You’ve invited the family and decorated the house. You’ve planned the
meal, from the candied yams to the pumpkin pie. And you’ve just finished
setting the table with the “good stuff” when, suddenly, you realize with
horror: YOU FORGOT TO THAW THE TURKEY! But don’t panic. Even though that
bird is about as hard as Plymouth Rock, you haven’t failed as a holiday
host just yet. In fact, whether you have 4 days or 12 hours, it’s still
possible to safely thaw your frozen turkey without risking bacterial
growth. The important thing is to do it right — so the only bellyaches
you’ll be hearing about are the ones that come from overeating.
The wrong way
First of all, do not even THINK about thawing your bird on the countertop to save time. Because room temperatures fall within the danger zone of 60ºF to 125ºF, thawing on the countertop promotes active growth of bacteria. Do it the wrong way, and your frozen turkey will thaw from the outside in and the surface bacteria could multiply to dangerous levels. You can’t rely on cooking to destroy all bacteria, as some food poisoning organisms produce toxins that withstand heat.
The right way
Thawing your turkey in the refrigerator is the preferred method for safety reasons, but you can also thaw it in cold water or in a microwave (if it’s large enough). The key is to keep the turkey cold while thawing — to prevent excessive bacterial growth.
And no matter which method you select, cook the turkey promptly after thawing.
Thawing In The Refrigerator
Place the turkey in its original wrap on a tray or in a pan to catch any moisture that accumulates as it thaws. One rule of thumb is to allow 24 hours of defrosting time for every 5 pounds of turkey.
8 to 12 pounds: 1 to 2 days
12 to 16 pounds: 2 to 3 days
16 to 20 pounds: 3 to 4 days
20 to 24 pounds: 4 to 5 days
Pieces Of Large Turkey
Half, quarter, half breast: 1 to 2 days
Thawing In Cold Water
First, check the wrapping to make sure there are no tears. Then simply place the bird in its unopened bag in the sink or in a large container and cover it with cold water (do not use warm or hot water). If the wrapping is torn, put the turkey in another plastic bag, close it securely, and then place it in water. Be sure to change the water frequently to assure safe but effective thawing. The National Turkey Federation recommends changing water every 30 minutes.
Allow about 30 minutes per pound to defrost a turkey in cold water.
8 to 12 pounds: 4 to 6 hours
12 to 16 pounds: 6 to 9 hours
16 to 20 pounds: 9 to 11 hours
20 to 24 pounds: 11 to 12 hours
Thawing In A Microwave Oven
You can also thaw your turkey in a microwave. Since microwave oven sizes vary, check the manufacturer’s instructions for the size turkey that will fit in your oven, the minutes per pound, and the power level to use for thawing. Caution: Microwave defrosting is irregular, creating hot spots that may encourage bacterial growth. Cook the turkey immediately after defrosting. Do not store in the refrigerator for cooking later.
One way to avoid thawing altogether is to buy a frozen, prestuffed bird! Frozen, prestuffed birds should not be thawed before cooking.
One more thing
Your turkey may be properly thawed, but you’re not quite finished preparing it for cooking. You need to remove the neck and giblets from the neck and/or body cavities and then thoroughly wash the inside and outside of the turkey and the giblets. Use cold water and drain the bird well. To prevent the spread of bacteria, wash your hands, utensils and sink after they have come in contact with the raw turkey.
Just a few things:
Use shiny cookie sheets without sides, place cookie sheets lengthwise, side-to-side on the oven racks. Evenly space racks. Arrange cookie sheets so they are directly over each other. Stacking cookie sheets one above the other centres the food in front of the convection fan, which improves air circulation and browning.
Cakes, Pies, etc.
If baking items in pans with sides, stagger pans so one pan is not directly over another pan. For multiple-rack baking, it may be necessary to remove the pan on the bottom and/or top rack 1-3 minutes before the middle rack to prevent overbrowning.
What is "convection" and how does it work?
The definition of convection is "circulating air." In a convection oven, a fan circulates hot air over, under and around the food. The moving air disturbs the layer of cold air around the food, allowing the heat to surround the food. As a result, foods are evenly cooked and browned--often in shorter cooking times, at lower temperatures and with the flexibility of using more racks.
Some convection models provide a dual-speed fan. The convection bake fan speed is slower to guarantee excellent results when baking even delicate items.
