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Food Reference: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
What Can I Substitute for Buttermilk in Recipes?
A variety of options for substituting buttermilk in recipes.
How to Order Your Eggs: Menu Terminology for...
Learn how to use the correct terminology to order eggs just the way you like them.
The Scoop on Tapioca: Origin, Uses, and More
Tapioca is a starch extracted from the cassava root and is used in culinary applications as a thickener and binding agent.
The Five Basic Sauces
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You Can Thank Molasses for Your Pina Colada
Molasses is the dark, rich, slightly sweet byproduct of the sugar making process. It is used as a sweetener and flavoring in many baked goods, as well as classic Boston baked beans.
How Cellulose is Used in Your Food
Cellulose is a popular food additive used as a stabilizer, emulsifier, thickener, calorie reducer, and anti-caking agent. Although cellulose is found in almost all plant matter, it is often derived from wood pulp or cotton.
How We Like Our Sriracha: Origin and Uses
Sriracha Sauce is a multi-purpose hot sauce that is deliciously addictive.
Citric Acid and Your Food: What It Is and How...
Citric acid is a weak organic acid found in many fruits and vegetables. On an industrial level, citric acid is produced with the help of special mold, and used as a flavor enhancer and preservative in food.
Why Does Milk Curdle -- and When Is It a Good...
Milk curdles for a variety of reasons, some good and some bad. When you understand the mechanism behind why milk curdles, it becomes a lot less frightening.
Cornmeal vs. Grits vs. Polenta
Cornmeal, grits, and polenta are all ground corn products. Find out how they are similar and what makes each unique.
What You Need to Know about Chayotes
Chayotes are a light green, pear shaped fruit that are common in Mexico and other warm climates. Their mild flesh has a crisp texture and a mild flavor similar to a cucumber or summer squash.
Don't Have Extra Large Eggs? Here Are Egg Size...
Convert the number of eggs a recipe calls for into a different sized egg and maintain the same volume.
Mayonnaise Vs. Aioli
Mayonnaise and aioli have almost become synonymous in the American culinary scene as Chef's scramble to make humble mayonnaise sound more appealing. Although the two sauces have similarities, they are actually quite different.
There's More to Know about Chorizo
Chorizo is a variety of heavily seasoned sausage, either cured or fresh, that is common in Spanish and Mexican cuisine.
What Is Oyster Sauce?
Oyster sauce is a sweet and savory sauce with a deep earthy flavor provided by oyster juices that have been cooked down and caramelized. This all purpose sauce is great on noodles, stir fry, meat, seafood, and vegetables.
The Cookie Debate: Soft or Crispy (Here's How...
Some people like soft cookies, others like crispy. You can determine the texture, color, and shape of your cookies by using the right ingredients! Review this handy guide to tweak your favorite cookie recipe and get the results you like.
How to Keep Avocados From Turning Brown
No one likes to let leftover avocado go to waste. Use these tips to keep a cut avocado fresh and green.
What is Shortening?
Shortening is any type of solid fat used to prevent the formation of gluten in baked goods. Discover the varieties of shortening, how they work, and how they are used.
Annatto: A Natural Dye, Medicine, and Food...
Annatto, a popular food coloring, is made from the seeds of the achiote tree. Annatto is also a popular ingredient in South and Central American cuisine.
Back to the Sweetener Basics: What is White...
White sugar is crystalline sucrose, comes in many varieties, and is responsible for many chemical reactions in cooking and baking.
How Salt Gets to Your Dinner Table
Humans have been making salt since the beginning of time. Today there are two main methods for making salt: sea water evaporation and mining of rock salt.
How to Know If an Egg Is Fresh: 3 Methods
Learn a variety of methods to test eggs for freshness. Plus, what you can do with eggs that are less than fresh.
Beef Steak Varieties
There are many different types of beef steak available, each with its own flavor, texture, and appropriate method for cooking. Before you head out to your local steakhouse or invite your neighbors over for some backyard grilling, review these basic types of beef steak.
The History of Doughnuts
This history of doughnuts including the origin, name, shape, automation, and doughnuts today.
What Every Chef Should Know: Ways to Cook with...
Moist heat cooking methods use water, steam, or another liquid to transfer heat to food for cooking. There are many methods of moist heat cooking, each of which will produce different results.
10 Ways Fat Affects Food (The Good and The Bad)
Fats and oils play many important rolls in the creation and enjoyment of the food we eat. From flavor to texture and nutrition, fats greatly impact the quality of food.
The Art and Science of Cheese-Making
Cheese making can be a simple and quick or a lengthy process involving many steps. From curdling to aging and ripening, cheese making is an art form that has taken millennia to perfect.
