Pantry & Freezer Staples
How long do pantry and freezer staples last? Staple items are known for their long shelf life, but they don’t stay fresh forever! Use this handy list to determine how long you should keep them on hand.
Hamburger & Stew Meats: Shelf Life: 1 to 2 Days Storage: 3 to 4 Months
Ground Turkey, Veal, Pork, Lamb: Shelf Life: 1 to 2 Days Storage: 3 to 4 Months
Bacon: Shelf Life: 7 Days Storage: 1 Month
Sausage (Raw From Pork, Beef, Chicken or Turkey): Shelf Life: 1 to 2 Days Storage: 1 to 2 Months
Fresh Steaks: Shelf Life: 3 to 5 Days Storage: 6 to 12 Months
Fresh Roasts: Shelf Life: 3 to 5 Days Storage: 4 to 12 Months
Chicken or Turkey (Whole): Shelf Life: 1 to 2 Days Storage: 1 Year
Chicken or Turkey (Cut Up): Shelf Life: 1 to 2 Days Storage: 9 Months
Lean Fish: Shelf Life: 1 to 2 Days Storage: 6 Months
Fatty Fish: Shelf Life: 1 to 2 Days Storage: 2 to 3 Months
Fresh Shrimp, Scallops, Crawfish, Squid: Shelf Life: 1 to 2 Days Storage 3 to 6 Months
Baking Powder: Shelf Life: 18 Months Storage: Keep In Dry Place In Airtight Container
Beans (Dried & Uncooked): Shelf Life: 1 Year Storage: Store In Cool & Dry Place
Chocolate (Semisweet & Unsweetened): Shelf Life: 18 Months Storage: Keep In Cool Place
Cocoa: Shelf Life: 1 Year Storage: Keep In Cool Place
Cornstarch: Shelf Life: 18 Months Storage: Store In Airtight Container
Flour (White or Whole Wheat): Shelf Life: 6 to 8 Months Storage: Store In Airtight Container or Freeze To Extend Shelf Life
Nuts (In Shell & Unopened): Shelf Life: 4 Months Storage: Freeze to Extend Shelf Life
Spices & Herbs (Ground): Shelf Life: 6 Months Storage: Store in Airtight Containers In Dry Areas Away From Sunlight & Heat. Before Using, Check Aroma – If Faint Replace.
Sugar (Brown): Shelf Life: 4 Months Storage: Store in Airtight Container
Sugar (Confectioners’): Shelf Life: 18 Months Storage: Store in Airtight Container
Sugar (Granulated): Shelf Life: 2 Years Storage: Store in Airtight Container
Vinegar (Unopened): Shelf Life: 2 Years
“Work With What You Got!”
© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen © 2016 All Rights Reserved
Baby zucchini are very tender, tasty simple vegetables that have more flavor than the larger Italian zucchini as well as being very easy to prepare and enjoy. Archeologists think that they are indigenous to Central America. They are very nutritious and are a good source of Vitamin A, C B6, thiamin, niacin, and Pantothenic acid. Baby zucchini are also a very good source of fiber, protein, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and copper.
Quick Roast: Cut lengthwise and roast with sliced onions for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.
Blanching: Drop zucchini into boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes. Then remove to an ice bath. Zucchini are now ready to cut lengthwise and add to salads, sauté with mushrooms, onions, and garlic.
Grilling: Brush zucchini with olive oil, sprinkle with fresh herbs or spices, and either grill on BBQ or grill in a grill pan for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side.
Microwave: Place zucchini in ziplock bag. Cut corner of bag and microwave on high for 3 to 4 minutes.
For Salads: Baby zucchini makes a great salad addition. Shred or grate raw and add to salads, or cut lengthwise and add to vegetable platters.
Raw: To eat raw make sure to wash before eating.
“Work With What You Got!”
© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen
Baking can be tricky when you throw gluten-free into the mix, even the most skilled cooks can be challenged. Here are some tips that can make Gluten-Free Baking less challenging.
Gluten-Free flour mixes can generally replace wheat flour cup for cup. Nut and bean flours may need extra experimentation to find the exact amounts to use.
Consider using smaller pans when baking gluten-free. It’s easier to get the center cooked without the edges burning as can happen with larger pans.
Keep a close watch on baking times. Some gluten-free recipes may take longer to bake than their wheat-containing counterparts.