When convection roast is selected, the fan speed is faster. The cold air is quickly stripped away from the meat. The outside of the meat is seared and the juices remain inside.
There are several convection oven designs, however, a design that heats with the bake and broil elements provides: quicker preheat; reasonable baking times; and balanced heat.
What are the advantages of convection cooking?
Cooking is achieved by transferring heat from the heat source to the food. In a regular oven the food is cooked primarily by radiant heat. That is, when the bottom and sides of the oven become hot, they radiate heat to the pans and food in the oven. During radiant baking, the air in the oven is almost static. Therefore, it takes longer for the still air to warm the layer of cold air around the food. A convection oven uses a small fan in the back of the oven wall to circulate the heated air. The cold air around the food is removed so the food is heated faster.
Larger Quantity Cooking
Larger quantities of food can be cooked at one time in a convection oven because increased air circulation provides more even heat distribution to give better baking results. More food can be placed in the oven side to side, and top to bottom using multiple racks.
Improved Quality of Some Foods
When baking in a convection oven, bread products are golden brown and crustier. When roasting, meats are generally golden brown on the outside and tender and juicy inside.
Because larger quantities of food are cooked at one time (several racks of cookies instead of one rack), the oven does not stay on as long. Likewise, shorter cooking times are required because air speeds the heat conduction process that cooks the food.
Do you have any tips for convection oven cooking?
Yes, there are a few things to keep in mind, including:
You’re having a picnic with the relatives this weekend and you get this
great idea: homemade ice cream. At least, it sounds great … until you
find yourself building up a forearm like Arnold Schwarzenegger’s,
cranking the freezer for what seems like your whole summer — all for
what amounts to a can of runny ice cream soup. But don’t despair. You
can get great-tasting results and have fun doing it. You probably just
need a few pointers:
• “Age” the mix
Made-from-scratch ice cream mix — unlike children — tends to act its age. That means if you prepare it and use it right away, it won’t have the texture, body and flavour of mix that has matured overnight. So try to let the mix stand in the refrigerator for at least four hours — overnight if possible. And don’t stir in flavourings until after this aging process is complete.
*Tip: Add liquid flavourings before freezing, fruits or nuts after freezing and before hardening. See flavourings below for a few ideas.
• Use the right combination of rock salt and ice.
Even though the ice melts because of the salt, it’s colder than it would be alone. Go figure. We could explain why, but this is ice cream, not rocket science. Basically all you need to do is find the instructions for your freezer (although rocket science may be easier) and use the recommended ratio of salt to ice — for example, one cup of salt to every five cups of ice. Add ice and salt alternately in this proportion in order to get the proper temperature. After the bucket is filled with ice to the overflow hole, pour a little water over the ice to aid the melting process. Or, let the ice stand about three minutes before beginning.
– If your ice cream is very soft, the ice/salt solution (called the “brine”) is not cold enough. Add more salt to reduce the brine temperature.
– If your ice cream freezes in less than 20 minutes and has a granular texture, you’ve used too much salt and the brine has become too cold too fast. We can’t help you here except to say, “Don’t do that next time.”
*Tip: There are several substitutes you can use for rock salt — including water-softener salt (called Solar Salt), table salt and kosher salt — although they may cost more.
• Use gelatin to avoid ice crystals. Who knew gelatin actually had other uses besides that jiggly lime/pineapple mold everyone avoids at potlucks? We suggest adding one envelope of unflavoured gelatin per six cups of ice cream mixture. Let the gelatin soften in 1/4 cup of the mixture, then gently heat it until it is dissolved. Add it to the remaining mixture and proceed.
• Don’t fill the freezer/machine over two-thirds full with mix. Less is more. Really. You’ve got to leave room for expansion as air is mixed in, or you’ll end up with a mess.
• Allow frozen ice cream to harden at least 3 hours in a freezer compartment or deep freeze before serving to get the best flavour and texture. We know you’ll want instant gratification after putting in all that time with the crank, but trust us. It really will taste better.
*Tip: If a freezer is not available, leave the ice cream in the can, cover/seal it, and put it back into the bucket. Repack the freezer with more ice and salt, then cover it with a heavy towel and set it in a cool place to harden (keep in mind you may need to add more ice and salt depending on the length of time before serving). Oh, and you might want to have a flexible rubber spatula on hand — just to smack the hands of those who try to get a taste before it’s time.