Nut Nutritional Comparison Chart
Most nuts are high in fiber, protein, and healthy fats. But how do nuts compare side by side? Use this quick reference chart to compare the nutritional content of common nuts.
What is Arrowroot Powder?
Arrowroot powder is a white, flavorless powder made from the starch of the arrowroot plant and is used for thickening sauces and other food products.
Tips and Tricks to Whipping Egg Whites Like a Pro
There is a science to whipping egg whites into the perfect airy foam. Use these tips to get the most volume out of your egg whites for perfect meringues and angel food cakes!
Yeast Conversions
Use this quick reference conversion chart to determine how much yeast to use when you don't have the variety of yeast listed in a recipe.
How to Make Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs
How to Make Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs - Step 5: Cover the pot and let sit for 15 minutes. Page 5.
Everything a Chef Should Know about Lentils
Lentils are a small, disc shaped legume that is high in protein and fiber. Lentils are an inexpensive source of protein and are a staple food in many cultures throughout the world.
What is Corn Starch?
Corn starch is used in cooking as a thickening agent for soups, sauces, stews, casseroles, pies, and more.
Navigate the Baking Aisle Like a Pro: Your...
There are many varieties of flour on the market today and with a little basic knowledge you’ll be able to navigate the baking aisle like a pro. Learn about the components, characteristics and best uses for the most common varieties of flour.
What is Kefir?
This cultured milk product originated in Eastern Europe but has gained widespread popularity for its flavor and frothy, slightly carbonated texture.
What is Brown Sugar?
Brown sugar contains molasses, which is responsible for its rich color and flavor. Learn about the varieties of brown sugar, including sugar in the raw, turbinado, Muscovado, and demerara, as well as how to make your own brown sugar and how to soften brown sugar.
What are Dutch Ovens?
Dutch ovens are a multi-purpose piece of cookware that can be used to saute, fry, bake, roast, braise, or stew. Le Creuset and Lodge are two popular manufacturers of cast iron Dutch ovens.
Marmite
Marmite is a salty, savory spread made from yeast extract that is popular in the United Kingdom and New Zealand. Learn all about Marmite including history, uses, nutritional content, and where to buy.
Why Does Cilantro Taste Soapy?
You either love or hate cilantro, but what makes people feel so strongly about it? A closer look at why cilantro can taste soapy or metallic to some, but delicious to others.
What is Quinoa?
Quinoa is a small, high protein seed that is cooked and eaten similar to grains.
What Exactly Does "Natural Flavor" Mean?
Natural Labels, Natural Flavors, Artificial Flavors, Ingredient Labels, USDA, FDA, CSPI, FTC
Minimum Internal Cooking Temperatures
Keep your food safe and protect yourself from foodborne illness by consulting the FDA recommended minimum internal cooking temperatures.
Functions of Salt in Food
Everyone knows that salt adds great flavor to food and that it has been used as a food preservative for thousands of years, but salt also has many other surprising functions in food!
Marinating Dos and Don'ts: Tips for Flavorful...
Marinating tenderizes meat and infuses flavor. These helpful hints will make your marinade effective and flavorful!
Emergency Baking Substitutions
Ingredients that can be used as emergency substitutions for common baking ingredients.
USDA Beef Grades
The USDA beef grading system is based on the meat's maturity and level of fat marbling, both of which are good indicators of the meat's tenderness. The grading system is voluntary and designates eight distinct grades of meat.
Coffee Primer
Learn the basics on how coffee is made, different coffee varieties, and how to properly store coffee for optimum flavor.
The Twinkie Myth
Dispelling the myth that the popular snack cake, Twinkies, will stay fresh for years, even decades and can survive a nuclear war.
The Many Practical Uses of Baking Soda in the...
Baking soda is a natural chemical leavening agent that is commonly used in quick breads and other batter based recipes.
What is Yeast?
Yeast is a single celled organism with a wide variety of applications in food production.
Dry Heat Cooking Methods
Dry heat cooking methods use air, metal, fat, or radiation to transfer heat to food. Dry heat cooking use high temperatures and include techniques such as baking, broiling, grilling, frying, and roasting.
What is Buttermilk?
Buttermilk is a unique dairy product that provides a one of a kind flavor and plays an important role in the science of cooking. Learn more about the tradition, uses, and varieties of buttermilk on the market today.
Tian
A tian is a popular way to eat roasted vegetables.
What is vinegar?
Vinegar can be made from a variety of substances and provides unique flavors in food.
It's in Your Food: What Is Xanthan Gum?
Xanthan gum is a polysaccharide created by bacteria during fermentation of carbohydrates. Because it creates a gel with water, it is added to food products to enhance the appearance, texture, and stability.
