1. Store tomatoes at room temperature.
Fresh tomatoes, one of chief pleasures. To keep them tasting their best, don’t refrigerate them unless they’re about to spoil. Refrigeration shuts down flavor-producing enzyme activity and causes a mealy texture. (Refrigerated tomatoes can recover some of their flavor enzyme activity if left at room temperature for a day or two before using.)
To store a cut tomato, cover the cut side with plastic wrap, pulling it taut over the cut side and wrapping it loosely around the uncut sides of the tomato. Put the tomato cut side down on a small plate; it’ll keep at room temperature for up to two days.
2. Golden apple is great for salads.
If you like adding a bit of raw apple to your quick salads, choose the Golden Delicious variety. It doesn’t oxidize and turns brown the way other varieties do. Golden Delicious ranges from pale green to warm yellow. The more yellow the fruit, the sweeter and softer it is.
3. Use aluminum foil shiny side up or down.
Most people think it matters whether aluminum foil is used shiny side up or down, but the surprising truth is that it doesn’t make a difference. The variation is a result of the manufacturing process—the shiny side comes in contact with highly polished steel rollers, and the matte side doesn’t. The appearance has no effect on how the foil performs.
4. You don’t need an olive pitter to pit an olive.
For quick meals, you do have time to pit olives. Just grab your chef’s knife or a saucepan. The action is the same for both tools: Apply pressure with the bottom of the pan or the side of the knife until the olive splits, exposing the pit enough that it can be plucked away by hand. For soft black olives, use the knife. For firm green olives, use a pan because more pressure is needed and the knife might slip. With the pan, you can crack more olives at the same time.
5. Want to gauge a Chilli’s heat? Follow your nose.
Some jalapeños are mild and others spicy. But you don’t have to set your mouth on fire to find out how hot your Chilli is. Instead, cut it open and bring it close to your nose. If it’s hot, you’ll immediately feel a tingling sensation, which can vary in intensity. If you sense no tingling, the Chilli is mild.