Food and Preservation



Put lemons in a glass jar, fill it with water, screw lid tight. Refrigerate. Change water every 3rd day. Lemons stored this way will keep good for almost a month.


Pine nuts may be roasted prior in large quantity, if used often, and packed in a freezer proof bag. These can be kept in the freezer for months without losing flavour. Do not allow moisture to touch nuts.


Always store aamras and other such mango dishes in non-metal containers before serving. The ras may discolour in other metal containers.


To preserve amla murabba better, tilt jar around each day, to keep all amla coated with syrup. This way the upper ones won't dry out.


Place jam and other preserve jars in cupboards where air can circulate around, as also no moisture leaks into jams. If caps are also screwtight and airtight, there there is no reason you preserves should go bad for months. Also while place them there, line shelf with newspaper under which anti-insect powder has been sprinkled. This way ants,etc. will not find their way to your sweet delights.!


If large quantities are prepared, or more varieties are prepared, then sterilise a big batch of jars and keep ready in a large sterilised steel container or sealed (with sticking tape) clean thermocol box.


Wrap half cut raw mangoes in clingfilm before storing in refrigerator. The mango will stay fresh longer as also its odour will not permeate other products like milk and desserts.


Ripen raw mangoes in cardboard boxes lined with old newspapers and layered with dry straw. This way it is easier to pile the fruit without spoiling as well as they will ripen faster and more evenly.


Freeze puree of grilled and mashed brinjals, and add to gravy vegetables to add that typical brinjal flavour or even thicken a gravy, in a jiffy. Add a little salt, lemon juice and turmeric to the puree before freezing.


Shell very fresh tender green gram, fill into freezer bags, remove trapped air, freeze. The gram will be fresh for 2-3 weeks. Thaw to room temperature before using.


Keep rolled puris in the fridge for 5 to 10 minutes before frying them,they will consume less oil,and be more crispy when fried after 10 minutes. -- KSS


If you have too many vegetables stocked in the refrigerator and are worried about them getting Bad and wasted, prepare some fillings, stuffings, gravies, as per available vegetables, and freeze In small containers, to use when required much later. This way you can even store up before You leave for a journey. On return, you will have precooked dishes, so meals can be prepared in A jiffy without too much effort.


Put a firm banana for company with still to ripen tomatoes, into a closed basket or a loose Plastic bag. They will ripen very fast.


If not using tea leaves for a long time, pour into clean ziplock bag, remove excess air, seal tight And place in an airtight container, to lock it freshness in. Especially so when you are going to Lock up home for a while.


Store plain flour in clean ziplock bags in refrigerator, to keep insects from attacking it. This way the flour will stay fresh much longer.


Wrap green leafy vegetables in old newspaper before putting in the vegetable bag or tray. This will make them last and keep fresh much longer.


Do not throw away drained marinade liquid. Refrigerate and use to season stirfried veggies or steamed rice.


Crusts removed from bread for making sanwiches, etc. can be sun or oven dried till brittle. Then run in a mixie, to form fine breadcrumbs. Refrigerate and use as required.


To make vegetable stock, boil veggies like carrots, cabbage, celery, potato, etc. in plenty of water. When cooked keep aside till cooled. Drain the water and use as stock, use veggies in dishes like pav bhaji, thick soups, gravies, kababs, etc. Or just a spicy tasty vegetable out them.


To save time, dry ground powders can be made ahead, and stored in tight containers when you have more free time. Use when required. Masala powder that use coconut must be kept in the refrigerator.


Always keep a couple of boiled potatoes, in their jackets, stocked in the refrigerator. They come in handy to make dishes in a jiffy, be a vegetable, chaat, pulao, or paratha. They keep good for 4-5 days if properly stored. Peel when required.


If curds is too sour tie for 10 minutes in a muslin cloth, to remove the sour whey. Use the residual curds to proceed after adding a little milk. Do not throw away the whey. Use to knead dough for paratbas, or soak silver trinkets and brush with soap water to clean them. Or scrub copper of copper bottom vessels to make them sparkling clean.








Do not throw away the drained water in which dal is boiled. Use it as stock for soup, dal or even a gravy vegetable.


