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Handy Hints and useful tips for Fresh Fruit, Vegetables & Herbs

Saving the Jelly

Jelly and fruit

  Although we'd made it many times before we managed to wreck the fruit-in-jelly dessert - it didn't set! So we tried dissolving another packet of jelly in 250ml boiling water and stirred that in. It made no difference and we still had fruit floating on orange-flavoured soup! The problem was caused by not reading all of the instructions on the jelly packet. These stated very plainly: do not add fresh pineapple, fresh Kiwi fruit, or fresh pawpaw because these prevent the jelly from setting; and what had we put in? Fresh Kiwi fruit, of course!
  Not wishing to throw it away, we came up with a solution. The Kiwi fruit was fished out and set aside; then 4½ tablespoons of cornflour (corn starch) was mixed with a little of the jelly soup in a saucepan, the rest being stirred in after. This was brought to the boil, stirring constantly until it thickened. Once cooled in a bowl it was transferred to the fridge to set; and it did! The result can be seen in the picture - a kind-of orange jelly custard with fresh Kiwi fruit on the side; and it tasted great.

Chopping Parsley
  You've seen the TV chefs choppity-chopping stuff on a board with a huge knife. It looks impressive, and maybe it's necessary in their opinion, but for my money I don't see the point if there's an easier way. With this in mind, we bought a gizmo like a mini-mincer for cutting parsley and even that was a pain.
  One day I was in a rush. I pinched some sprigs off the parsley plant and took them to the kitchen. Then it was onto the cutting board, gather up the leaf-heads in the fingers of one hand and a quick slice across with a sharp knife until the bunch was reduced to a pile of parsley bits. I didn't bin the mincer because it cost good money, but I won't bother using it for parsley in future!

Cutting fruit & vegetables
  It sounds easy, and it is; but it can also be very dangerous. Firstly, always use a knife that is big enough to do the job so that multiple cuts to get through the thickness are unnecessary.
  Pumpkin has a tough skin and the knife used must be up to the job. And, of course, keep your knives clean and sharp.
  When tackling items that are rounded, after peeling, slice off a portion to produce a flat side. Turn this onto the cutting surface and continue slicing, cubing, etc as desired. Onions in particular can roll and slip while being cut. Unless you really want perfect rings, cut the onion in half, turn onto the flat side, then slice. Remember: half rings are better than half a finger!

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