Glossary of Baking Terms
A collection of short definitions for the most common terms used in baking.
Methods of Food Preservation
Common methods of food preservation and the mechanisms behind them. From ancient to new, how humans keep food safe and delicious.
The New Superfood: Everything You Need to Know...
Kale is a green, leafy vegetable that is part of the cabbage family.
What is Thyme?
Thyme is a culinary herb that is heavily used in the cuisines of southern Europe and the mediterranean region. Thyme pairs well with everything from meat, beans, and eggs to cheese and tomatoes.
What is Sambal?
Sambal sauce is a spicy condiment made primarily of chili peppers.
SPAM: The Meat of a Million Uses
Spam is a spiced canned ham product that rose to popularity during World War II. Although designed as a luncheon meat, Spam now has hundreds of uses. Spam is no longer just the canned mystery meat but it is now a pop culture icon.
What are Marshmallows?
Marshmallows are a popular candy with a history dating back to the ancient Egyptians. These fluffy white treats are a big part of American traditions today.
Cookie Troubleshooting Guide
If your cookies are burned, pale, misshapen, or otherwise not good, use this cookie troubleshooting guide to determine what the problem might be.
Here's What You Should Know about Prosciutto
Prosciutto is a salt cured, dry aged Italian ham. Prosciutto has a delicate, buttery texture and is often served thinly sliced.
What is Ascorbic Acid?
Discover what ascorbic acid is, where it can be found in nature, how it is manufactured commercially, and why it is used in our food.
The 10 Types of Cooking, Baking, and Brewing...
There are many forms of yeast on the market today including instant, active dry, rapid rise, fresh, and nutritional yeast. Discover the difference between the varieties of yeast and the best application for each.
How to Order Espresso Like a Pro: Your Go-To...
A glossary of coffee and espresso drink terms to help you navigate your way through your local cafe menu.
The History of Popcorn
Popcorn is a popular snack food that is enjoyed across the globe and dates back thousands of years. Discover popcorn's long history of being loved by many cultures!
How to Get More Juice From Lemons & Limes
Employ one of these two kitchen tricks to get the most juice out of your lemons and limes without having to squeeze more.
What Are Chia Seeds?
Chia seeds are one of the hottest super foods, boasting high fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants.
The Science of Kneading Dough
Kneading bread dough allows loafs to be light and fluffy, but how does it work? Learn the science behind kneading dough.
What is Gelatin?
Gelatin is an animal protein that creates a gel when combined with liquid and helps thicken or solidify many food products.
Turkey Thawing Time Chart
Preparing roasted turkey takes time and preparation. Use this handy chart to determine how much time is needed to thaw a frozen turkey.
What is Creme Fraiche?
Creme fraiche is a cultured dairy product that is popular in Europe and gaining momentum in the United States. Similar to sour cream but with a higher butterfat content, creme fraiche is used as a topping and ingredient in many dishes, both savory and sweet.
Scallop Basics
Scallops are a mollusk with sweet, tender flesh that provides low fat protein and valuable omega-3 fatty acids.
"Sell By" vs. "Best By" Dates on Food
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Filipino Adobo
Adobo, a tangy, salty dish of stewed meat, is the quintessential dish of the Philippines.
Ricotta Cheese
Ricotta is a fresh Italian cheese with a mild flavor that can be used in a variety of savory and sweet dishes.
Your Pastry Troubleshooting Guide: Common...
Making a perfect pastry is as much a science as it is an art. Learn the common pitfalls in pastry making and how to prevent them.
What is Guinness?
Guinness is a traditional dark Irish stout with a rich, complex flavor and a thick, frothy head.
What is Hoisin Sauce?
Hoisin sauce is an all-purpose sauce used in Asian cooking. It is often compared to American barbecue sauce because of its variety of uses and sweet, salty, tangy, and slightly spicy flavor.
Beginners Sushi Glossary
A beginners guide to basic sushi related terminology. A glossary of words common to sushi.
Kimchi
Kimchi is one of the hottest food trends today and it’s easy to see why. With a complex flavor, a variety of uses, and an all-star nutritional scorecard, kimchi seems to have it all.
Curry Powder
Curry powder is a blend of spices used to flavor a variety of Indian and Southeast Asian dishes.
Winter Squash Varieties
There are several types of winter squash that can be found in grocery stores and farmers markets. Find out what sets each one apart and how they are best used.
All About Soy Sauce: Ingredients, Varieties,...
Soy sauce is a thin, brown, liquid made from fermented soy beans. Soy sauce has a strong umami flavor and is used frequently in Asian cuisine as both a condiment and ingredient in everyday cooking.
