Thanks to all of you who emailed and tweeted me yesterday to see how Brian and I were weathering the storm. Though Irene did less damage than anticipated in coastal areas, we got hit pretty hard in the Berkshires. While I know it could’ve been worse, it certainly wasn’t good. Having all of our town’s roads closed, seeing photos of my friends’ streets washed out and yards filled with water and watching the street by our apartment turned into a river isn’t something I’d like to experience again. But today is warm and sunny and most things are back to normal. People are still pumping out their basements and the roads that washed out are still closed, but Brian and I are fine.
Since it’s Monday, and school is starting again soon, and I’m still recovering from the surreal day that was yesterday, I thought I’d just offer a few of my favorite kitchen tips to help your day go a little easier.
Buy spices in bulk
Spices are expensive. They also have the ability to make a meal. So, whenever possible (and I can only think of one instance in the past couple years where this didn’t work), I buy our spices from the bulk jars at our local food co-op. I’ve bought a jars worth of herbs for 17 cents, which is a vast improvement over the 4 or 5 dollars you’ll pay at the supermarket. And you don’t need to buy new spice jars either, we just refill our supermarket jars.
Freeze fresh ginger
This tip is from my mother-in-law and it’s served us well. Don’t be afraid of buying a big piece of fresh ginger at the supermarket because your recipe only calls for an inch (or, worse yet, avoid the recipe entirely). Buy it, use what you need and then store the rest of the ginger in a sealed plastic bag in your freezer. Next time you need ginger, just take it out. I don’t even defrost it before grating it.
Maybe everyone else already knew this, but it was a long time before I discovered that nuts can go bad. So now, any nuts I’m not using live in our freezer. Even better, we can buy nuts when they’re cheap (or we’re at Trader Joe’s) and then use them when we need them. I generally don’t defrost them before use either.
I don’t think I’m going to buy sour cream anymore. Why? Because I’ve realized that the plain Greek yogurt that’s almost always in our fridge is practically the same thing. What’s the point of that? Next time, I’m just using the yogurt.
I don’t usually ask, but does anyone have a favorite kitchen tip or trick they’d like to share?