• Clean salt off all metal parts of freezing machine to prevent corrosion. Unless your tetanus shot is up to date and you’re the adventurous type.
It happens time and time again. You keep buying the same healthy fruits
and vegetables with the best intentions. And you keep throwing them out
at the end of the week because things get busy, pizza gets ordered and
that food gets forgotten. (Let’s not even talk about the money that gets
thrown out the window along with it.)
Here are a few tips to make that food stay fresh and tasty a little longer:
• Keep your refrigerator at the right temperature.
The temperature of your refrigerator should be below 40° F (ideally 37° F) and your freezer should be kept at 0° F. This is the single most important thing you can do to not only improve freshness, but keep food safe from harmful bacteria.
*Hint: To check temperatures, place an appliance thermometer in a glass of water in the center of the refrigerator for the fresh food compartment and between frozen packages for the freezer. Read after 24 hours. If needed, adjust the control by one setting and check the temperature again after another 24 hours.
• Don’t crowd your food. Imagine being in the midst of a throng of teenage girls at an ’N Sync concert. That’s how your food feels when you overstuff the fridge. In other words, cold air can’t circulate freely — so stacked or buried foods may be too insulated from the cold air to cool down as quickly as they should.
• Be smart about leftovers.
Food should spend as little time as possible in the middle (or “danger”) zone of 40° – 140° F, where bacteria thrives. That’s why cooked foods should be stored in small portions and in shallow containers, where they will be more apt to cool faster (large, dense portions can take hours to drop below 40° F). All leftovers should be immediately stored in the refrigerator in clean, air-tight, leak-proof containers or wraps.
• Put produce away promptly and WAIT to wash or cut it up until right before use. Cutting initiates enzyme activity, and washing strips away natural protection. Both can decrease shelf life. When you’re ready to use them, wash fruits and vegetables well* under running water, including rinds of fruit you plan to slice.
*Remove all leaves and wash hard-skinned produce by scrubbing hard and thoroughly under a strong stream of running cold water (with no soap) until all visible soil has been removed. Use a clean vegetable brush on root vegetables such as carrots and potatoes. Produce with softer skins should be washed in a stream of water as hard-running as it can be without bruising the item, and dirt or soil should be gently rubbed off. You may wish to use a colander and run water over the items as you gently bounce or turn them. All vegetables should be washed for a long time — a few seconds is not enough. (Soap is not recommended because it can leave residues or break down the skin of the produce, making it more susceptible to bacteria.)
• Location, location, location.
Store your most perishable items in the main body of the refrigerator, not the door. The front of the shelves and the door tend to vary more in temperature over the course of the day as people open and close the refrigerator.
– Fish, fresh meats, poultry and dairy products should go where the temperature is coolest, preferably in a specially designed compartment — such as a meat drawer — set at its coldest setting.
– Refrigerated biscuits, rolls, pastries or cookie dough should not be kept in the refrigerator door.
– Things that can go in the refrigerator door include opened bottles of pickles and vinegary relishes, maple syrup, jams, preserves, ketchup, mustard, horseradish, soft drinks, beer, wine and oils.
You can minimize temperature fluctuation — and make sure foods are stored at the proper temperature — with a refrigerator that has special compartments designed to keep specific foods at specific temperatures. For example, Maytag refrigerators with ClimateZone™ Technology include drawers that can be set to deliver the optimum temperatures for produce, meats and citrus fruits.
To keep vegetables from turning brown or becoming "limp" or wilted in
the refrigerator, certain storage guidelines should be followed. Here
are some storage recommendations to help maximize vegetable storage.