In US Tomato Juice is available in large cans. This is very convenient for making rasam and other dishes which require the usage of tomato. I normally buy a large can pour it in the Ice cube containers in the freezer (normally used to make ice). I store these cubes in a ziplock bag and use them. They are very convenient and rasam and other dishes taste very good with these too. -- Lakshmi Chicago


Cut bhindi an hour before frying or stuff to make stuffed okra and refrigerate at least for half an hour before making, to cook it fast and blend the taste well too.


Store leftover dough and filling in freezer (properly packed) to make fresh parathas when required. Take care to thaw the ingredients before using.


To make the task less tedious prepare the taco shells and salsa dip a day or two in advance, since the shells will stay fresh for even over a week if stored in an airtight container.


When removing rind of oranges or lemons take care not to include the white pithy part, or the rind will taste bitter. To store, either air dry or dry in a microwave after cutting or grating. Store in an airtight jar.


To make things easier, prepare enough to to make some tacos, some enchiladas, and even nacho chips. Store separately as shown in recipes and use as desired.


Pressurecook lots of tomatoes, with adding water to them. Make puree in blender. Strain, cool, freeze in icetrays. When set, remove and fill in freezer polybags. Use cubes as required in recipes.


Grate excess fresh coconut, fill in clean freezer bags, and freeze. After thawing for use, wash with water 2-3 times, for coconut as good as fresh.


Excess batter may be stored in the fridge for 2-3 days without turning sour. Do not add salt to that batter beforehand, and cover with a plaintain leaf. Add salt and mix a few hours before using.


Sprinkle salt in tamarind before storing, to keep away the worms. Dry well in sun till a little stiff, cool indoors for few hours and then add salt. 1 fistful to a kilogram of tamarind. Store in airtight plastic or glass container.


Toast a few slices of bread till crisp. Grind into fine bread crumbs. Store in a tight glass jar. Use as a handy thickener for gravies, soups, etc., if they feel too watery.


To save time, boil extra channa drain, freeze in freezable polybags, thaw to room temperature before using. Proceed as for freshly boiled channa. Add a bayleaf or two while boiling lentils, gives a better flavour.


Store chopped vegetables in airtight plastic containers in the fridge to keep from browning and drying up.


If there is a lot of leftover paneer crumbs, dry in a warm oven. Fry till crisp and store in the fridge. Soften in boiling water, drain and add to thicken gravies of any vegetables and curries.


Make tomato puree in bulk. Transfer to ice cube trays and freeze. Put the frozen cubes in a thick polythene bag. Store in the freezer and use reddy puree cubes as required. Will keep for over 3 weeks in the freezer.


Don't throw away old toothbrushes. They form excellent scrubbers for so many places, eg. crevices in tiles, inlaid furniture, grooves in vessels, sieves, meshes, waffle irons, etc.


Save the stems of colocasia leaves. Peel outer skin and chop fine. Add as garnish to a salad or stirfry and add to clear soup.


Make small quantities of many types of butters, so that with very little extra effort, you can provide yourself or family with a wide choice and variety to cater to many tastes.


Adding a little dry rice to sugar while grinding it, will keep it from becoming lumpy.


If fish is to be stored for more than a day, clean it, rub with salt, turmeric and if liked, a dash of vinegar before freezing.


Store nail polish bottles in the refrigerator to prevent the polish from drying up.


Soak almonds in water overnight if you want to remove skin. The skin will come off much faster than that soaked in hot water for a short time. The almonds will not discolour also. Any extras may be sundried till crisp and stored for months in airtight jars.


If curd has turned sour, tie in cloth for a while (1/2-1 hour) remove in bowl add enough milk to get required consistency, beat well. The sourness will be gone. Use in raithas, rices, etc.


To freeze stock of your choice, eg., tomato, mixed vegetable as above, spinach, etc., prepare thick stock and cool to room temperature. Transfer to icecube trays and freeze to make solid cubes. Remove cubes and transfer to a freezable polythene bag, with an airseal. Remove excess air, seal tight. Store in freezer and use cubes as required.


Place some soda bicarb open in a small shallow dish in the fridge. This will disallow odours of one dish mixing into another. Eg. milk and guavas.


Store chopped vegetables in airtight plastic containers in the fridge to keep from browning and drying up.


Make bread crumbs from toasts and store some in the fridge. They come in very hand for thickening gravies, especially if you've landed up making them extra watery!!!


Always keep some readymade gingerpaste and garlic paste in the freezer. Comes in handy and enhances the flavor of most dishes in a jiffy.


