• July 1, 2020 /  Food

    What is traditional Christmas cooking? Well, that depends on you and your family. Tradition is something you make up as you go along. A traditional Christmas is what is traditional in your home. It may be a recipe handed down from your great grandmother or it may be something you thought of in a desperate hurry last Christmas Eve. Anything can become a tradition. What makes something traditional depends on how we feel about it.

    That said, once something becomes traditional then you change it at your peril. If your children expect to come home to stir the Christmas pudding and put in the family favors then you had better not change it. For more details www.cooking-chinese-style.com .They may be away at college or carving out a big career for themselves in the city but they will still expect Christmas to be the Christmas they remember. Christmas cooking is a big part, maybe the biggest part, of the way we remember Christmas.

    Every part of Christmas is accompanied by food of one sort or another. The tastes and smells of that food fixes the memory of Christmas in our minds. That smell of cinnamon or hot sugar. If we catch a hint of it anywhere at anytime we are transported instantly back in time to a Christmas kitchen of our childhood. That is the power of traditional Christmas cooking.

    I remember how when my mother-in-law was alive and would come to us for Christmas dinner, I had to cook a big traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings. Turkey seemed a very dry meat to me so I looked through one of my cookery books and found a recipe that involved glazing the turkey with apricot jam for the last 15 minutes of cooking. As a “proper” cook I was appalled, but it seemed to work, so every year I poured a pot of apricot jam over my turkey and, I have to confess, it was delicious.

    When my mother-in-law died I saw the opportunity to change our family’s traditional Christmas cooking routine. At last my culinary skills would find true expression in a Christmas dinner that would be original and exciting. No more apricot jam for me. I would amaze family and friends with my creations. For more details www.atkins-diets-recipes.com But no matter what I tried in subsequent years nothing was quite as good as the old turkey recipe with its apricot jam. It had become part of our family’s traditional Christmas cooking. So I gave in and everyone was much happier, even me.

    However good a cook you are and whatever new recipes you may attempt in the rest of the year Christmas is a time to come back to traditional Christmas cooking whatever that might be for you and your family. There is a profound wisdom in that which cooks too easily forget. When we cook we are engaging in one of the great acts of social ritual. We are not just cooking for ourselves we are cooking for other people. Our Christmas dinner table expresses not just our skill but our human relationships. Traditional Christmas cooking encapsulates all those relationships, gathered over the years, with people still living and people long since dead that go into making us what we are. At Christmas ghosts sit down at out tables. Traditional Christmas cooking makes sure they are happy ones.

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  • A Bunn Coffee Maker – It’s the Best

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    June 13, 2020 /  Food

    When it comes to brewing coffee for small or large crowds, the Bunn coffee maker is rated one of the best. Consumers will find a Bunn coffee maker not only in homes, but also in convenience stores, offices, hotels, and restaurants and even cruise ships. Bunn is a leading manufacturer of coffee makers in the world, with services to over ninety countries around the globe.

    Bunn coffee makers are designed for home, commercial and industrial use. Their exceptional quality and sturdy design makes them a favorite with both small and large businesses. Bunn began in the coffee business in the late 1950’s, founding the Bunn-O-Matic Corporation. In the early 1960’s, Bunn was the first to introduce the paper coffee filter and the new design of ‘automatic drip’ coffeemakers. Read the rest of this entry »

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  • Buy Frozen Potatoes, Immediate Put in Cooler Box

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    June 13, 2020 /  Food

    After buying frozen potatoes in the supermarket, most of us would take for granted. There is one place that is able to maintain its freshness.

    According Arroji, Key Account Manager USA-Indonesian Potato, put the frozen potatoes in containers at grocery bag will make the potatoes can be easily damaged. “Potatoes have odor absorbing properties. When the potato is placed in a plastic bag, what happens is contaminated potato plastic smell. Automated potatoes so damaged,” he told Okezone in SCBD, Jakarta, recently.

    He added, with a put potatoes in the plastic packaging, disbursement process becomes faster. As a result, the potato has a lot of water content.

    “If the location of your house not far from the supermarket, about 3 minutes the baseball problem and your plastic bags. But if much, I suggest you should bring cooler box or airtight container which has a cooling,” he explained.

