Helpful Hints In the Kitchen: Part 2, Appetizers and Beverages

By Sarah Hunt, AZFB Communications Intern



Have you ever cooked a meal with one of your parents or grandparents and they showed you a cool trick or shortcut you didn’t know before? Well thanks to Southwest Family Citrus, we have a whole series of them for you! Make sure to check back next week for more tips.


  1. You won’t need sugar with your tea if you drink jasmine tea or any of the lighter-bodied varieties, like Formosa Oolong, which have their own natural sweetness. They are fine for sugarless iced tea, too.
  2. Calorie-free club soda adds sparkle to iced fruit juices, makes them go further and reduces calories per portion.
  3. For tea flavoring, dissolve old-fashioned lemon drops or hard mint candy in your tea. They melt quickly and keep the tea brisk!
  4. Most diets call for 8 ounces of milk and 4 ounces of fruit juice. Check your glassware. Having the exact size glass ensures the correct serving amount.
  5. Make your own spiced tea or cider. Place orange peels, whole cloves, and cinnamon sticks in a 6-inch square piece of cheesecloth. Gather the corners and tie with a string. Steep in hot cider or tea for 10 minutes or longer if you want a stronger flavor.
  6. Always chill juices or sodas before adding to beverage recipes.
  7. To cool your punch, float and ice ring made from the punch rather than using ice cubes. Not only is this more decorative, but it also inhibits melting and diluting.
  8. Place fresh or dried mint in the bottom of a cup of hot chocolate for a cool and refreshing taste.
  9. One lemon yields about ¼ cup of juice; one orange yields about 1/3 cup of juice. This is helpful in making fresh orange juice or lemonade!
  10. Never boil coffee; it brings out the acid and causes a bitter taste. Store ground coffee in the refrigerator or freezer to keep it fresh.
  11. Always use COLD water for electric drip coffee makers. Use 1 to 2 tablespoons ground coffee for each cup of water.
  12. Seeds and nuts, both shelled and unshelled, keep best and longest when stored in the freezer. Unshelled nuts crack more easily when frozen. Nuts and seeds can be used directly from the freezer.
  13. Cheese should be served at room temperature, approximately 70 degrees.
  14. To prevent cheese from sticking to a grater, spray the grater with cooking spray before beginning.

Find more cooking tips on Fill Your Plate’s blog!

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