Upgrading to a quality cinnamon may be the easiest improvement you can make in your baking and often, the quality of the cinnamon makes a dramatic difference in the quality of your product. But how do you know what cinnamon to buy?There are three types of cinnamon to consider. Korintje cassia cinnamon comes from Indonesia, usually Sumatra. It comes from the cassia tree, not the true cinnamon tree, and is the cinnamon we are most familiar with. Good quality "Korintje cassia" is sweet and mellow. Lower quality cinnamon, the B and C grades commonly sold in the stores, is often bitter and astringent. You can tell the difference by tasting it. Dab a little on your finger and put it in your mouth. Premium Korintje cassia cinnamon will be smooth with an almost citrus tone. Chinese and Vietnamese cinnamons also come from the cassia tree. Botanically, Chinese and Vietnamese cassia cinnamons are the same but they are harvested and processed differently resulting in a little different flavor. They tend to be stronger and spicier than Korintje.Ceylon cinnamon is true cinnamon coming from the cinnamon tree. In some parts of the world, it is preferred over cassia cinnamons. It is less flavorful and has a more citrus overtone. So which do you buy? Korintje cassia is less expensive and can be very good. Be certain that you buy premium or grade A cinnamon. Look for the volatile oil content; thats what gives cinnamon its flavor. It should have at least 2% volatile oil. (The cinnamon that we sell does.)You have probably noticed that you can buy spices in bulk for much less than in small quantities. Handling and packaging is expensive. If you are confident in the quality of the cinnamon you are purchasing, buy it in quantity. However, keep in mind that cinnamon will lose its potency. As it becomes older, you may have to use more of it to get the same flavor in your goods. We recommend buying what you can use in a year.Copyright 2003-2007, The Prepared Pantry (http://www.prepraredpantry.com ). Published by permission
The Chardonnay grape is an eminent white wine growing all around the world. This is the most popular white wine. The taste and flavours of Chardonnay are depending upon the origin location and processing methods. It yields a variety of flavours and styles. It is the major grape type in Champagne along with Pinot Noir. Due to its versatile flavours and styles, it expanded like a bush fire in Europe and in other parts of the world such as California, Australia and New Zealand.As the wine makers paid attention in Chardonnay, it grew well in Chile and South Africa. As it is non-aromatic type, it is compatible with oak. French and American Chardonnay are the richest and complex whites. Although it has fatigue, but its wonderful flavours, richness will keep it popular for a long time.The original recognition of Chardonnay comes from its boom in the Burgundy and Champagne area of France. Although it is labelled that White Burgundy is made from a less known grape Aligote, but the fact is White Burgundy can't be prepared without Chardonnay grape.Chardonnay grapes are green-skinned and very thin skinned. According to the genetic science, it is the resultant of cross between Pinot and the Croatian Gouais Blanc grape. Although these two species are extinct, but Chardonnay is still popular.Chardonnay grapes are generally fermented and aged in oak barrels, which yields the vanilla flavours in the wines. Chardonnay can also be fermented and aged in bottles, but it will not age as long as red wines.As the Chardonnay wines are generally considered chilled, it clicks very well with chicken preparations and dishes with a lots of butter or cheeses. Chardonnay wines usually have less acid so it can match with seafood.In America it is made by the malolactic fermentation with some oak. If it is fermented without oak, a soft wine will be produced with some mineral flavours. If it is aged with oak then the resultant wines will have caramel, vanilla and butter flavours with a blend of Smokey aroma.Chardonnay is also used to make Champagne; the example of 100% Chardonnay Champagne is Blanc de Blanc. Furthermore, Chardonnay can be used to make some sparkling wines.Chardonnay is now eighth-ranked in world chart of grape cultivation with estimated planting areas of 140,000 hectares. It is planted mostly in Australia, Italy, France and America. Its popularity has caused a repercussion from some wine lovers, who do not like any wine but Chardonnay. This causes the monopoly of Chardonnay in the wine market.