To help gluten-free recipes taste their best, consider boosting flavor with extra nuts, herbs, spices, and flavor extracts such as vanilla and almond.
If converting a recipe to gluten-free, increase the egg amount by one extra egg to help ingredients bind together.
Gluten-free flours can be dry. You may need to increase a recipe’s liquids.
Xanthan gum keeps gluten-free baked goods moister and less prone to crumbling. Add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum for each cup of gluten-free flour.
"Work With What You Got!"
© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen
Constitution Week – Foods of Our Forefathers Part II
The standard grains included wheat, barley, oats and rye. Finely ground wheat flour, “boulted” or sieved through a fine cloth, was used to make white bread for the rich early in the fifteenth century. Most of the gentry ate what we would call cracked or whole wheat bread. The poor ate bread of coarse-ground wheat flour mixed with oats, ground peas or lentils.
During the ocean crossing to the New World, immigrants subsisted on an even more monotonous diet for weeks. The Mayflower provisions were typical – brown biscuits and hard white crackers, oatmeal, and black-eyed peas, plus bacon, dried salted codfish and smoked herring for animal protein. The only vegetables on the trip were parsnips, turnips, onions and cabbages. Beer was the beverage.
As pilgrims set foot on their new homeland, they hardly knew what to expect. Each brought a stock of basic foods to get them through the first year, as well as a variety of basic utensils and kitchen tools. Also included were the essential accompaniments for whatever they found or could raise when they arrived – a bushel of coarse salt, 2 gallons of vinegar, a gallon of “oyle” and a gallon of aquavite.
Nothing they had been told, however, prepared them for the staggering variety of totally unfamiliar plants that were being used as food by the Indians – corn, sweet potatoes, peppers, pumpkins, squash, sunflower seeds and cranberries were examples. In addition to the strange food, there were strange ways of cooking. In Europe, meat was boiled; the Indians, lacking iron pots, roasted theirs on a spit over a fire. The Indians also had a long, slow cooking process that yielded what we now call Boston baked beans, and they used a fire-heated, rock-lined pit for what we would now call a clam-bake. Where the pilgrims were accustomed to raised wheat bread, the Indians introduced them to corn based spoon bread. Corn also provided hominy, used as a vegetable, and later, of course, as grits. For sweetening, the Indians used maple syrup and honey, as sugar was unknown.
Although many of the food the Pilgrims and other colonists found were totally strange, others had travelled the route before them. The Spanish had brought pigs, which thrived especially in areas where peanuts grew. Peaches and oranges were also native which spread throughout climatically suitable areas in a short time.
Even the white potato was an early migrant to the New World, following a zig-zag route, from its original home in Peru to Spain in 1520, from Spain to Florida forty years later, from Florida to England in 1565, always being treated as a culinary curiosity. By the 1600’s they had become a popular food staple in Ireland, and were carried by Colonists both to New England and Virginia, where they quickly established themselves. There they served as a valuable source of vitamin C, protein and trace minerals, in addition to the starch.
Potatoes, incidentally were significant in another, later migration to America: the climate in Ireland proved so amenable to their culture, and their nutrient content was so high, that many poor Irish farmers grew only potatoes on their small farms. In fact, as fathers subdivided farms for their sons, many found themselves supporting whole families on the potatoes grown on less than an acre of ground, while the family itself lived in a roofed-over ditch. When blight struck in 1845, the sole food source of millions of people literally withered away before their eyes. A half-million of the 8 1/2 million population died of starvation or disease, and 1 1/2 million emigrated to England or America – following the “Irish potatoe.”
Spices were in short supply in America’s earliest days. The English pretty well monopolized the trade with the New World. Within a few years, however, settlers had planted the seeds they had brought or imported, and most had adapted to the climate and were flourishing in orderly rows and patterns in kitchen gardens all along the Atlantic Coast. There were a few – ginger, pepper, cloves, mace, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice – that simply couldn’t cope with the weather or soil – and were scarce. Olive oil, lime juice, prunes and saffron were available, but only at high prices.
To Be Continued…
Called the “spice of life,” it was once only available to the rich. Now it is hard to imagine cooking without it. New peppers have become available for our use. White pepper is dried, pink and green come packed in water or vinegar. Invest in a good peppermill, as ground black pepper loses its vitality soon after it is ground.