    Package frozen potato storage process should not go unnoticed. “Potatoes packaging must be placed in one place, not combined with other foods. Taken together, the potatoes will smell bad when eaten,” lugasnya.

    According to him, the fries will not be maximum. “It was nothing, fries over dry, broken, and fried in a little longer because you basically frying water,” he concluded.

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  • Fun Cooking Accessories the Entire Family Can Enjoy

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    June 8, 2020 /  Food

    When it comes to cooking, the whole family can get involved. Sometimes, it is easy for one parent to get stuck doing all of the kitchen work because he or she is naturally the better home chef. With the right tools, though, everyone can get involved in this fun activity. The key is to find fun cooking accessories that the entire family can enjoy, so all of the adults and children can make meals together.

    One of the best ways to get the family involved in mealtime is to find fun and creative ways to make the foods they love. Start with dessert, which is always a crowd-pleaser. An ice cream machine is a good investment. Along with the rest of the family, you can mix up a batch, and let it freeze as you are cleaning the dishes. Once the ice cream is ready, you can all take turns scooping it into cones, adding toppings in a bowl, or even baking other treats that can be topped with ice cream.

    It is also easy to get the whole family involved with baking cookies. Sugar cookies work well, since even the smallest hands can decorate the cookies with sprinkles or cut out shapes with cookie cutters. Consider buying a cookie press, which can help streamline the process. They are fun for kids to use, and once you buy the machine, you do not have to spend much money to purchase different shapes for every occasion. Along with a cookie press, be sure that you purchase good cookie sheets, as well as a baker’s cooling rack so that the end product turns out as delicious as possible.

    Another great way to get your family involved in the cooking process is with a juicer. Fruit and vegetable juice is perfect for helping your children (and picky adults for that matter) get enough nutrients into their diets. With a juicer, your family can choose exactly what they want to drink, and you do not have to worry about the hassle of chopping and peeling, like you would if you used a blender. You can also use your juicer to make more adult drinks, like a Bloody Mary, so it is great for adults as well as kids.

    There are actually a number of kitchen gadgets that you can use to entice the other adults in your household to participate in the kitchen. For example, your spouse may not like to cook, but maybe he or she would like to mix the drinks using a glass tabletop beverage dispenser.

    Perhaps they would be willing to choose and chill the wine using a rotating wine cooler. You can even purchase a Mr. Beer home brewing system, which comes with everything you need to make the perfect beer from the comfort of your kitchen. Even people who do not like to cook are usually willing to work a little if it means having fun entertaining guests later.

    No kitchen would be complete without some fun tea and coffee gadgets. Your spouse may not like being in the kitchen, but learning how to brew the perfect pot is not that difficult, especially if you have the right tools. Many retailers sell percolators and stovetop teakettles. You can also invest in an espresso machine, a cream whipper for topping cups of hot chocolate, or an entire coffee set. Instead of buying a bulk package of the store brand, consider splurging on specialty coffee and tea blends that complements your new equipment.

    When it comes to getting your family involved, fun tools can make the prep work for a dish seem to go a lot faster. Luckily, most little gadgets are not expensive at all. For example, a cherry/olive pitter is a fun tool that most home chefs do not own, but can make the task fun for those who are not usually cooking. You can also purchase a hand held citrus juicer, a pineapple cutter that makes perfect rings, a frozen drink mixer, cake decorating pens, an egg slicer, a can crusher, several tools to make mini hamburgers, a waffle maker, a peanut butter maker, pancake molds, or even a yogurt maker. New gadgets in the kitchen can go a long way towards making cooking a lot of fun for you and your family.

    When it comes to getting help in the kitchen, most of the time all you have to do is ask. Nearly everyone is happy to help in the kitchen, at least occasionally, if they think that they are wanted and can be of help. You family may just be avoiding helping you because they think they will be in the way. Give every member of the family a task to help prepare each meal. Even small children can learn to set a table or mix batter under supervision. Cooking together makes every meal better, since everyone at the table eating the food will take a small sense of pride in it.

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  • Eat Live Whole Foods For Better Health

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    June 2, 2020 /  Food

    Everyone knows fruits and vegetables are healthy for your body, but do you know why? Fruits and vegetables are considered a live whole food when they are uncooked, and live whole foods are an important part of our diets that we may be missing. This article has some information on live whole foods and why they are important.