What is Butter?
Butter is a spread made from the milk of mammals that consists of milk solids, or proteins, fat, and a small amount of water. Learn about the different varieties of butter and how to properly store your butter for maximum freshness.
What is Sage?
Sage is a culinary herb with dusty green-grey leaves and an earthy flavor. Sage is well known for its use in sausages and stuffing.
Fat Substitutes for Baking
There are many options for replacing fat in recipes with other, more healthful ingredients. Use these lower fat substitutes for the oil, butter, or shortening in your baked goods.
What is Baking Powder?
What baking powder is chemically, how it differs from baking soda, why it's used to make cakes baked goods light and fluffy, how you can test it.
What is Nutmeg?
Nutmeg is the seed of the nutmeg tree that can be ground into a powder and used as a spice. Nutmeg is wonderful for flavoring both sweet and savory dishes.
What is Jambalaya?
Jambalaya is a hearty mix of meat, vegetables, rice, and sometimes seafood. This dish has been popular in the Southeast United States, especially Louisiana, for centuries.
Anatomy of a Marinade
Marinades are used to add flavor to meat. There are three basic components to every marinade that can be customized to provide any flavor you wish.
What is Ice Cream?
Ice cream is a popular frozen dessert made out of cream, milk, sugar, and other ingredients. It has been popular since the creation of refrigeration.
Turkey Terminology
Decoding the label on a turkey can be difficult. Use this list of turkey terminology to understand what you're purchasing this holiday season.
Boiling Point of Water at Various Altitudes
As your altitude increases, the boiling point of water decreases. Check your altitude to see if you are cooking at a lower temperature than expected.
The Scoville Scale
The Scoville Scale is a system for rating the perceived heat of a pepper or food based on the level of capsaicin it contains.
What is Bitterness?
Bitterness on its own is not a desirable flavor, but when combined with other elements it can be used to create a complex and enjoyable flavor palate.
What is Caramel?
Caramel is a candy made by boiling sugar until it becomes golden brown and achieves its characteristically deep flavor.
What is Corned Beef?
Corned beef is a type of salt cured meat that is traditionally eaten during St. Patrick's Day celebrations and is a common deli item year round.
What are Goji Berries?
Goji berries are a small red fruit native to the Himalayan region of Asia and are loved for their bright red flavor, sweet-tart flavor, and high nutrient content.
Smoking Points of Fats & Oils
Each type of fat and oil has a unique smoke point, or the temperature at which the oil begins to smoke. This table lists the smoke point for various cooking fats and oils.
All About Leavening
There are many methods to leavening breads and baked goods but they can be divided into three categories: physical, biological, and chemical.
What is Agave Nectar?
Agave nectar is a popular vegan sweetener that is also loved for its low glycemic index.
What is Eggnog?
Eggnog is a traditional holiday beverage made with milk, sugar, eggs, and alcohol. Eggnog is popular in the United States and Canada and is often served at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's celebrations.
How to Cook Lentils
Lentils should be sorted and rinsed prior to cooking. Page 2.
What is Couscous?
Couscous is a small, granular pasta made out of semolina wheat flour.
What is Gelato?
Gelato is an Italian frozen dessert that is often compared to ice cream.
What is Sesame Oil?
Sesame oil is widely used in Asian cooking and is prized for its flavor and antioxidant content. The variety of sesame oil you buy will dictate how and when it should be used.
What is Agar-Agar?
Agar-agar is a algae derived polysaccharide used to thicken food. It is a popular vegetarian substitution for animal derived gelatin.
What is Miso?
Miso is a paste made from fermented soybeans or other grains like rice or barley. This salty, flavorful paste is used extensively in Asian cooking.
Weight Conversions
Weight conversions are an important step when doubling or halving a recipe. Get a complete chart of metric and imperial weight conversions as well as a list of key conversions.
What is Worcestershire Sauce?
Worcestershire sauce is a savory, sweet, and tangy fermented sauce made from malt vinegar, anchovies, molasses, and other seasonings.
What is Canola Oil?
Canola oil has become a popular cooking oil because of its light flavor and heart healthy mix of essential fatty acids.
What are Nuts?
Technically, what we call. Food Reference.
Classic Spice and Herb Blends
These classic blends of herbs and spices have withstood the test of time. From French fines herbes to Jamaican jerk seasoning, find out what they consist of and how they are best used.
What is Rye?
Rye is a grain used to make bread, beer, whiskey, and other products. It is low in gluten and high in protein and other nutrients.
What is Fortified Wine?
Fortified wines are wines to which a distilled spirit has been added. They tend to be sweeter and have a higher alcohol content than regular wines.
