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TRICOS Y TRUCOS EN LA COCINA (COOKING TIPS & TRICKS)

How to get more juice from a lime or lemon:
In order to get more juice out of a lime or lemon, place in the microwave for 20-25 seconds on high; that should be enough time to release its juices. Do not go overboard in heating time, since it could cause the flesh to dry out

How to preserve leafy produce such as Culantro, Mint, etc.:
Prolong the life of your produce by wrapping them loosely on a dry sheetof paper towel and placing them in a ziplock bag. Oxigen is not a friend of veggies, so get as much air out of the bag before sealing. Also, avoid washing until ready to use.  And make sure to leave ample room in your refrigerator and produce drawer. Overstocking can cause less air to flow through the refrigerator, which can cause uneven temps with food expiring faster.

Clean and season protein before freezing:
Purchasing proteins (e.g. meat, fish, poultry) in bulk saves money. However, in order to preserve and prevent freezer burn, open packaging, wash, clean, and season. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and foil, label and date and place in freezer. This will expedite cooking time. Just thaw and cook

Store spices in the right location:
To prolong the life of your spices, keep them in a cool, dark place. Don’t store them on top of the stove, as heat and humidity can alter their flavor. Do not place hot sauce in the refrigerator. Cold temperature will alter the spice and flavor of the hot sauce

Let red meat rest before cutting into it:
Even a well-done steak should never taste dry. To prevent a steak from losing its juicy interior, place it directly on top of aluminum foil after taking it off the stove or grill. Carefully wrap the steak in the foil and let it sit for six to seven minutes. This allows the juices to settle before you cut into the meat. The meat will continue to cook while it is in the foil so if you prefer medium steak, you should take it off when it’s medium rare.

Need to chill drinks but don’t have ice or space in the fridge:
Not enough space in your refrigerator to chill your drink? Place drinks into big tubs or buckets filled with salted ice water – the salt will cause the temperature to drop, giving you icy cold drinks in seconds.

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Culantro

Panama’s key spice is “culantro” (not cilantro), as shown in the picture to the left.  Culantro is a tropical perennial in the Apiaceae family that is widely used as a seasoning in many of our dishes.  It is native to Central and South America and not well known in the United States. It is known as “cha[r]don beni” in Trinidad