    Live whole foods are uncooked or unheated – raw and living plant-based foods. Which may include beans, fresh juices, nuts, seeds, sprouts, fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes, etc. These raw live whole foods contain a broad range of live enzymes and crucial life force nutrients – vitamins, amino acids, minerals, etc.

    Many who have been on a raw live food diet have seen great health improvements from eating this way. They have said to have superior mental alertness, energy levels, superior digestion and skin appearance. Weight loss has also been said could result in eating live whole foods.

    By this time you may be a little more curious as to what eating live whole foods can do for you, and how safe it would be to go on an all raw food diet.

    As with any diet you should consult your doctor first. However in my opinion it just wouldn’t seem healthy to eat all raw foods all the time. It seems that by eating all live foods you’d be missing some vitamins and minerals you may only get from other foods like dairy. Although, a diet composed mostly of live whole foods is one of the healthiest approaches to eating because of how rich in nutrients the foods are!

    By far one of the best ways to approach any diet is balancing. A healthy well balanced diet with raw foods as your main source of nourishment with plenty of variety seems like your best bet. Try to stay away from processed foods, and go for organic if at all possible.

    For most of us, it isn’t feasible to be eating a diet composed of all organic live whole foods due to our busy schedules, budget, and fast paced lifestyle. However I do believe that if we include more living foods into our diets, we will feel healthier, more energized, and ready to take on the world! Cutting back on processed foods and replacing them with more fruits and vegetables will greatly increase our general health and nutrition.

    To me there is nothing wrong with eating live whole foods, just as long as you are eating a well balanced diet. Organic is always the best way to eat anything because you aren’t putting a bunch of chemicals into your body that don’t nourish it, but if you eat as much organic as possible then that’s also good too.

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  • Evaluating The Best Rated Diet Products

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    May 25, 2020 /  Food

    Authorities estimate that human beings weigh more on average today than at any other point during the past. This increase in the average weight can be attributed to many different things. Some experts feel that a lack of exercise is to blame, while others point the finger at an increase in the number of processed foods being consumed by human beings today. Regardless of the cause behind this weight gain, almost every expert can agree that the increased average weight comes with significant risks. Read the rest of this entry »

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  • Banana toffee cream tartlets

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    May 24, 2020 /  Food
    Banana toffee cream tartletsPreparation time:
    20 mins plus 20 mins cooling
    Cooking time:
    2 hours

    Ingredients

    395g can sweetened condensed milk, unopened
    3 bananas (1 very ripe,
    2 ripe and firm)
    8 small shortcut pastry cases (7-8cm in diameter)
    120g 70% cocoa dark chocolate, roughly chopped
    1 Tbsp cocoa powder, sifted
    300ml thickened cream
    1 Tbsp brown sugar
    1 tsp ground cinnamon
    1 whole nutmeg
    Juice of ½ lemon
    Extra brown sugar, to serve

    Method

    1. Put unopened can of milk in a medium saucepan. Fill pan with water, cover and boil for 2 hours. Top up with water, if needed, to keep can submerged. Remove can from water and set aside for at least 20 minutes to cool (to prevent caramelised milk bursting out when can is opened).

    2. Spoon caramelised milk into a blender. Add very ripe banana and process briefly to combine.

    3. Put pastry cases on an oven tray and pour caramel mixture into cases. Set aside at room temperature or put in fridge to cool completely.

    4. Meanwhile, put chocolate in a food processor or spice grinder and pulse until finely chop. Transfer to a small bowl and toss through cocoa powder.

    5. Put cream in a large bowl and whip until thick. Add brown sugar, cinnamon and 6 grates of nutmeg, then fold through to create a swirling pattern.

    6. Finely slice remaining bananas on an angle and squeeze over lemon juice to prevent browning.

    7. Top each tartlet with banana slices and a dollop of cream. Sprinkle over extra brown sugar and chocolate mixture to serve.

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  • Wine and Food Pairings

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    May 21, 2020 /  Food

    Pairing food and wine is an art. To create a pleasurable dining experience, there are some basic considerations to understanding how food enhances the taste of wine, and vice versa. The goal is to find balance and synergy, keeping in mind that this process is one of personal preferences. Success is achieved when you find a combination that is pleasing to your palate.

    Here are some suggestions on how to pair food and wine, so that they may accentuate the flavors in one another and as a result, taste better.

