Putting the wraps on bargain bananas gives them extra days

WHAT'S COOKING?

April 13, 1994|By Rita Calvert | Rita Calvert,Special to The Sun

Q: I often see overripe bananas on sale at the grocery store What is the best way to keep them if I don't want to use them right away?

A: The best way to preserve overripe bananas a few more days is to refrigerate them. The skin will turn dark and they will not be firm, but they will be fine for baking. Make sure other items in your refrigerator are well-sealed and keep the bananas in a fruit ,, drawer otherwise the banana flavor will take over your fridge.

Q: When making chicken soup, should you remove all the hardened fat on the top after you refrigerate it? I find my soup has no chicken flavor when that is done.

A: If you're interested in minimizing cholesterol and fat intake, you should remove all the congealed fat from the top of chicken soup. One way to get more intense chicken-tasting soup is to make a rich stock by letting the chicken (with bone and skin) and bouquet garni (flavorings and spices) simmer for several (up to six) hours before adding the other components. At this point you may want to concentrate it by boiling it gently until the volume is reduced by half. A pressure cooker is a great way to get lots of flavor in reduced cooking time. Some cooks also fortify a chicken stock by adding some chicken bouillon to the water in which the chicken is cooked.

Q: How long can shelled nuts such as walnuts, pecans and almonds be kept frozen before the quality begins to diminish?

A: Shelled nuts such as these may retain their flavor up to one year in the freezer if wrapped very well.

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