Blanch green leafy vegetables ( fenugreek, spinach, etc.) in boiling water for 2 minutes. Hold under cold running water, press out excess water, store in freezer for about 2 weeks without spoiling.








If the lemon seems to dry out, or the skin is too stiff, either soak in hot water for 10 minutes or microwave for 30 seconds, before cutting. You will be able to extract maximum juice this way.


If just a few drops of lemon juice are required do not cut whole lemon. Roll lemon on a hard surface to soften the skin, prick a hole with a cocktail or skewer. Press out required drops. Leave a toothpick in the hole or wrap it in a piece of foil. This will keep it from drying out.


Add a tbsp. of honey to a cup of whipping cream to keep it better in the refrigerator.


To prevent lumps while adding flour to any liquids, eg. Water, buttermilk,etc. first mix the flour in a little bit of the Liquid to form a smooth paste. Add this to the remaining liquid and stir well.


If you have excessive stock of green chillies, do not waste them. Boil in hot salted water, till white. Drain and sun dry till brittle. Crush or store whole and use as required in any dish requiring chillies, without Changing the colour of the dish.


One way to test if the mango is rip enough to cut, is to smell the point where the mango was attached to the tree. Nip off any remaining stalk, smell. If the mango is right, it will exude a luscious sweet fragrant aroma.


Keep grated potatoes in cold water to keep them from discolouring, till used. When required, drain, press out excess water, and dab on a clean kitchen towel. Use immediately.


Always garnish a dish just before it is ready to serve. If you are preparing any vegtable few hours ahead, then reheat and refresh before pouring into serving dish. Then garnish to give that attractive just-made look and taste.


To serve piping hot fresh biryani, pulaos, or rices, you can prepare completely, upto the stage when cooker is closed and whistles have to be counted after putting on heat. This stage can be done just a half hour before sitting to a meal, so that the cooker is done, as well as cooled enough to open and serve, in time.


Wherever brinjals are required to be griddled, fried, or burnt, one can butter it up and cook it in the microwave too. Though a little different in texture, it will be equally good in taste.


To refesh old ladoos, place in a microwave for 30 seconds. The ladoo will taste as good and fresh as just made.


Sprinkle a couple of pinches of cocoa powder over the frothy top of a cup of Coffee for that extra flavour and garnish


Make a savoury hot snack out of leftover or staled khakhras, seasoning as for chappati kava (as in index).


Soyabean granules are a highly nutritional product, which may be used to thick gravies, soups, Etc. with ease. Soak a little in water beforehand. Crush to make smooth texture. Add as required.


Cut off roots of fresh Dhania(coriander)leaves and pack in two to three sheets of news paper and refrigerate. Keeps upto a week or two fresh!


Test to check if bread has been done completely. Invert and knock the base lightly with your Knuckles. It is done if the sound is hollow. If base is soggy, then more baking is required.


Do not sieve wheat flour with a very fine sieve, as all the bran and subsequently the fibre Will be lost.


To chill any water based drink (like thandai, juices) use chilled water or crushed icecubes while making, so that chilling time can be drastically reduced.


If you have jasmines growing in your garden, pluck a few fresh flowers, wash well, drop into your pot of drinking water. Strain as and when required to drink, transfer back the flowers to the pot. Change after 8-10 hours. The water gets a light lovely sweet flavour.


Dry roast any extra crumbs that are got while scraping buns. These can be used to thick gravies, etc. They can also be added to bhajia batters for making crisper bhajias.








If buns are too soft to be stuffed for any recipe, bake them blind in a hot oven for 4-5 minutes. Cool, and they will be much more easy to handle while proceeding with the recipe.


To retain the heat of hot water for a longer time, add a pinch or two of salt to it.


Line the bottom of your salt jar with 2 layers of blotting paper before pouring it in. The salt will not become moist even in humid climate.


Make croutons in a jiffy. Cut 2 slices day old bread in small cubes. Heat a tbsp. of butter in a heavy pan, add cubes, and stir fry till they are crisp and golden brown.


Potatoes used with the jackets intact are definitely more nutritious than after peeling. Use a soft steel or plastic scrubber to scrub them before using.


Fresh, clean and tender skins of ridge gourd need not be thrown out. Boil for 3-4 minutes in salted water. Drain and wash under cold running water. Wipe on towel, add green chillies, garlic, salt, coriander, tamarind and a little sugar. Grind to a chutney. The skins are full of nutrients.


