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  Cooking Skills - Basic Ingedients
 

Basic ingredients need to be understood.  Which ones are dry, which are wet, which are perishable, which will keep, which need chilled storage, which are Fair trade, Free-from, Light and so on.  

 

I believe we have seen real and dramatic change in recent years. Nowadays the decisions one has to make when selecting supermarket products are multitudinous.  For a new cook it can be intimidating, so here goes on sorting out classifications of basic ingredients. 

Type of product: such as dry, fresh, tinned, processed, frozen, chilled, condiments is a way of classifying foods.


Dry goods:  flour, sugars, rice, pasta, cornflour, dried spices, dried herbs, stuffings, dried fruits, nuts.  Store in a cupboard.
 

Fresh goods: vegetables, fruits, meats, fish, potatoes, salad ingredients need cool storage but not always the refrigerator. Fresh food is sometimes known as perishable food because the storage life is limited. Perishable foods 


Tinned: all produce are preserved almost indefinitely through the canning process.  It is a wonderful technology that produces edible food, safe food and in regulated measured amounts.  The consistency of tinned food is remarkable.  The effect on food products sometimes renders an end product that is quite dis-similar to the original raw state, pineapple for instance.  The use of juice, either sweet syrup, natural fruit juice or salt water also affects the nutritive value of the product.  However the reliability and convenience of tinned food is sometimes underestimated.  Store in dry cupboard.

Dairy produce: milks, creams, yoghurts, butter, cheeses (hard, soft and cream)

Processed Food: 
Frozen foods: all manner of food products can be frozen and require packaging to retain the product in good condition.  Damaged packaging can result in ‘freezer burn’ which causes dry and tough patches on meat eg: chicken portions.  Some frozen food is raw and requires cooking after thawing  eg: chicken portions, pastry.  Some frozend food can be cooked from frozen eg. peas, wedgies, pizza.  
Some frozen products are assembled and ready-to-cook eg pies, lasagne, pizza.  Store in Freezer at minus 18 C.

Chilled foods:  Margarines, spreads,  ready-meals, desserts, salad ingredients, ready-to-eat pies, pasties, quiches, ready-to-use pastry. (This section includes dairy foods)  Store food in refrigerator below 5C.


Condiments: chutney, sauces, ketchups, mustards, vinegar, soy sauce, curry sauces, plum sauce.  Store in cupboard.


Categories for basic ingredients could be linked to your storage areas:

  • stockroom products, dry and dark cupboard
  • refrigerator products, below 5 C, or chilled products at 2 C
  • shelf storage at ambient (20C)  temperature
  • freezer storage at minus 18C in a freezer


Nutritional basics using the The Eatwell Plate based on five food groups:

  • bread, rice, potatoes, pasta and other starchy foods
  • fruit and vegetables
  • milk and dairy foods
  • meat, fish, eggs, beans and other non-dairy sources of protein
  • foods and drinks high in fat and/or sugar

Fair Trade foods: such as cocoa, chocolate, tea and other Fair Trade products.

Based on 10 principles:

1: Opportunities created for economically disadvantaged producers.

2: Transparency and accountability

3: Fair trading practices

4:  Payment of a fair price

5: Ensuring no child labour or forced labour

6: Commitment to non-discrimintation

7: Ensuring good working principles.

8: Promoting Fair Trade

9: Sustainable capacity building

10: Respect for the environment.

 

 

 



 

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