice cream in bulk and re-pack in small margarine containers for individual servings.

EGGS

If you shake an egg and you hear a rattle, the egg is most likely bad. A fresh egg will sink in water, a stale one will float.

If you want to slice deviled eggs perfectly, dip the knife in water first. The slice will be smooth and no yolk will stick to the blade.

An egg white is easiest to beat at room temperature. Take the egg out of the refrigerator about 1/2 hour before using.

For light, fluffy scrambled eggs, add a little water while beating the eggs.

Add vinegar to the water when boiling eggs. The vinegar helps seal the egg.

Keep your eggs in those tight-fitting egg containers and they will last longer in the refrigerator.

For long term storage, crack open the eggs and add individually to an ice cube tray. When completely frozen, put the egg cubes in a sealed freezer bag and use as needed.

For quick diced eggs, use your potato masher on a hard boiled egg. When boiling eggs, wrap each one in aluminum before boiling and the shell won't crack.

When making scrambled eggs for a crowd add a pinch of baking powder and 2 teaspoons of water per egg to make your meal go further.

Easy peeling for hard boiled eggs? Just let them sit in the pan with the lid on after boiling for about 5 minutes. Steam will build up under the shells and they will be a snap to peel.

Rinse hot, hard boiled eggs in cold water for easier shell removal.

If you have saved egg yolks from previous recipes, you can use them in place of whole eggs in baking or thickening. Use 2 yolks for every whole egg.

Can't remember if an egg is fresh or hard boiled? Just spin the egg. if it wobbles, it's raw. If it spins easily, it's hard boiled.

Egg whites can be stored for up to 1 year in the freezer. Collect them in a plastic container for use in meringues or angel food cakes. (1 cup equals 7 - 8 egg whites)

Egg yolks will keep fresh in the refrigerator for several days when covered with cold water.

FREEZER TIPS

Buy a freezer thermometer.

Dont try to freeze lettuce,celery, cucumbers, fresh tomatoes, mayonnaise, cooked egg whites, cream (except whipped), custard, cream pies or gelatine salads.

Don't put potatoes into stews before freezing.

Don't overcook the food; slightly under cook it.

Thaw all foods in the refrigerator to prevent them from becoming soggy when thawed out.

Use your freezer to keep bread and baked goods handy.

When the nice silverskin onions are plentiful and cheap on the market it is time to buy for the winter. Simply peel and place in good plastic container. then freeze. When you need them, open the container and take out what is required. To slice or chop it is much easier to do so when they are still parly frosen. To boil, do not thaw out.

A last, but very important, word of advice: label your packages clearly because, as the weeks go by the frozen foods have a way of getting to look more and more alike and your memory can play a lot of tricks on you.

To submit your favorite recipes to be included in the Garden of Friendship Recipe Book, please email them to Barbiel

Background graphics made especially for the Recipes Committee of the Garden of Friendship by Valatine