Eggs are marvelous. They are used in so many products and in so many ways. They provide structure and mouth feel; they provide moisture and nutritional value. Baking would be dramatically different without the egg. There are three parts to the egg:The shell is fragile and porous. It is important to remember that eggs will absorb flavors and odors through the shell and therefore must be protected from strong smelling substances and unsanitary surfaces. A tainted egg will spoil your product. The yolk is high in both fat and protein and is a natural emulsifier. The white is primarily albumin protein. It is clear and soluble before it is cooked. It contains sulfur and becomes odorous when old. About 75% of the egg by weight is water. The remaining portion is nearly equal parts fat and protein. A large egg weighs 1 2/3 ounce without the shell with the yolk weighing two-thirds of an ounce and the white, one ounce. A medium egg without the shell weighs about 1.45 ounces and a small egg weighs about 1 1/4 ounces. You can do the math but about 3 1/2 medium eggs equal three large eggs. Eggs are a potential source of salmonella contamination. The American Egg Board estimates that only one in 20,000 eggs is contaminated. Still, it is recommended that you do not use raw eggs in your food and that egg products be cooked to 160 degrees. Always wash your hands after handling eggs and sanitize any work surfaces where raw eggs may have been used. The egg industry is conscientious and regulated and it is very rare to find an inferior or rotten egg in a carton. It is not rare to find broken or cracked shells. When you open a carton and find a cracked egg, discard it since a crack creates an easy avenue for bacteria to enter. Always buy eggs that are graded A or AA. You can determine the quality of the eggs from your refrigerator just as an inspector does. Open an egg onto a flat surface. If the egg is compact with a plump yolk, it is fresh. If the chalazae, the white strands in the egg white, are prominent, the egg is fresh. Eggs kept in the coldest part of the refrigerator keep up to five weeks, though we plan on using our eggs within two weeks. Fresh eggs make for more stable egg white foams. Eggs become more alkaline as they age and may have a minor affect on the function of chemical leaveners. Because the shells are porous, eggs will lose moisture over time. Eggs packaged for consumers are given a mineral oil bath to help seal the shells, reduce the moisture loss, and protect the egg from odors. Do not wash your eggs since doing so will remove the protective mineral oil covering. Many recipes call for eggs at room temperature. Rather than leaving your eggs on the counter to warm, simply place them in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes.Copyright 2003-2007, The Prepared Pantry (http://www.prepraredpantry.com ). Published by permission
Bottled water court decisions give us quick glimpses into the sources of bottled water. For example:* The Nestl company, which bottles water under several well-known labels, fought ferociously in court to retain its rights to appropriate water from the Great Lakes to put in bottles to sell to you and me. When Michigans government instituted a new law that allows Nestl Corporation to continue taking up to 250,000 gallons per day, and sell them at a markup well over 240 times its production cost, Nestl dropped the court battle.* In Vermont, Poland Spring (also a Nestl product) was brought to court with a complaint that the "bottled water" in Poland Spring came not from "some of the most pristine and protected sources deep in the woods of Maine," as advertised, but from other sources. In fact, on occasion, the water was trucked in from an unknown source out of state! But the court reasoned that Congress and the FDA made a conscious choice to allow states to regulate bottled water as long as their standards matched FDA standards. The bottled water met both standards, even though the source and advertised source were not the same.What is bottled water?The United States Food and Drug Administration says bottled water is any water meant for humans to drink that is sealed in bottles with nothing added except.Aye, Theres The Rub!As William Shakespeare said in Hamlet, speaking of sleep and death, Aye, theres the rub. Bottled water may have nothing added except, and suddenly, with that small phrase, bottled water becomes something other than the pure water we thought we were buying. except what? Well, bottled water may contain safe and suitable antimicrobial agents if the bottler wishes. Fluoride may be added, but it has to be within established limitations, of course. So thats what bottled water is.Where Do They Get Bottled Water From?Excuse the preposition at the end, but this question is frequently being asked just that way. Where do they get brand of bottled water from?As seen in the court cases cited above, they get "brand of bottled water" from various sources: lakes, streams, wells, springs, glacier run-off, and even from municipal water supplies.Bottled Water May Be Tap WaterYou will probably be surprised to learn that