|Fresh Vegetables Storage Chart|
|Fresh Vegetable||Fridge Time||Freezer Time||Storage Tips|
|Asparagus||2 - 3 days||8 - 12 months||Don't wash before refrigerating. Store in crisper.|
|Brussels Sprouts & Broccoli||3-5 days||8 - 12 months||Wrap odourous foods & refrigerate in crisper.|
|Celery||1-2 weeks||N/R||Refrigerate in crisper.|
|Cauliflower & Snap Beans||1 week||8 - 12 months||Wrap odourous foods & refrigerate in crisper.|
|Carrots, Parsnips, Beets, Radishes & Turnips||2 weeks||8 - 12 months||Remove tops. Wrap odourous foods & refrigerate in crisper.|
|Green Peas/Lima Beans||3-5 days||8 - 12 months||Leave in pods & refrigerate.|
|Lettuce/Other Salad Greens||1 week||N/R||Wash. Drain well. Wrap & refrigerate in crisper.|
|Mushrooms||3-5 days||N/R||Store in paper bag in crisper.|
|Onions, Green||3-5 days||8 - 12 months||Wrap odourous foods & refrigerate in crisper.|
|Peppers & Cucumbers||1 week||8 - 12 months||Wrap odourous foods & refrigerate in crisper.|
Several factors can affect bake times and browning. As cooking
appliances get older, it is not uncommon for the oven temperature to
shift. As a result, it is natural to gradually adapt cooking times,
temperatures and habits to that change. Then, when baking in a new oven
with proper temperature calibration, results may not be as expected.
An easy way to check if the range or wall oven is operating properly is to bake a standard box white cake mix. Following the package directions and baking times should provide a cake that is done and evenly browned.
Pan Selection and Placement
Dark pans absorb heat that results in a browner, crispier crust. These types of pans are commonly used for pies and breads. It may be necessary to reduce the oven temperature 25° F. for good results if baking cakes, cookies, etc.
Shiny pans reflect heat which results in lighter, more delicate browning. Cakes and cookies require this type of pan.
Glass pans absorb heat slowly but hold it well. When glass pans are used for baking, lower the recommended temperature by 25° F. However, this is not required for pies and casseroles.
Incorrect Rack Position in Oven
For single rack baking, centre the rack so the food is in the middle of the oven. For multiple rack baking, check the User's Guide for recommendations.
If food is placed on a rack toward the top of the oven, top browning may be too dark. If food is placed on a rack located near the bottom of the oven, the food may be too dark on the bottom.
Incorrect Pan Placement on the Rack
Allow 1-2 inches of space around each pan and between pans and the oven walls. Placement of the pans should not interfere with airflow.
If baking on more than one rack, place the pans so that one is not directly over another except when baking cookies using convection bake.
• Preheating is necessary for baked goods such as breads, cookies and cakes. It is not necessary for casseroles, meat, etc. To preheat, set the oven to the recommended baking temperature, not higher. For ovens without an indicator light or signal allow 10-15 minutes for preheating.
• Most recipes provide minimum and maximum baking times such as "bake 35 to 45 minutes." Do not open the oven door to check until the minimum time has elapsed. Oven "peeking" drops the temperature approximately 25-30° F. each time. This wastes energy and can increase baking times. If you need to check on foods in the oven, look through the window (if equipped) in the oven door rather than opening the door.
• Aluminum foil should NOT be placed on the bottom of the oven or completely cover an oven rack. It will block the air flow and transfer of heat. If foil is used to catch spillovers from pies and casseroles, place a piece that is slightly larger than the cooking utensil on the rack directly below the rack with the food.
• Use tested recipes from dependable cookbooks. Be sure to use fresh ingredients, measure accurately, mix as instructed and use the recommended pan size.
Proper cookware will reduce cooking times, use less energy and cook food
more evenly. When choosing cookware, consider five factors: material,
flatness, size, gauge and balance.
The pan material determines how evenly and quickly heat is transferred to the pan bottom.
• Aluminum heats quickly and evenly. If aluminum pans are slid across glass-ceramic surfaces, they may leave metal marks. These marks must be removed promptly to prevent permanent discolouration. However, an anodizing process makes aluminum harder and more stain resistant. Aluminum will not work on induction cooktops.
• Copper is an excellent heat conductor. However, copper discolours easily. It is often used as a bottom coating to improve the heating of stainless steel.
• Stainless Steel , when used alone, is a slow conductor of heat, develops hot spots and produces uneven cooking results. It is durable, attractive, easy to clean and resists stains. However, stainless steel heats quickly and evenly when aluminum or copper is sandwiched between two layers of stainless or when the bottom is clad with aluminum or copper.
• Cast Iron is slow to heat but cooks more evenly once temperature is reached. Use for long, low heat cooking or for browning and frying. Cast iron should be seasoned before use to make cleaning easier and prevent rusting.
• Porcelain Enamel-on-Steel or Porcelain Enamel-on-Cast Iron has heating characteristics that depend on the base material. Porcelain enamel cookware should be used according to manufacturer's directions. Attention should be given to the finish of the base material.
