Kitchen tips for a healthy life

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Here are some things to keep in mind while cooking.

Can you store coconut milk in the fridge?
If grated coconut is kept in room temperature for more than half an hour, it will get spoiled. The same goes for extracted milk from coconut. If you need to use coconut or coconut milk later, keep it in a closed container inside the fridge. Do not store until the next day. Unless you live in a colder place. In Kerala, it’s advisable to store the grated coconut and extracted coconut milk in the freezer.

How long can fish and meat be stored in the fridge?
During earlier days, leftover meat and fish were salted and stored. The next day they will be washed, cleaned, and cooked. But nowadays, there are people who store fish and meat in the freezer for weeks. If it is a deep freezer used in cold storage, meat and fish can be kept intact for up to a week. But it is not advisable to do the same in your home freezer. When the freezer is opened from time to time, germs tend to cling to the food that is left open. Always make sure to thoroughly wash and clean the meat and fish and keep it in a sealed container in a freezer. Never keep unwashed fish inside the freezer. Also once you have taken fish or meat from the freezer, use it fully. Don’t keep it back again for storage. And ideally, use them within a week.

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Is it ok to add ordinary water to boiled drinking water?
Boiled water reduces the risk of pathogenic germs. However, when cold water is added to boiling water, the temperature of the water is reduced by half. At this temperature, the germs in the cold water may not get completely destroyed. So it is better not to add cold water to boiling water.

Can we use pickles after removing the mold on top?
If pickles without preservatives are kept in the open, the fungus will start to appear. The fungus will be white, black and at other times be very colourful. If you keep the pickle outside for 2 or 3 days, the fungus will be there. Most of us are likely to remove the fungus with a spoon and use it. But then, any kind of fungus can be dangerous. Make sure not to offer that pickle to the elderly or children. Avoid using pickles infested with black fungus. It is also dangerous to consume fungus-infected lentils. If you want to find out if your homemade pickles are bad, we have a simple tip—Check to make sure the jar is not leaking, bulging, or cracked. When you open the jar, inspect your pickles. A white film or foam on the top of the jar means the produce has spoiled. If you notice the food has changed color or smell, it's best to toss it.

Also, you can preserve pickles without adding any preservatives. Some of the ingredients added in our homemade pickle are turmeric, salt, oil, jaggery, mustard, cumin seed, dried chilli powder, and tamarind and they act as natural preservatives. Also, keep it in a glass jar and always try to avoid any contact with water.

Things to keep in mind while boiling eggs and making omelets
Eggs laid by hens infected with salmonella can also contain germs. Those who consume these eggs without boiling them properly will also get infected. Make sure you boil an egg for 7 minutes and cook an omelette for 3 minutes to keep it germ-free.

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Things to keep in mind while using Chinese food
Chinese food, especially fried rice can cause food poisoning to many. The poisoning is caused by the bacillus bacteria found in the rice used to make fried rice. These bacteria tend to survive in food that remains undercooked. A few hours after consuming fried rice you will have tummy ache and vomiting. The best way to kill germs is to boil the rice at a high temperature while preparing the fried rice.

Also when you're choosing sauces, stick to brands that aren't overloaded with salt or MSG. You don't need to find a sauce that has an entirely clean deck, but avoid those that have an unbalanced, overall very salty flavour. When you are picking soya sauce go for good brands. Some soy sauces have been watered down or haven't been fermented properly and have salt and other fillers added. Soy sauce is not about just the salt, it’s about that rounded umami flavour. Too salty, you know they’ve just added salt. Light soy sauce is the first fermentation. It’s the first press of the soybeans, so it’s lighter in colour. It also tends to be saltier and is used for seasoning. Dark soy sauce has been fermented for longer so it’s deep, thick, and higher-viscosity and used to add richness of colour. It’s also not as salty and it’s used for braised dishes and for marinating.

Importantly use a wok while cooking your fried rice and stir-fried veggies. A saucepan is the wrong shape because it has a wide base – when you’re cooking with it, you’re chasing the food around as opposed to the food falling to the centre. It’s the curvature of the wok that allows you to toss the food and for it to be cooked evenly.

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