What is Edamame?
Edamame are immature soybeans that are steamed or boiled and usually served as an appetizer or snack.
What are Chestnuts?
Chestnuts are a popular snack and holiday treat during the winter months. They offer a unique nutritional composition and can be cooked a variety of ways.
What is Rosemary?
Rosemary is an aromatic herb, most often used to season meat, that has a pine-like scent and appearance.
What are Pepitas?
Pumpkin seeds are sometimes called pepitas and are a common snack food, especially in the fall. Pepitas have a wide range of culinary uses and have a high nutritional content.
What is Pasteurization?
Many food products, including dairy, juices, beer, and wine are pasteurized to reduce the number of pathogenic organisms and prevent food borne illnesses.
Jasmine Rice
Jasmine rice is an aromatic rice with a mellow nutty flavor that is popular in Southeast Asian cuisine.
What is Bacon?
Bacon is a popular breakfast item in the United States made from the salt cured and smoked side of pork. Learn about bacon varieties, products, and general bacon facts.
What is Champagne?
Champagne is a variety of sparkling wine produced in the Champagne region of France. It derrives it's unique bubbles from a second fermentation process within the bottle.
High Altitude Cooking Tips
The science behind high altitude cooking and tips to help achieve great results when cooking and baking at high altitudes.
Volume Conversions
Volume conversions are an important step when doubling or halving a recipe. Get a complete chart of volume conversions in imperial units as well as information on converting between imperial and metric units.
How to Tell Meat is Done
Although an internal meat thermometer is the most accurate way to determine the doneness of a piece of meat, there are many other clues including, color, texture, and moisture content. Use all of these cues to tell whether your meat is rare, medium, or well-done.
Why Does Popcorn Pop?
Popping corn requires a unique mix of chemistry and physics. Find out how the magic happens when you make your favorite movie time snack!
All About Food Additives
It's easy to be alarmed at the foreign words listed on an ingredient list, but it's always best to make an informed decision. Learn about food additives, where they come from, how they are made, and why they are used.
Safe Handling - Meat & Poultry
Simple steps when purchasing, preparing, and cooking meat and poultry can prevent food borne illnesses.
Slow Cooker Do's and Don'ts
The Do's and Don'ts of using a slow cooker, plus quick tips to make your slow cooker safe and effective.
Table Salt, Kosher Salt, Finishing Salt: What's...
There are many varieties of salt, each containing a unique blend of minerals that provide color, flavor, and texture to food.
Balsamic Vinegar Grades
There are three main grades of balsamic vinegar. The quality and methods used to make the vinegar can be deciphered by the wording on the label.
What are Pecans?
Pecans are grown on the Hickory tree and are native to the south central region of the United States and Mexico. They are a popular ingredient in traditional southern cooking and are prized for not only their flavor but their health benefits.
Coconut Cream, Milk and Water
Many food products can be made from coconuts, including coconut cream, coconut milk, and coconut water. Each has its own characteristics and culinary uses.
Salmon Varieties
Salmon are an oily cold water fish prized for its high fat content and creamy texture. There are several varieties of salmon and each has its own characteristics. Learn the differences between salmon varieties to make shopping easier.
What is Umami?
Umami is one of the five taste sensation and can be described as savory, meaty, or brothy. Although its flavor is subtle, it plays a major roll in the sensory experience of eating.
What is Old Bay Seasoning?
Old Bay Seasoning is a classic blend of herbs and spices used to season seafood and many other dishes.
Kitchen Knife Primer
Using the correct knife in the kitchen can make tasks easier and safer. The shape, size, and type of blade create unique assets to each knife. Learn the basics about the most common types kitchen knives and how each should be used.
How Long Should I keep my Food?
Using your nose to determine if food has gone bad is not only inaccurate, but it can be quite dangerous. Use this guide to help determine how long you should keep your food to stay safe and prevent food borne illness.
Bar Glossary
A glossary of bar, liquor, and cocktail terminology.
Edible Seeds
A list of the most common edible seeds, their nutrients, and culinary uses.
Salmon Buying Tips
With all the varieties of salmon available for purchase today, making the right choice can be confusing. Use these tips for buying salmon to make sure you get the most delicious and healthy fish available.
Vinegar Varieties
A brief description of the most common varieties of vinegar found in grocery stores.
Egg Glossary
A glossary of words and terminology related to eggs.
What are Papayas?
Papayas are a large tropical fruit with many edible parts and a variety of culinary uses.
What are Soybeans?
Soybeans are an edible bean with a high protein and oil content. They are used to make several different consumer products and enjoyed around the world.
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