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A La Carte: Extending foods' shelf life

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From Staff and Wire Reports
Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

A clear alternative: What appears to be a translucent polycarbonate 3-inch-high egg statuette with liquid inside might significantly reduce your household's food waste.

Freshy is the result of scientific research and consumer testing over the past year and is ready to take its place alongside Fresh Paper by Fenugreen in the realm of natural, nontoxic products that extend shelf life by slowing the growth of bacteria. We tested it on baguettes cut in half and stashed separately in an enclosed space; the bread with a Freshy companion retained a chewy texture after three days' time, while the solo baguette became rock hard.

Place the device in the refrigerator or pantry within a three-foot radius of foods including meats, vegetables, fruits, fish and others that are stored in plastic wrap, plastic containers, plastic foam, glass, cardboard, paper and ceramics. Made in the United States, lasts for one year. $19.95 for one or $29.95 for two. Details: www.freshyworks.com

Spaghetti squash 101

Spaghetti squash is so called because the strands inside look like the pasta once the thing is cooked. Roasting them is a preferred way to prepare them.

Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds and roast on a well-oiled rimmed baking sheet cut-side down until it's tender. Drain after roasting. Then use a fork to pull out the strands. You can then toss them with butter, salt and pepper, or make a casserole by adding tomato, maybe feta and olives, and baking. Or you can toss it with spaghetti for spaghetti squash with spaghetti!

Save yourself a trip

Ever get back from the store only to find that your spouse or child was desperate for an ingredient you didn't get? Whether they needed extra flour for a papier-mache volcano or brownie mix for a potluck, it's never fun to have to turn around and go back to the store. Buy Me a Pie! lets users see their lists and update in real time. The app uses text prediction as you type and learns your preferences — not that useful for items such as eggs, but one that earns its keep with things such as Worcestershire sauce.

The app also tags food items and groups them in an attempt to predict what ingredients may be near each other in your grocery aisles. The app's paid version ($5.99) for iOS devices lets you manage multiple lists and has additional syncing features with the service's Web site. Free for Android and iOS devices.

Hot tips Chipotles are smoked jalapeno peppers; packing them in spicy adobo sauce makes them soft and easy to add to dishes. But a little does go a long way. Most recipes call for a single pepper or a tablespoon of sauce.

The best way to save the rest of the can is to puree it and freeze it. It doesn't freeze hard, so you can easily break off a chunk when you need more. You can refrigerate the reminder of the can in a plastic container for a few weeks, but watch for mold.

To use the rest, whisk some into sour cream to put on Mexican dishes, add it to macaroni and cheese, or whisk some into a vinaigrette for bold winter greens.

Chipotle is so popular that there are other versions of the flavor now. McCormick makes a dried chipotle powder, and Tabasco has a hot sauce with chipotle. Goya makes a chipotle puree in a squeeze bottle like ketchup. Look for it in Latin American supermarkets.

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