How to Cool Food Quickly for Storage

My mother used to cool off food before refrigeration. But the safety guidelines have changed. Thanks to better refrigerator efficiency, and concerns about food spoilage, it’s best to refrigerate foods immediately after cooking. Apparently this poses no danger to the rest of the food in your fridge. But there are times when you will still […]


Salvaging Food During an Electrical Outage

city covered in snow

Despite living in a major American metropolis, Cooking Manager reader Miriam has been suffering from electrical outages on a regular basis. The most recent one lasted 52 hours, forcing her to evacuate to a friend. She brought along some cheese and other delicate items, but wondered about the rest of the food in her fridge. […]


Ten Things You Should Know About Freezing for a Crowd

two lasagna casseroles for the freezer.

Reader Hadassah is planning to freeze meals in advance of a Bat Mitzvah dinner for about 100 people. She plans on serving quiches and casseroles, but soups and baked goods also freeze well. Here are ten important tips for freezing Speed is important. The faster you get your food frozen, the fresher it will taste […]


A Tomato Surprise


Whenever you prepare fruits and vegetables, it’s important to check the outside for holes and blemishes. Sometimes a large, angry-looking discoloration can be just on the surface and cut off with the peel. It usually means that the fruit was scratched or scraped somewhere along the way. But other times, an insect or worm can […]


Make Your Own Spout for a Plastic Bag

convert a plastic bag into a container with a spout

Here are instructions for making a  simple, free cover for spices and grains bought loose in the store or market. I often buy spices, grains and legumes in plastic bags at the market. But it’s hard to keep the bags closed properly, and the contents often spill out into the drawer or freezer. This wastes […]


Tips for Storing Fruits and Vegetables


When you come home from the grocery store or market, it’s tempting to put everything in the refrigerator and forget about it. But taking extra time to deal with the produce will help you get the most from your money and give you a jump start on cooking.

Washing produce: I wash most produce shortly after getting home. It will keep slightly longer if I don’t, but this way I don’t have to remind kids to wash things, they’re ready to cook with, and I have less water dripping over the floor. And it saves time and water.


Don’t Let Your Freezer Turn into a Dungeon


Don’t let your freezer become a dungeon of forgotten food. Tips for keeping track of the contents.


Handle Raw Chicken Safely to Prevent Illness

I read in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz that there’s been a seven-fold increase over the last twenty year in the number of children hospitalized with intestinal ailments caused by campylobacter, a bacterium commonly found in raw poultry. More than half of children admitted to the hospital for intestinal problems tested positive forthe bacterium.

The newspaper (print, Hebrew version) reviewed safe methods for handling raw chicken:


Pantry List: Stock Up to Save Time, Money and Hassle

Last week I ran out of baking soda while making sourdough bread. The last time I had checked, we had a full container. We buy it in bulk at the shuk (open-air market). But my husband used it to make dishwasher detergent.  Since I don’t know a good substitute, I had to run to the […]


Is That Avocado Ripe Enough to Eat?

Ripe and Unripe Avocado

Reader Ilana sent me an interesting question: How do you tell if an avocado is ripe? Well, sometimes it’s difficult because avocados ripen unevenly. The lower part, surrounding the seed, ripens faster than the thickest part of the avocado’s neck.

I’ve had some avocados get brown and spoil before ripening. I presume it has something to do with the way they had been grown or stored. Usually an avocado ripens within a week. To make it ripen faster, put it in a paper bag in a drawer and don’t forget about it.

The avocado on the left is ready to eat. You can tell because the skin is starting to get brown and wrinkled. The unripe one is textured, like all avocados to varying degrees, but not wrinkled or shrunken.