    Consider how the dish is being prepared, and if there will be a dominate seasoning, sauce or flavor. Delicate foods should be served with a delicate wine, while heavy dishes go better with heavy full bodied wine.

    Keep in mind how the wine will react with the food. For example, sweet foods will taste less sweet with a wine high in tannins. While salty foods offset the sweetness and emphasize the fruit in sweet wines.

    Bring wine and food from the same geographical region together. It is natural for these combinations to work, especially with the culinary history in certain wine-producing regions around the world.

    For wine and cheese pairings, white wines compliment softer cheeses, while red wines taste better with hard cheeses. A Chardonnay, for example, enhances the flavors in a provolone or gruyere cheese. While a Merlot pairs well with brie.

    Below are some suggestions for pairing wine and food:

    Chardonnay- salmon, shellfish, veal, grilled chicken, grilled fish, cream sauces
    Sauvignon Blanc- fruit, white or light fish, lemon based sauces
    Pinot Grigio- turkey, shrimp, veal, cream sauces
    Dry Riesling- shrimp, lobster, chicken
    Zinfandel- tomato pasta dishes, pizza, pesto, chicken with heavy sauces
    Dry Rose- salads, light spicy food, pasta salads
    Cabernet Sauvignon- red meats, roast, dark chocolate, lamb
    Syrah/Shiraz- sausage, stew, peppered red meats, spicy pizzas
    Pinot Noir- salmon, light meats, chicken, tuna, beef stroganoff
    Merlot- pasta dishes, game birds, smoked or grilled meats, chicken

    These are only starting points for wine and food pairings. Experimentation is the key to finding a combination that fits your personality and works best for you.

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  • The Best Coffees in the World

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    May 18, 2020 /  Food

    When considering the best coffees in the world, I went to the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) for research. They are the organization that sets the quality standards for specialty coffee, which the public calls “gourmet” coffee. All specialty coffees use arabica beans. The other category of is the robusta bean, which is of inferior taste quality to arabica. Within these categories, there are several varieties of bean. Arabica beans are grown at a higher altitude than robusta.

    Coffee is the second most traded commodity in the world and is graded in a similar manner as wine. This event is called a “cupping” and has a set of strict standards. Winning a cupping is very prestigious and has a direct effect on the prices a coffee grower can get for his crop.

    History of these “cupping” winners has shown that three areas of the world produce the most winners. Interestingly, these regions have a very similar latitude when looking at the world map. The three regions are Ethiopia, Sumatra and Panama.

    Ethiopian/Kenyan Coffee (Africa)

    Ethiopian coffee is aromatic, highly flavorful, and also known to be some of the best coffees in the world. It is also the origin of all coffee. The Ethiopian people have a legend that says that a goat herder discovered Ethiopian coffee around 850 AD. This legend claims that the goat herder noticed that his sheep were very excited and nearly dancing after eating red berries from a tree. The legend of the founder goes on to say that the herder sampled the red berries for himself and took some of the berries home to his wife who insisted that he take them to the monks. The monks supposedly threw the berries into a fire and noticed the delicious smell that the berries produced. The monks are said to have removed the berries from the fire and boiled the berries in water to create the beverage that we now know as Ethiopian coffee.

    Whether this legend is true, or in fact just a legend is forever a mystery. Regardless, Ethiopian coffee has been used for religious ceremonies. These ceremonies are still held today and if a guest is invited to participate in the ceremony, it is well known to be a very beautiful experience.

    Locally, Ethiopian coffee is served with either sugar, or in some parts of Ethiopia, salt. Milk or any type of creamer is never used in traditionally brewing. The process of making the coffee varies by region. In some regions it is dry processed and in some other regions it is washed. The Ethiopian coffee found in stores today is dry processed.

    The process is often grueling and coupled with with importing adds to the reason of why Ethiopian coffee can be expensive.

    When consumers purchase Ethiopian coffee to be brewed at home, it is wise to consider fair trade Ethiopian coffee. The obvious reason to consider fair trade is so that the producers of this wonderful product can reap the benefits of their hard work. Ethiopian coffee has a rich, bold, and exciting history and a taste that has been favored by many people for a long time.