they get at least 25% of our brand of bottled water right from the tap. Bottlers simply bottle the local tap water, label it, and ship it off to stores. Sometimes they treat it first sometimes they dont. We consumers pay up to 10,000 times more per gallon for brand of bottled water than we would pay for tap water.What disreputable bottler would get brand of bottled water from a tap?1. The Coca Cola company for Dasani brand of bottled water. Coca Cola admits this.2. The Pepsi Cola Company for Aquafina brand of bottled water. Apparently, Pepsi is not required to tell you this on the label.Most brand of bottled water is processed with filters and other treatments, but you should read labels carefully. Bottled water that is packaged as "purified" or "drinking water" probably is tap water, and unless it was substantially altered, the label must tell you that. However, as noted above regarding the Pepsi Cola Company, sometimes a bottler can get away without telling you. Learn Where They Get Your Brand of Bottled Water1. Examine the label and cap on your brand of bottled water. Look for the phrase "from a municipal source" or "from a community water system" on either. Those phrases mean tap water. The absence of the phrases is no guarantee that the bottle does not contain tap water, but their presence means it does.2. In some states, you can find out the source from the state where do the get bottled water program. Not every state has this, but some like New York and Massachusetts list "where do the get bottled water" sources. Call the state where your where do the get bottled water originates and ask.3. Call or write the bottling company itself to learn where they get your where do the get bottled water. Ask about health and safety measures used in bottling, filtration or other treatment, and additives.If you choose to buy where do the get bottled water and are concerned about where they get it, do your homework. Research the various brands, and find those that truly use known, protected sources. Look for bottlers who are not afraid to share publicly all information on testing and treatment that will tell you water quality.
Port Wines Come From PortugalThe Douro River Valley which is located in the northern part of Portugal is where the mixture of grapes is grown to produce port wine. The wine was made for shipping reasons and to some peoples surprise reached beyond Europe and into the United States, Asia, Australian and several other places. Port wine for the beginner, is traditionally served as a dessert wine, it is known for the sipping wine at home get-togethers and after work outings. Port wine is different from other types of wine because it has an higher than average alcohol content; the majority range between 19% and 22% by volume. The ingredients and flavors added to the wine can make it a very sweet wine. The price points very depending on the different styles of "port wine" you like.Tawny Port WinesTawny Ports are lighter in color, older, and distinctly drier than Rubies. Tawny Ports, which is very similar to Rubies, have been know not to improve with added bottle age and are remarkably stable once opened. The difference between a Vintage Port from one producer and another is merely the difference in house style, in the same way that the style of a Brut Champagne varies from one house and another. Tawny Ports are often served after dinner, either alone or with desserts that are quite sweet like chocolates. Tawny Reserve port has been known to age for a minimum of seven years in wooden barrels, this is where it takes on a more nutty flavor. The older the Tawny becomes, it takes on more of a pale color, which adds to more of a delicate flavor and creates a drier wine which makes the wine more expensive for the bottle. Where rainfall tends to be about 28 inches a year, which is very low for most counties, is where most of the high quality Tawny, LBV and Vintage ports are made.Do You Like Chocolate with Your WineThe years of association in various capacities that I have with wine, Ive heard numerous debates on the issue, both for and against the rather contentious chocolate and wine pairing. Spending several years in a bottle helps the vintage port take on the aromas of chocolate, cocoa and coffee. Traditionally, Port is served with a strong blue cheese such as Stilton, or fruit and chocolate.Ports around the world are produced in a similar style like Champagne, but are considered fake Ports. While these pretenders may be somewhat aromatic and flavorful, they fail to capture the delicate balance between elegance and power of a true Port wine. Remember that port wine is very flavorsome on its own and can be enjoyed for several different occasions. The best vintage port wines will not reach their peak of maturity for 20, 30 and sometimes even 40 years. Vintage Ports, which account for only two percent of all Port wines made. These wines age briefly in wood and then spend several years maturing in a bottle. While aging in wood, port wines fruity scent develops through oxidation to make a bouquet that is reminiscent of dried fruit, wood, and special spices.