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Summer Kitchen (copyright 2006, art of living, PrimaMedia,Inc.)

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Technorati Tags : , , , , , , , , Ads by AdGenta.comby Maria Liberati   www.marialiberati.com) Ahh, the pleasures of staying at home an enjoying that fresh produce.. But what’s the best way to keep those fresh things tasting fresh. Go shopping and keep your produce al fresco Refrigerator or freezer…what’s best way to keep that fresh taste.? Bread- kept in a bread sack or in a cotton towel– European breads will remain fresh for about a week. Keeping them this way keeps out the humidity and therefore will prevent (at least for a week) the bread from becoming moldy. On the other hand, soft, American bread will remain soft  for at least a week if kept on a middle shelf in the refrigerator.  Don’t forget that crusty bread that has hardened, especially the European style makes wonderful breadcrumbs or croutons for a salad. Meat- in the coldest part of the refrigerator , steak will keep for no more than 3 days, in a hermetically sealed type of container. Ground meat will last for no longer that 24-48 hrs in the refrigerator. If you’d like to freeze the meat for longer conservation time- only freeze meat that is fresh and divide into separate portions and wrap in plastic well. Fish- once cleaned, wrap in plastic wrap. If it is very fresh, you can keep it in the refrigerator for a maximum of 48 hours. If you freeze it, remember to take out the bones. You should consume the frozen fish in about 1 month. Eggs-keep egg container closed and place in a shelf in center of the refrigerator, far from the other foods or in the egg holder (usually on side or door of refrigerator). Don’t wash them before you break them. The skin that coats the shell actually protects the eggs from bacteria and contamination. Fresh cheeses- fresh mozzarella and ricotta can be kept in the refrigerator for about 1 week. If you leave fresh mozzarella in its water, it will maintain its flavor and last a few days longer. Tomatoes- if they are ripe, place in refrigerator far from other fruits and vegetables  so that they will not ripen further and will remain firm. Don’t freeze them, but you can dry them. Place in the oven, (with a sprinkle of salt) at about 120 degrees for 6 hours. Then place in a hermetically sealed jar and cover with olive oil before sealing. Fresh spinach- Wash, dry  gently with paper towel and place in plastic bag. Will last about 4-5 days in the refrigerator at medium temperature. Once you have cooked them, divide in portions and freeze in freezer bags.  Peaches and apricots- do not place either of these fruits in the refrigerator, especially if they are not ripe yet. Let ripen at room temperature for at least a day. If you want to freeze them- wash well, take out the pit, slice and cover with sugar (¼ cup for every pound) then place in a tightly sealed container , close and freeze.  www.marialiberati.comMaria Liberati is the author of the very popular THE BASIC ART  OF ITALIAN COOKING that has been sold out of its first printing and in its second printing as of its first week on the market. A portion of  the proceeds also go to Gilda’s Club (www.gildasclub.org).

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