Removed side crusts of breadcan be dried in oven till crisp, cooled and ground to use as bread bread crumbs. Use for rolling in patties, etc. before deep frying or as a thickener for gravies.


Air out the sago seeds in hot sun for half an hour before frying, to get very well-fried sago. Sometimes the centres which stay hard, can be avoided by doing this.


Keep boondi unseasoned, just plain fried and use in boondi raita as required (refer raitas)


Always mash potatoes when they are still quite hot. They mash more easily and can be finely mashed too.


Grease the grated on both sides with oil before grating sticky items like cheese or boiled potatoes, to allow for smoother grating.


Leftover parathas eaten cold with hot tea taste good.


Always chill glasses before preparing the icecream in it. This way it will stay stiff longer.


Use aluminium containers instead of steel to set the icecream faster. Also, place a thick plactic sheet or spread some salt under the container to keep it from sticking to the floor of the freezer.


Never try to refreeze icecream which has melted completely due to reasons like electricity breakdown. The result will taste disastrous. Instead, add you favourite flavour or fruit and run in a mixie to make delicious milk shake.


For simple but extravagant looking topping, take 2-3 healthy strawberries. Make incisions vertically from tip to base, to form slices. But do not cut fully. Stop just below the base. Now press sideways gently, to form a fan shaped strawberry. Use as topping decor for cakes, icecreams, puddings, etc.


To unmould chilled dishes quickly, dip container halfway into hot water for a few seconds and then unmould.


Mix in some mashed rice in the thick starch water. Blend to a thick batter. Add salt and chat masala for taste. Spoon out thin small papads on a greased plastic sheet. Use the backof a ladle. Sun-dry till brittle. Store in airtight container. Deep fry as a tasty snack.


To keep chappatis warm longer, cover the pile with two piece of clean cloth above and below in a tight steel container. Leave on a griddle that has been warmed first.


Warm garlic flakes a little either in a microwave or on griddle before peeling, to make the skin come off easily.







Save a tsp. of mashed dal from above. Mix in a tsp. each of fine oatmeal, rosewater and cream. Apply on face. Wash off after 15-20 minutes. Makes an effective and refreshing pack.


For use of green like sarson ki bhaji out of season, microwave to dehydrate till crisp. Soak in hot water for half an hour, before proceeding as for fresh bhaji.


To keep salt from becoming lumpy in moist climate, add a dash of rice flour to it. Add a few rice grains in the salt shaker.


Always hold fresh vegetables under running water for a minute, after boiling and draining, to enhance their colour, eg. carrots, greens, peas, etc. Hold in a colander or strainer so that the water passes through.


Stitch oval muslin bags with a loop to hang curds, paneer, etc. easily. Do not use them for other purposes to keep them clean and odourless.


Rest assured that honey can never be adulterated. If warm water is added, it will ferment. If any type of sugar syrup is added it will solidify. Also, the older the better.


Crush chikki coarsely and use as nougat over cakes and icecreams. Use nuts of your choice.


Quickest way to extract pure ginger juice, is to either pound or grate fresh ginger, sprinkle a wee bit of water, and put in a clean muslin cloth. Press out juice with thumb and fingers till only fibre remains.


Add a leaf or two of fresh chopped mint to a glass of any mocktail to liven it up and add the minty zing to it.


Preboiling fruit like grapes, tomato, before making the juice, will keep the juice and water separating in the glass after pouring. The colour is also enhanced.


If karanjias are used after too many days and feel stale, warm them for 1/2 to 1 minute in the microwave oven before serving. They will taste freshly fried.


When a large serving is required use the julien recipe ( veggies cut into inch long thin strips) since more can be sizzled in one round. Or supplement this dish with the patties, etc. of the veg. sizzler.


Wrap potatoes etc. which you may want to bake in the coals, in foil, to retain moisture and also to avoid becoming sooty black.


To pep leftover farsan which is not getting over, add finely chopped onions, coriander, green chilli and salt, lemon juice, chaat masala. Toss and serve with afternoon tea as a spicy muchy.


Paneer crumbs, bread crumbs and some melted butter, tossed together form an excellent topping if you run short of cheese, for any baked dishes.


To make bhakris of flours like maize, bajra (millet), jowar etc. always make dough as required. Making too much hours ahead with make the dough gooey and impossible to roll or pat.


