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Shirley Corriher's Food Freshness Tips

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Category: Vegetables, Beef, Fruit

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Food Scientist Shirley Corriher author of Cookwise, shares some tips from
her most recent appearance on The Splendid Table.

How to Pick the Best Fruit

Certain fruits stop ripening the moment they are picked. Grapes, apricots,
blueberries, figs, melon (with the exception of watermelon), nectarines,
passion fruit, persimmons, and peaches will change in color and texture,
but not in sweetness and flavor. It's especially important to taste these
fruits in the store if possible (a good grocer won't mind) since what you
taste is what you get.

Some fruits will continue to ripen; apples, kiwi, papaya, pears, cherimoya
and, the perfect fruit, the banana will all improve in flavor and
appearance with time.

Keeping Pesto Green

When adding pesto to pasta it can turn from bright green to a drab, mucky
color. The basil is reacting with a compound in the pasta. There's a
simple way to remedy this, add a little lemon juice to the pasta water
before adding the pasta or add lemon juice to the pesto. This will stop the
chemical reaction and keep the pesto looking brighter and fresher.

How Long Will Defrosted Meats Last in the Refrigerator?

As a general rule, defrosted meat will keep as well in the refrigerator as
fresh meat and the same safety rules apply. Any ground meat should be used
within 24 hours, the extra surface area makes it particularly susceptible
to bacteria. Chicken should also be used within 24 hours. Beef will hold
longer (as long as fresh) because the saturated fat molecules react much
more slowly.

Storing Fresh Basil

For short-term storage, store basil in resealable plastic bags. Air is
the enemy here, so squeeze out as much air as possible from the bag. This
should keep the basil good for up to 1 week. Jan, a listener in Greece,
reminded us of one time-honored method from Sicily. Find a large glass or
pottery jar and layer the fresh basil leaves (remove the stems but DO NOT
wash them) alternately with coarse salt. Keep the jar sealed against
moisture. This will preserve the basil well into the winter months. When
you are ready to use the basil, wash the salt off and use it as you would

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