    Sumatran Coffee (Indonesia)

    Sumatran coffee comes from the island in Indonesia called Sumatra. The taste of Sumatran coffee is spicy, herbal, and very distinct. It is considered to be one of the best coffees in the world and was first introduced by the Dutch around 1699 when the Dutch wanted to keep up with the demand of coffee to Europe. The Dutch traders knew the difference between Sumatran coffee beans and other coffee beans by the appearance, which are irregularly shaped and bright green.

    Sumatran coffee is one of the best coffees in the world and has a low acidity which makes it highly favored among other types of coffee. The beans are usually grown in full sunlight and with no chemicals. A highly popular type of Sumatran coffee, yet thoroughly disgusting in many peoples opinion, is the kopi luwak Sumatran coffee. The kopi luwak coffee is coffee beans that have been eaten by the small animal known as a luwak. After the luwak digests and excretes the coffee beans, local villagers collect the excreted beans and roast them. These excreted and roasted beans are said to cost about $300 a pound. Of course, not all of Sumatran coffee comes from the excrement of the luwak. There are many other varieties of Sumatran coffee as well.

    Most of the Sumatran coffee beans are processed using the wet and dry processing method. This processing method is another reason why Sumatran coffee is so popular. Most other types of coffee beans are processed by using either a wet method or a dry method, hardly ever both.

    When purchasing Sumatran coffee for use at home, a person should try to purchase fair trade Sumatran coffee. Fair trade beans can be found at various online retailers and also at gourmet coffee retailers. This insures that the growers benefit from all of the hard work that they put into growing this delicious coffee.

    Sumatran coffee has a taste unlike any other and once you try it for yourself, you may find that it will quickly replace your current brand or at least be a coffee that becomes one of your favorites.

    Panamanian Coffee (Central America)

    Although Panama is the smallest of all coffee producing countries, they grow most of the best rated coffees every year. The coffee region surrounds the town of Boquete in the western province of Chiriqui close to the Costa Rican border. Some say Panama has the ideal micro climate to grow coffee receiving winds from the north along with a light mist and cool breeze. Most of the coffee is grown on farms and is called an Estate coffee which signifies the farm it is from.

    The process includes hand picking, washing and sun drying. The farms work closely with the indigenous people enhancing the community with social, medical and educational services. Because of this, fair trade is not a concern. It is a harmonious relationship between farm and worker.

    For years, coffee from Panama was not well known amongst the public but the quality was apparent to the traders. So much so, that one trader was caught selling the lower cost Panamanian coffee beans as Hawaiian Kona beans, a much well known high end arabica bean.

    Currently, Panamanian coffee has come of age winning numerous cuppings to the point in 2003 when the competition was changed. Previously, each entry was individual and Panamanian entrants would win up to five of ten awards. Now, they have groupings and each group can produce up to two winners that move up to the next level.

    It should be noted that although Panamanian coffee has been established as the best in the region, wonderful coffees do come from Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Columbia.

    Even though most of the world favors the western coffees, a true coffee lover should be adventurous and taste the best coffees of the world. Try Ethiopian and Sumatran coffees along with those that are in close proximity to those regions. You may be surprised at what you have been missing.

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  • Coffee Storage Myths; Freeze Your Fresh Roasted Coffee & Other Popular Misconceptions

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    May 17, 2020 /  Food

    So you are finally fed up with that bland black liquid, you once called coffee, brewed from the finest can of generic supermarket grinds. You are financially outraged at the price of a single cup of designer coffee shop coffee. It’s now time to take matters into your own hands!

    So you invest in the latest technologically advanced coffee maker, including your very own coffee bean grinder. Even the engineers at NASA would envy the bells and whistles on this baby. You splurge on several pounds of the finest fresh roasted Arabica bean coffee the world has to offer.

    You pop open the vacuum-sealed bag and release that incredible fresh roasted coffee aroma. Your eyes widen at the site of all those shiny brown beans as you begin to grind your first pound of gourmet coffee. You feel like a mad scientist as you adjust every bell and whistle on your space age coffee maker and you revel in this accomplishment as you finish your first cup of home brewed gourmet coffee. No more long lines and outrageous prices at the neighborhood café for you!

    Now it’s time to store all those pounds of unopened packages of fresh roasted coffee beans and the unused portion of the black gold you have just ground. Then you remember what your mother told you; “Freeze the unopened beans & Refrigerate the freshly ground coffee”.

