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Cooking FAQ’s

Why do my drop cookings spread so much?

You might have dropped the batter onto warm cookie sheets, causing excessive spreading. Let your cookie sheets cool completely before reusing. Or, you might have greased the cookie sheets too much. Just use a light coating of shortening or cooking spray to prepare your cookie sheets and only grease the cookie sheets if it’s specified in the recipe.

Why do my muffins or quick breads have pointed or peaked tops?

You may have stirred the batter until all of the lumps were out and it looked smooth. This produces muffins or quick breads with pointed tops and elongated cells (tunnels) throughout the product. Muffins or quick bread with these undesirable characteristics still taste good, but they are usually tough. Next time, stir the batter just until moistened—the batter should still be lumpy.

Why do my muffins or quick breads crumble?

Mixing the batter differently from the recipe directions may cause muffins or quick breads to crumble. For quick breads, also be sure to completely cool them before slicing. Sometimes, it even helps to tightly wrap the cooled bread in foil and store it overnight before slicing.

Why are my biscuits crumbly instead of flakey?

You might have mixed the fat with the flour beyond coarse crumb stage (coarse crumbs are the size of small peas). The resulting fat particles are too small and you end up with mealy biscuits instead of flakey. If butter is used in your recipe, be sure to start with it cold. This makes it easier to cut it into the flour and get coarse crumbs.

Do I have to toast nuts?

Toasting brings out the full flavor and aroma of nuts. It also keeps nuts crisp in moist mixtures such as salads. So if your recipe calls for toasted nuts, it’s best to toast them.

How do I toast nuts?

Spread the nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place on the middle rack of an oven preheated to 350° F and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden, stirring after half of the baking time. Or, place the nuts in a single layer in a skillet. Heat them over medium-high heat for 5 to 7 minutes or until golden, stirring or shaking the nuts constantly.

Understanding Nutrition Labels & Marketing Terms

Garden Harvest Tips

How do I start preserving my garden harvest?

Most importantly, to preserve maximum nutrition, pick produce at peak ripeness. Then decide how you’d like to use your produce once preserved. For example, canning a food lends to different uses later on (like soups), then dehydrating a food would.
It’s also important to think about how the particular food’s nutrients are retained, which varies based on the method. Finally, what’s the most efficient, sometimes you just need to get the food out of the ground and preserved fast before nutrition declines. Every year your methods will get better, enjoy!

How do you preserve homegrown food?

The basic methods of food preservation are: freezing, freeze drying, canning (pressure canning and hot water bath canning), fermenting, dehydrating/drying and pickling. There are extensive options within each of these buckets. You can also preserve seeds for next seasons use!

When should I preserve foods after harvesting?

As soon as possible! Possibly one of the greatest advantages of growing your own food is the lack of travel time it takes to get to your table. Food is living, once it’s pulled from it’s life source (the ground), it continues to breathe and use up/break down its own supply of nutrients. This process also begins to reduce the foods overall flavor and texture qualities.