• Glass-ceramic is a slow conductor of heat. It is not recommended for glass-ceramic cooking surfaces.
Correct Pan Flatness
Since heat is transferred from cooktop to pan by conduction, there needs to be good contact. To determine if pans have a flat, smooth bottom try:
• Place the edge of a ruler across the bottom of the pan.
• Hold up to the light.
• No light should be visible under the ruler. Cooking Test
• Put 1 inch of water into the pan.
• Place the pan on the cooking area. Turn control to the Hi setting.
• Observe the bubble formation. If the bubbles are uniform across the pan, the pan will perform satisfactorily. If the bubbles are not uniform, the bubbles will indicate the hot spots.
Correct Pan Size
Pans are measured according to the amount they hold to the rim. Skillet size is according to the top diameter measurement. The important size, however, is the bottom diameter.
The bottom diameter should be the same size as the element or slightly larger (up to one inch larger for glass ceramic cooktops and two inches larger for coil cooktops). An undersized pan will waste energy and allow food to burn onto element. An oversized pan will trap heat.
On a conventional coil unit, trapped heat can cause stainless steel to discolour, porcelain to craze, drip bowls to discolour and may shorten the life of the element.
On ceramic glass cooktops trapped heat may cause the thermal limiter to cycle the element. Thus, cooking times will be extended.
Correct Pan Balance
A thin pan matched with a heavy handle could tip and fail to make good contact with the cooktop.
How a pan feels in the hand is one way of determining weight or gauge. However, the thickness of the bottom is the important factor. To determine the gauge of the bottom, compare ruler measurements inside and outside. A recommended base thickness is between 3-6 mm.
Bacteria that cause foodborne illness thrive at temperatures of 40 -140°
F. There are three general rules to follow to help keep your food safe:
• Keep Foods Clean - Handle foods with clean hands. Keep the refrigerator interior clean to prevent contamination.
• Keep Foods Hot - Once food is cooked, it must be kept hot (above 140° F) until serving. Bacterial growth increases greatly when cooked foods remain at room temperature for longer than two hours. Avoid cooling leftovers on the counter before refrigerating.
• Keep Foods Cold - Refrigerator and freezer temperatures do not kill bacteria but, will slow its growth. The colder food is kept, the slower the bacteria grows.
Acceptable water bath or pressure canners should not be oversized and
should have flat bottoms. When canners do not meet these standards,
cooking times may be longer and cooktops may be damaged.
On a glass-ceramic surface, the canner bottom should not extend more than one-inch beyond the cooking area. Some canners are specifically designed for use on glass-ceramic cooking surfaces.
A special canning element is available for coil surfaces. It elevates the canner which reduces trapped heat. This prevents damage to the porcelain surface and drip bowls.
When canning, use the HI heat setting just until the water comes to a boil or pressure is reached in the canner, then reduce to the lowest heat setting that maintains the boil or pressure. If the heat is not turned down, damage to the cooktop may occur.
Check with your local Extension Service or a manufacturer of glass jars for the latest canning information.
Broiling is a method of cooking by direct heat. The food is placed
directly under the top element in an electric oven. In a standard clean
gas oven, broiling is done in the broiler compartment. A self-clean gas
oven has the convenience of waist-high broiling. For best results when
broiling, use a pan designed for broiling. It drains excess liquid and
fat away from the cooking surface to decrease spatters, smoke and
flare-ups. Most marinated meat and tender cuts of meat such as chops,
hamburgers, chicken, fish, ham and steaks work best for broiling. The
degree of doneness is determined by the distance between the meat and
the heat source, as well as the length of broiling time. To make
clean-up easier, line the broiler pan (bottom piece) with aluminum foil.
However, do not cover the broiler pan insert with aluminum foil as this
prevents fat from draining into the pan below. Cleaning the Broiler
Pan and Insert NEVER leave a soiled broiler pan in the oven after
broiling. Drippings might become hot enough to ignite if exposed
directly to the element. The broiler pan and insert are dishwasher safe.
If washing by hand, use soap and water and plastic or soap-filled
scouring pads. Soaking makes cleaning easier for both hand and
dishwasher washing. If the broiler pan and insert are heavily soiled,
commercial oven cleaner may be used. Carefully remove the broiler pan
and insert and lay them on newspaper. Spray with commercial oven cleaner
and follow manufacturer's instructions. Broiling 101
• Place the oven rack in the correct rack position (refer to User's Guide). For rare meat, place closer to the heat source. Place meat further down if you prefer it well done or if excessive smoking and flaring occurs.
