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Saturday, Oct 28, 2006
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FOODLINE


Preservatives

If you make food preserves or jams at home do you need to add any preservative for a longer shelf life as it tends to spoil soon?

Revathi

Sugar is the natural preservative that is added to all jams, preventing the growth of micro-organisms. It also contributes to the taste of the product. The fruits used should be ripe for best colour and flavour. Pectin is a substance that is added to jams as it helps in gelling. Natural fruits have pectin in them but additional may or may not be added according to the recipe.

Baking cakes

Ideally when do you soak fruits for the Christmas cake and how?

Rashmi

Soaking or masceration of fruits should be done minimum 1 month in advance and maximum 3 months. Ideally the correct time will be 2 months in advance. It is done by chopping the following ingredients and mixing them with cinnamon, cloves, mace , nutmeg , staranise and black cardamom powder and soaking them in alcohol. Currants, raisins, sultanas, apricots, dates, cashew nuts, walnut, almond, prunes, figs, pistachio, glaced cherries are used and soaked in Sherry, Rum and Brandy. Soaking helps plump and hyderate the fruits. Every fortnight the fruits are mixed using a wooden spoon for even soaking.

Honey

Is the honey with light brown spots edible? I have a bottle of honey with expiry date (December 2006) but has turned dark brown in colour.

Shanti

Brown spots might be because of fungal infection but only a certified microbiologist can justify it after testing. Expiry date is a true judge of safety of consumption of any product. But it can only be confirmed by testing the product

PRADEEP KHOSLA

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