Freezing Ginger

Fresh ginger is far superior in flavour to dried ginger, and I think to jarred ginger too. But that knobby gnarled root you bring home from the grocery store or market is usually more ginger than you need at any one time.

So, what do you do with the unused portion? What is the best way to store fresh ginger?

I’ve usually either peeled and grated the remaining piece of ginger, wrapped it in a little aluminum foil and frozen it for future use, or, alas, left the knob to languish in the fridge until it’s dried out and moldy.

That’s changed since reading this tip for freezing ginger in a log from Jaden Hair at Steamy Kitchen. What a great suggestion for keeping ginger at the ready for whenever you need it. Just grate the ginger over a piece of plastic wrap, form it into a log, roll it up in the plastic wrap, twist the ends of the plastic to form it into a log, then freeze. Break off a piece as needed to use in whatever you’re cooking.

Apparently the original idea came from Lunch in a Box. There are some other useful tips for storing and cooking with ginger on both blogs.

Getting rid of fruit flies

Got fruit flies buzzing about your kitchen? Although they seem to come out of nowhere, in fact they breed in moist environments such as ripe or rotting fruits or vegetables, damp dish cloths, and juice spills. The kitchen is usually the hot spot for fruit fly activity.

Here are some ways to prevent an infestation.

What should you do if you already have them?

My friend Carol recently shared a method she’d learned for getting rid of the pesky critters. You get them drunk……and then they drown! What a way to go!

Here’s what you do……

Pour a small amount of red wine in a little bowl. Into that put a bit of dish soap. Set out the bowl. Now wait. The fruit flies will be attracted by the scent of the wine, but when they alight on it to partake, they’ll stick to the detergent in the wine. And drown. (I’m not usually one to wish ill on anyone, but in this case……YES!!)

Check out this link for additional ways to get rid of fruit flies, more tips on preventing them in the first place, and an lovely enlarged image of the insect. (The latter may drive you to drink!)

Pantry staples for cottage kitchens; Best ways to store steak

Restocking bare cottage kitchen cupboards…..

The first holiday weekend of the warm weather season is almost here. For cottage owners opening up their seasonal homes this weekend that means it’s time to restock the kitchen. You will first want to check any dry goods left on the kitchen shelves over the winter for signs of mice or bugs. Toss any stale spices or dry food products. Then restock the shelves and cupboards with this list of pantry staples courtesy of Cottage Life.

How to store steaks for best flavour and texture…..

If you’re taking steaks up to the cottage and are wondering how to keep them in peak condition until you plan to grill them later in the weekend, Cottage Life has tested five storage options. Find out what they recommend as the best way to store steak for a few days to preserve taste and tenderness.

Is Canadian pork safe to eat?

Wondering how safe it is to eat pork while people are becoming sick with human swine flu (H1N1)?

It’s perfectly safe reports the Public Health Agency of Canada. You don’t get sick by eating pork. The H1N1 flu virus is not transmitted through pork meat.

H1N1 has spread between humans, not from pigs to people. However people can spread the virus to pigs so pigs should really be wary of us, not vice versa! If you have any symptoms of influenza, avoid any close contact with pigs. You don’t want to run the risk of introducing a new flu virus into the pig population. 

Want to know more about H1N1?  Visit the Public Health Agency of Canada’s web site for information, answers to frequently asked questions, and travel advisories.

Food label advises product is a THRIFT purchase

In this economic climate, who doesn’t want to save a little $$$?

A couple weeks ago I bought a box of crackers and one of cookies in a store known for selling discounted merchandise. I don’t remember the price (2 for $?) but I remember thinking at the time it seemed like a good deal for Dare products (a food brand I am quite familiar with).



The sticker at the end of the boxes is obvious in the picture above, but I didn’t notice it until I went to open the box of cookies a few days later.


I don’t know if it’s the law (at least in Canada) that products have to labelled when they might not be up to normal standards, or if this is just something that Dare chose to do, but I thought it prudent on the part of Dare Foods to advise the customer of what they were potentially getting.