• Set the controls to broil. Some ovens offer a variable broil temperature option. Ovens that do not offer this specific option can be manually set for a lower broil temperature. Simply select broil and adjust the temperature setting to 450° F. High broil temperature is used for most broil operations, however low broil temperature provides better results when foods need a longer cooking time. For example, thick cut pork chops need to be cooked well done. If high broil temperature is used, the outside will become overbrowned before the inside is done. Likewise, low broil temperature is good for uneven surfaces such as chicken. The low broil temperature will prevent the chicken skin from burning where it is closer to the heat source.
• Preheat electric ovens 3 to 4 minutes before placing meat in the oven. There is no need to preheat gas ovens, since there is immediate heat. Broiling Tips
• When broiling with a gas oven, the door should be closed. In an electric oven, the door should remain open to the broil stop position (about 4 inches). This allows the element to stay hot and not cycle off while broiling.
• The distance from the heat source depends on the thickness of the meat. Thin cuts (3/4 to 1 inch) should be placed 2-3 inches from the heat; thicker cuts should be placed 3-6 inches from the heat.
• Turn meat only once during cooking. Broil until the top of the meat is browned. It should be approximately half cooked by the time the top is browned. Turn meat with tongs to prevent loss of juices. Check the doneness of meat by cutting a slit near the centre and observe the interior colour.
• The flavour of broiled meat comes from the smoke given off from the fat dripping down. Therefore, there needs to be some smoking. There will also be flare-ups, which is normal. If there is an excessive amount of flaring, the meat should be moved further from the heat source.
When someone complains about your cooking, do you: A.) hand over the
spatula and tell him to do it; B.) give up and get fast food for the
ingrates; C.) grit your teeth and bear it or D.) change the pans you’re
using … ?
Although these are all acceptable answers, we’re recommending D. It just might make a difference. (That burnt chicken wasn’t your fault, right?) Not all pots and pans are created equal. In fact, the material they’re made out of can make or break their performance. Some pans conduct heat poorly, giving you uneven cooking. Some are reactive with certain foods and add a funny taste. Whatever the problem, you certainly don’t need pans that waste the time you spend cooking by giving you less-than-delightful results. So, read below to see how your pans stack up:
Excellent conductor of heat.
Tarnishes and needs frequent polishing.
Cannot be put in the dishwasher.
Best used as a bottom coating for pans made from other materials (such as stainless steel) to improve their performance.
NOT for you if you’re pressed for time (because it requires polishing and hand-washing).
ALONE, copper is highly reactive with many foods (especially acidic ones), so copper pans are usually lined with tin or stainless steel.
Stainless Steel (steel combined with nickel and chromium)
Resists rusting, scratching and staining.
Is attractive and easy to clean.
Does not react with food.
ALONE, stainless steel is a poor conductor of heat, often heating unevenly and causing “hot spots.”
Better-performing, high-quality stainless steel cookware either has an aluminum disk or a layer of copper on the bottom of the pan to assist with heat transfer. Other pans have aluminum or copper sandwiched between layers of stainless steel, either just on the bottom or throughout the entire pan.
Highly responsive to and conductive of heat.
Tends to heat unevenly, so you can burn foods.*
Can dent or warp.*
Prone to pitting or staining.*
Reactive with acidic, alkaline and sulfurous foods (such as tomato-based dishes, cabbage, salty foods, foods that contain wine or fruit, etc.).
Can discolour acidic foods or egg-based foods.
May release some metal flavours, resulting in off colours or flavours.
May leave metal marks on glass-ceramic cooktop.
An inexpensive, all-purpose material. Pans almost always have a nonstick interior finish and often a porcelain-enamel finish on the exterior.*
* Not applicable to all.
Nonreactive with food.
Very resistant to scratching.
Not recommended for washing in an automatic dishwasher.
Many brands of high-end cookware are made from anodized aluminum.
Excellent retainer of heat.
Cooks evenly once it has reached temperature.
Heats and cools slowly.
Requires extra care as it needs to be hand-washed and seasoned after use.