    At this point, it would be best if you just returned to the supermarket and purchase a stock of those generic grinds you had grown to loathe. Having the best coffee beans available and using the most advanced coffee brewing equipment will do little to provide you with the best cup of coffee you desire if the beans are not treated correctly.

    Looking at the facts, we learn that the natural enemies of fresh roasted coffee are light, heat and moisture. Storing your coffee away from them will keep it fresher longer. Therefore, an airtight container stored in a cool, dry, dark place is the best environment for your coffee.

    But why not the freezer, It’s cool & dark?
    This does make sense, but if it be the case, then why do we not find our supermarket coffee in the frozen food section?

    Here’s why!

    • Coffee is Porous. It is exactly this feature that allows us to use oils and syrups to flavor coffee beans for those who enjoy gourmet flavored coffees. For this same reason, coffee can also absorb flavors and moisture from your freezer. The absorbed moisture will deteriorate the natural goodness of your coffee and your expensive gourmet coffee beans will taste like your freezer.
    • The coffee roasting process causes the beans to release their oils and essences in order to give the coffee its distinct flavor. This is the reason why your beans are shiny. These oils are more prominent on dark-roasted coffee and espresso beans and the reason why these coffees are so distinct in flavor. The process of freezing will break down these oils and destroy the natural coffee flavor. So unless you don’t mind frozen fish flavored coffee, you should avoid using the freezer to store your gourmet coffee beans at all costs.

    There are some exceptions to freezer storing your coffee, but you should proceed with caution! Fresh roasted coffee will remain fresh for approximately 2 weeks. If you have more than you can use in this 2 week period you can, and I shutter to say, freeze your coffee but you should follow these steps:

    • Apply the Freeze Once Rule. What this means is that once you take the beans out of the freezer, they should never go back in. The constant changes in temperature will wreak havoc on your coffee. The frozen moisture on your coffee will melt and be absorbed into the bean, destroying the coffee oils and allowing absorption of unwanted flavors. When you put it back into the freezer, you are repeating the process and destroying your expensive gourmet coffee
    • Keep moisture out! Remember, moisture is coffee’s natural enemy. If you have a five-pound bag of coffee to store, divide it up into weekly portions. Wrap those portions up using sealable freezer bags and plastic wrap. If possible, suck out the excess air from the freezer bag using a straw or a vacuum sealer. Remove the weekly portion when you need it, and store it in an air-tight container in a dry place like your pantry. And remember, Do not put it back into the freezer!

    So when is it best Refrigerate Coffee?
    Simply put, Never ever, unless you are conducting a science experiment on how long it takes to ruin perfectly good coffee. The fridge is one of the absolute worst places to put coffee. The reasons why not to freeze fresh roasted coffee also apply here.

    Other Popular Coffee Myths Exposed.

    • Grind all beans before storing Absolutely wrong!. Grinding the coffee breaks up the beans and their oils, exposes the beans to air, and makes the coffee go stale a lot faster, no matter how you store it. This especially holds true for flavored coffees! For the best tasting coffee, you should buy your beans whole and store them in a sealed container in a dark place. Grind right before serving!
    • Vacuum-sealed packaging equals fresh coffee. Again, absolutely wrong. The coffee roasting process causes the coffee beans to release a gas by-product, specifically carbon dioxide. This gas release process continues for several days after roasting. In order to be vacuum sealed, the coffee has to first release all its CO² or it will burst the bag, which means that it must sit around for several days before it can be packaged and shipped. This sitting around begins to rob the coffee of its freshness. Vacuum sealing is best for pre-ground coffee, which we already know is not going to taste as good as fresh-ground coffee. The best method for packaging and shipping is in valve-sealed bags. The valve allows the carbon dioxide gasses and moisture to escape but doesn’t allow oxygen or moisture in. Therefore, the fresh roasted coffee beans can be packaged and shipped immediately after roasting, ensuring the coffee’s freshness and taste.

    A quick review for storing your gourmet coffee

    • Buy fresh roasted, whole bean coffee directly from a coffee roaster if possible
    • Look for valve-sealed bags, not vacuum-sealed
    • Store your coffee beans in a sealed container in a dark place
    • Grind your beans just before brewing
    • Enjoy!

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