Sometimes when the price of a non-food item is reduced because the merchandise is a “second” or “irregular” or it’s being sold “as is”, there is a sign nearby or a sticker on the product advising this. But how often are you warned about foods when the quality may not be what you are paying for?

I suppose baked goods marked “day old”, or obviously dented canned foods, or fruits and vegetables edging past their prime (e.g. bruised bananas) and selling at sale prices would be examples of this.

I like to think I’m a fairly savvy shopper. That may be up for debate as I should have checked the packages for this kind of label considering the store I was in and the price!

All in all – it’s a good lesson learned! While I always check food packages for Best Before dates, I will be more careful with future purchases to give the product a once over for any other important labelling information.

In case you’re wondering – I’ve only opened the box of cookies so far – they look (and taste) perfectly normal.

Baby carrots the latest food to suffer from “myth-information”

Likely you’ve received the email that’s been circulating recently about baby carrots and chlorine. I’ve reprinted the one I received below. Before you read it, please remember that, unfortunately, not everything you read is 100% accurate – including the email text that follows:

Did you know that the small baby carrots you buy in small plastic bags are made using large crooked or deformed carrots which are put through a machine that cuts and shapes them into baby carrots?

And, did you also know that once the carrots are cut and shaped, they are dipped in a solution of water and chlorine (the same chlorine used in swimming pools) in order to preserve them since, once peeled, they don’t have their skin or natural protective covering?

If you keep these carrots in your refrigerator for a few days, a white covering will form on the carrots. This is the chlorine which resurfaces.

At what cost do we put our health at risk to have aesthetically pleasing vegetables which are practically plastic?

if you care about your family and friends, please pass this information on to them to let them know where baby carrots come from and how they are processed. Chlorine is a well known carcinogen.

If you like to munch on baby carrots and you’ve wondered about the validity of the information in this email, consider these facts.

Yes, baby carrots may indeed be formed by a machine. They may also be carrots grown and harvested at a small size.

And yes, they are dipped in a diluted solution of chlorine and water. This is an ACCEPTABLE PRACTICE done to ensure the water the carrots are washed in remains sanitary, and to prevent the growth of spoilage microorganisms on the carrots. There is no evidence that the amount of chlorine used is harmful.

The white discolouration that sometimes forms on carrots is NOT chlorine residue. If it was chlorine, you would be able to smell and taste it.

The white discolouration is a result of moisture loss from the surface of the carrots. This will naturally occur on the surface of any peeled carrot as it dries.

Chlorine is not harmful if used appropriately. Our drinking water contains chlorine. Chlorine is often used to sanitize dishes, cutting boards and cooking surfaces.

For additional information about baby carrots and chlorine, please check the following sources:

* – This web site is a great place to visit if you hear a claim (food-related or otherwise) you’re not sure about. The site is well known for its debunking of false claims, including the one about baby carrots and chlorine.

* Joe Schwarcz’s article about baby carrots written for the Montreal Gazette in April. Schwarcz is the director of McGill University’s Office for Science and Society.

Small Kitchen Gadgets are a Big Help

I received a couple helpful kitchen gadgets for Christmas that I’ve been able to put to good use.


The utensil pot clip is a stainless steel clamp that fits saucepans with edges less than 3/8-inch thick. Attached to the side of a pot, it holds a spoon or spatula at the ready. The silicone-coated hook is heat resistant to 600F (315C). It’s a great way to keep your counter and stove top clean, and the utensil handy when needed. Approx. price – $8.75 (Cdn)


If you’re tired of wondering whether food in your house is past its prime or safe to heat, here’s a gadget that will help you keep track of the number of hours and days a food has been in your refrigerator or opened and in your cupboard. The days agoTM digital counter counts up to 99 days and is reuseable. Its suctioned and/or magnetic base enables it to adhere readily to almost any surface. The one I have is magnetic, but with a small piece of masking tape rolled over onto itself and stuck to the back, the counter will readily adhere to plastic or glass.


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