Excellent for browning. Should not be used for deep-fat frying. Becomes more naturally stick-resistant with use and age. However, cast iron rusts if you are not careful. You can’t wash cast iron in the dishwasher and you shouldn’t soak it, but you can put it in the oven.
Enameled Cast Iron (or Steel) (See heating characteristics of the base material)
Naturally stick-resistant and easy to clean.
Enameled surface is highly inert.
Conducts heat slowly and holds heat.
Tends to nick or chip and wear away.
Good for stewing, simmering long-cooking dishes and braising. Available in colours.
Glass-ceramic cooking surfaces feature electric coil elements directly
under translucent glass. When the element is turned on, heat is
transmitted directly up (not sideways) to the pan. A red glow from the
coil element can be seen through the glass. The red glow will cycle on
and off as the element cycles to maintain the selected heat setting.
The elements of a glass-ceramic cooking surface will not respond to changes in heat settings as quickly as conventional coil-type elements. Start with a lower heat setting, then gradually increase the setting until the optimum temperature is reached.
The glass-ceramic cooking area retains heat for a period of time after the element has been turned off. Energy can be saved by turning off the element early and finishing the cooking on the retained heat.
For safety reasons, there are "Hot Surface" lights on the cooktop to remind users that one or more of the cooking areas is hot. The light(s) will remain on until the area(s) is cool to touch.
It's a good idea to use special cookware on glass-ceramic cooking surfaces. When the proper cookware is used, cooking times are comparable to a conventional coil cooking surface. To achieve optimum cooking performance, use heavy gauge, flat, smooth bottom, metal pans.
Correct Pan Flatness
Using flat bottoms is very important, heat transfers by conduction and if the pan is not flat, heat is not transferred well.
Likewise, the surface has a protective built-in temperature limiter that senses uneven heating. The element will cycle on and off when uneven heating is detected and food will take longer to cook.
To determine if cookware is appropriate for use on a glass-ceramic cooktop, try these simple tests:
• Place the edge of a ruler across the bottom of the pan.
• There should not be any space between the ruler edge and the bottom of the pan. Bubble Test
• Put an inch of water into the pan. Place the pan on the cooktop and turn the control to high.
• As the water heats, observe the bubble formation. If the bubbles are uniform across the bottom of the pan, it is suitable for a glass-ceramic cooking surface.
• Uneven bubble formation indicates poor pan/cooktop contact and hot spots will result.
Correct Pan Size
Matching the size of the cookware to the cooking area is important for even heating. Cookware should not extend more than 1-inch beyond the indicated cooking zones.
Correct Pan Material
Consider the characteristics of the following pan materials:
Aluminum is an excellent heat conductor. Some food will cause it to darken or pit. Anodizing improves stain resistance and hardness. Some aluminum pans cause metal marks on glass-ceramic surfaces. These marks need to be removed promptly to prevent damage. Brand names: Calphalon, Magnalite Professional*.
Stainless Steel is a slow heat conductor if used by itself. It will distribute heat very well if other metals (aluminum or copper) are sandwiched between the stainless. Brand names: Jenn-Air, Revere Pro-Line, All-Clad*.
Cast Iron is Slow to heat, but cooks very evenly once temperature is reached. Heavy. Needs seasoning to make cleaning easier and to prevent sticking and rusting. Must be very smooth, if used on glass-ceramic cooking surfaces.
Porcelain-Enamel is a glass-like substance fused to metal. Heating characteristics depend on base material (usually aluminum, stainless steel, carbon steel or cast iron). Must be smooth. Brand name: Club Supra, LeCreuset*.
Glass, Ceramic or Glass-Ceramic are slow heat conductors. Easy to clean. Some types may only be used in the oven. Not recommended on glass-ceramic cooktops.
*Brand names are registered trademarks of the respective manufacturer.
You won't necessarily have to throw out all your food! But in the event
of a power failure or appliance malfunction, you may need to take steps
to ensure the safety of perishable foods.
If possible, try to estimate how long the freezer will be off. If the power will be restored or a service technician can repair the appliance within a few hours, don't worry -- just be sure to keep the doors closed. Food in a full freezer will remain frozen for about 48 hours; a half-full freezer for about 24 hours.
After the freezer begins working again, examine the food. Meat or poultry that still contains ice crystals may be refrozen. Completely thawed foods should be cooked. After cooking, they can be frozen again.