Drain and keep any extra channa dal aside after cooking. Chill and then add chopped onions, chutneys, coriander, salt, chopped cucumber and tomatoes. Serve chilled as bhel with cups of steaming hot tea.


Easiest way to chop raisins. Sprinkle some flour over them so they don't stick. Cut with a small kitchen scissors as required.


Always soak cauliflower in warm salted water for some time to get rid of the tiny insects sometimes present deep inside the florets and not visible to the eye.








Save the peel of apples, cucumbers and peaches. Grind them and add to the ingredients of a green chutney (coriander leaves, green chillies, ginger, coconut, salt and sugar). It makes a tasty and nutritious chutney and when mixed with curd makes an unusual raita.


Rest assured that honey can never be adulterated. If warm water is added, it will ferment. If any type of sugar syrup is added it will solidify. Also, the older the better.


Add some salt or vinegar drops while washing vegetables and greens to make them clean and germ free, eg. cauliflower, spinach, etc.


If curds have become too sour to eat as is, tie as above for 3-4 hours, add milk and use in raitas, curd rice, etc.


Use varied coloured doughs like green one above, to make shapes (leaves, cherries, braids, etc.) and deep fry on low till done. Decorate a variety of festive dishes like baked casseroles, au gratins, pulaos, etc. with them. Store in airtight containers for 2-3 days.


Add a cupful of soaked poha to 5 cupfuls of rice soaked for idlis and grind with the rice for softer and lighter idlis.


If karanjias are used after too many days and feel stale, warm them for 1/2 to 1 minute in the microwave oven before serving. They will taste freshly fried.


To get the best out of saffron: Warm saffron before crushing (you may use microwave: 10 secs on maxi.). Add 1 tsp. warm milk and stir well.


Use tissue papers for reheating fried snacks. Eg. samosa, vada, kachori, bhajji, etc. The paper will absorb the excess oil and moisture and keep the snack crisp. Reheat on high for 1-1 1/2 minute.


Shake the vegetables loose in the plastic bag before thawing, to distribute the heat evenly.


To break open the coconuts easily (the brown ones..), place them in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes. This would seperate the shell easily. Ami B Shah


When cutting hard vegetables like potatoes, beetroots or carrots, put them in the microwave oven before cutting them into slices. They will be much easier to cut. Subbu Balakrishnan


Using earthen or stone ware for setting curds will result in firmer and better quality curd. Since they are porous they absorb the excess moisture.


Always use a clean pair of kitchen scissors to trim edges of bread. Much neater and less messy edges as compared to those trimmed with a knife.


Use chilli oil ( given in tips and hints) instead of the ordinary oil, if you want to make the dish spicier.


Use a pizza cutter to cut rounds into strips for fried noodles, instead of a knife. It is faster and less messy.


Make tomato puree in bulk. Transfer to ice cube trays and freeze. Put the frozen cubes in a thick polythene bag. Store in the freezer and use reddy puree cubes as required. Will keep for over 3 weeks in the freezer.


If there is a lot of leftover paneer crummbs, dry in a warm oven. Fry till crisp and store in the fridge. Soften in boiling water, drain and add to thicken gravies of any vegetables and curries.


Use clean skins of boiled potatoes to place as a soothing pack over eyes to refresh and reduce their puffiness.


Use the whey (water) from tied curds to make softer chappati, paratha and naans. Use this water instead of plain water to knead the dough.


To keep your sesame oil fresh for a few months without being spoilt, add a lump of jaggery to the oil.


Mix in 15-20 cloves to a kilogram of dal, while storing. This will keep the dal from getting attacked by insects. The same cloves can be reused.


To a cupful of leftover dal,add 2 leftover chappaties and a dash of leftover rice if desired, and further add some water, coriander leaves, and boil in a saucepan. Add any spices and salt if required. Garnish with a tsp. of fresh ghee. You have a tasty hot wholesome breakfast.


Dehydrate the residue of coconut used for coconut milk by drying the sun. This dried flaked coconut can be used in dry chutneys, sweets, masalas, etc.


Do not wash eggs when you store them. There is a "coating" on eggs that helps in keeping odours and bacteria from entering.


To make whiter and crisper potato wafers add some alum crystals and salt to the water in which you drop the wafers for soaking.


Use cornflakes as a substitute for sev or papdis. It is available everywhere and give the same crunchiness to a dish, eg. bhel.


Add a few methi (fenugreek) seeds to toor dal while pressure cooking. This makes the dal easier to digest.