A cold (short)cut to defatting stock

WHAT'S COOKING?

March 09, 1994|By Rita Calvert | Rita Calvert,Special to The Sun

Q: What is the best way to remove fat from stocks, soups and pan juices?

A: There are numerous ways to remove fat from stocks, soups and pan juices. One of the simplest, if you have the time, is to refrigerate and chill the liquid. The fat will rise to the top and solidify, making it easy to remove.

A defatting cup (also called degreasing pitcher) is also an excellent piece of equipment for skimming fat. The fat will quickly rise to the top and the liquid at the bottom can then be poured out, relatively fat-free, through the spout of the cup which is located at the cup's base.

For small amounts of liquid, simply use a flat spoon to skim the fat off the top.

Q: Is there a solution for freshening wilted greens and herbs that are still usable, but limp?

A: If you have an hour before serving, dip the greens in hot water, then in ice water in which a dash of vinegar has been added. Shake excess liquid from them and chill in the refrigerator for one hour.

Q: How long after the "sell by" date can food be kept? Is there a set amount of time after opening the product?

A: The storage and freshness varies greatly within all types of foods according to the sell date. For instance, milk, sour cream or ricotta cheese may still be usable for five days after the date has expired, while poultry, seafood and ground meats should be used within two days of the date. Dry goods, such as crackers, cereals and bread crumbs may have a long shelf life and therefore a date six months from the purchase date might be realistic. Use the expiration date as your main guide, but remember many foods can be frozen to preserve them.

Send questions to: What's Cooking, c/o Food & Home, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278. Or call Sundial, The Sun's telephone information service, at (410) 783-1800 (268-7736 in Anne Arundel County, 836-5028 in Harford County, 848-0338 in Carroll County). Using a touch-tone phone, punch in the four-digit code 6180 after you hear the greeting. Although personal replies are not possible, questions of general interest will be answered in this column.

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