When a refrigerator stops, you can expect your food to last 4-6 hours, depending on the warmth of the kitchen and the number of times the door is opened. If the refrigerator is off for more than six hours, adding a block of ice to the refrigerator will help keep it cool.
What's the best way to prepare food before putting it in the
When freezing foods, use a freezer wrap that is air-, moisture-, and vapour-proof, such as freezer bags, aluminum foil or select air-tight containers. Force as much air out of packages or containers as possible and be sure they are tightly sealed. Trapped air can cause the food to dry out, change colour and develop an off-flavour (freezer burn).
Fresh meats and poultry can be left in the original store wrapping when freezing for less than two weeks. For longer freezer storage, overwrap with a suitable freezer wrap.
The refrigerator freezer compartment should range from 0-5 ° F with an optimum temperature of 7 ° F. Check the temperature by placing an appliance thermometer between two frozen items. Read after 24 hours. If needed, adjust the control by one setting and check the temperature after another 24 hours.
Is there a right way or wrong way to load the freezer?
Actually, yes! You should avoid adding too much warm food to the freezer at one time. This slows the rate of freezing and can raise the temperature of already frozen foods. The result is lower food quality. As a general rule, no more than three pounds of food per cubic foot of freezer space should be added in a 24-hour period. Put packages in the coldest part of the freezer first (against the walls or bottom of the compartment). Leave space between packages so cold air can circulate.
Also, avoid storing hard-to-freeze items such as ice cream and orange juice on the freezer door shelves. These foods are best stored in the freezer interior where the temperature varies less with door openings.
Are there some foods that just shouldn't be frozen?
Some foods cannot be frozen successfully without deteriorating, including potatoes (unless mashed), citrus fruits, mayonnaise, cream fillings, cream, cooked egg whites, gelatin salads and sour cream.
What's the best way to thaw frozen foods?
The safest way to thaw foods is to place them in the refrigerator. For faster thawing, put frozen packages in a watertight plastic bag and place them in a sink of cold water. Change the water often to slow bacterial growth on the outer layers while the inner areas thaw. Foods can also be safely thawed in a microwave oven - simply follow the manufacturer's instructions.
DO NOT thaw perishable foods on the kitchen counter. Bacteria grows rapidly when food remains at room temperature.
The refrigerator's fresh food compartment should be 34 - 40° F with an
optimum temperature of 37° F. You can check the temperature of your
model by placing an appliance thermometer in a glass of water in the
centre of the refrigerator. Leave it and then read after 24 hours. If
needed, adjust the control one setting and check the temperature after
another 24 hours.
It's a good idea not to overcrowd your refrigerator shelves, as this inhibits air circulation and results in uneven cooling.
Also, to maintain the best food quality, keep the following considerations in mind for different types of food:
Meat and Cheese
Fresh meat, luncheon meat and cheese should be stored in the coldest part of the refrigerator to maximize storage time. Many refrigerators feature a special Meat/Cheese drawer designed to maintain a colder temperature within the drawer keeping foods colder without freezing. A temperature control level adjusts the amount of cold air entering the drawer.
Fruits and Vegetables
Crisper drawers are designed for fruit and vegetable storage. They trap moisture to help keep foods fresh. Controls on some crisper drawers regulate the humidity level in the drawer. As a general rule, vegetables need high humidity and most fruits require low humidity.
Sort fruits and vegetables before storing. Bruised or crushed pieces decay more quickly and contaminate good pieces. Wrap odourous foods such as onions.
Most dairy foods have freshness dates on their cartons, so you know how long you can safely store them. These foods should be refrigerated immediately after purchase and each use. Close cartons tightly to keep out air and odors.
Occasionally, mould develops on the surface of hard cheese (Swiss, Cheddar, Parmesan). Cut off at least an inch around and below the mouldy area. The remaining cheese will still be flavourful and safe to eat. DO NOT try to save individual cheese slices, soft cheese, cottage cheese, cream, sour cream, or yogourt when mould appears.
Eggs in the shell retain their quality well when refrigerated. Maximum storage is 4-5 weeks. Avoid using cracked eggs. Store eggs on a refrigerator shelf in the original carton or place in the Egg Cradle for easy access.
Corked wines should be stored in a horizontal position to prevent the cork from drying and shrinking. Storing wine bottles in an upright position lets air into the wine and causes it to spoil. Some refrigerators have a wine rack to store wine properly without using valuable shelf space.