What’s the Fastest Way to Chill a Can of Beer?

There’s nothing like cracking a cold beer on a hot summer day, but what if your six-pack isn’t chilled? You’ve got to find a way to get those brews frosty, lest you face the horror of a lukewarm libation. That’s why we’re trying a couple methods to cool your beer quickly.

Source: What’s the Fastest Way to Chill a Can of Beer?

Part of what is needed for the towel (though it may need more time too) is air circulation.

If the air cannot move around the towel, it won’t be able to chill the towel and contents of the can. The can keeps the towel warm enough to stay floppy. It is similar to the non-electric freezers that can get cold enough to freeze water in the middle of summer heat.  Short summary, you take a sealed vessel to hold whatever needs to be chilled/frozen, surround it with a porous material that can hold moisture (soil works well), then place all that in a container that can allow the air move freely over most of the surface. Provided the moisture remains, all that heat will get sucked out by the water.

Why would adding salt to the ice bath accelerate cooling of the beer?

Freezing water is around 0° C, but freezing salt-water can go as low as -21° C. In early experiments, Gabriel Fahrenheit was able to get freezing salt water down to about -18 C, or what he called 0° F.

Side note: Fahrenheit soon realized that freezing salt water and blood made lousy reference points (cough Celsius cough) and ended up using freezing and boiling water.

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Whole-Grain Flour Has a Short Shelf Life, So Freeze It

Let’s just say you were unable to resist the temptation of the bulk bin aisle, and you’ve arrived home with a half-dozen baggies filled with everything from quinoa flour to einkorn. These things happen, but not to worry, because you have plans — big plans! — for baking all sorts of wondrous things in the coming weeks.

Okay, you eager-beaver baker, you — do you know where you should be storing all your lovely bags of whole-grain flour until your schedule clears? Do you know why?

Source: Why You Should Probably Be Storing Your Whole-Grain Flours in the Freezer

Why should I care about it being in an air-tight container? Because even in the freezer, the fats will react (slowly) with oxygen and become rancid. In an air-tight container, the oxygen level will eventually drop too low for the reaction to continue, thus preserving the flour for a longer time than flour stored in the freezer and constantly exposed to fresh oxygen.

On the flip side, whole grain wheat has a shelf live of over 30 years if properly prepared, sealed and stored.  Just add a grinder for flour.

Freeze Tofu for a Firmer, Chewier Texture

One easy step will remedy most of your tofu-related tribulations: As soon as you get home from the grocery store, drain your tofu and stick it in the freezer. (You can slice the tofu before freezing if you want it to thaw faster.) Freezing changes the texture of tofu drastically and almost magically: When ice crystals form, they create small holes in the tofu, making it far spongier, firmer, and chewier than it was before. No amount of draining, patting dry, or pressing tofu can minimize sogginess as much as freezing does.

Source: You’re Doing It Wrong: Tofu

This doesn’t quite work with the creamy Japanese style tofu in the shelf-stable packaging; it has to be the water packaged, coarser tofu. once you’ve thawed out frozen tofu, you can squeeze more water out of it without losing its structure. you can take coarsely chopped pieces of this transformed tofu and pulse it in a food processor for a great “crumble” similar to the texture of cooked ground meat, and in this state it absorbs flavor like a sponge.

I’ve seen recipes that recommend this method for kabobs. I used it in a stir fry recipe, and you can pretty much use it in any tofu meal in which you’re going for a drier, firmer texture.

Make Whipped Cream That Lasts by Adding Sour Cream

Now I always make my whipped cream in advance, with a little help from sour cream (and science).

Source: How to Make Whipped Cream Ahead of Time

You could add mascarpone and a small amount of powdered sugar to stabilize it. Tastes awesome, held it’s shape and didn’t weep/lose any moisture.  A little unflavoured gelatin would work too.

Keep Your Strawberries Fresh Longer with These Three Simple Rules

Whether you plan to eat the whole carton out of hand (I can’t blame you!), or you have a stack of recipes at the ready to put them to use, the real key to making those berries hold up is storing them properly. Do you know the right way to store strawberries?

Source: The Best Ways to Store Strawberries

Strawberries have vitamin K:

  • 1 pint/357 grams, pureed contains 7.9 mcg of vitamin K – 10% Daily Value (DV)
  • 1 cup/232 grams, pureed contains 5.1 mcg of vitamin K – 6% DV
  • 1 cup/144 grams, whole contains 3.2 mcg of vitamin K – 4% DV

1 cup or less, I wouldn’t worry about.  More than that, there’s a decent risk of impacting your INR.

Ice Cubes: Shrinkage, Bad Taste and Freezer Burn

Why do ice cubes in my freezer shrink over time?

In a word: sublimation. It’s a phase transition where a solid goes directly to a gas/vapor, with no liquid intermediate phase.  Fun fact: evaporation happens at that temperature as well. That’s how very cold places like the North Pole still have snow storms.

Evaporation and sublimation are not synonyms – there’s a meaningful difference.  Under normal circumstances, a phase transition would be solid to liquid to gas, while sublimation is solid to gas without the stopover in the liquid state.  Specific conditions which have to be met in order for sublimation to occur.

Why do “freezer burned” ice cubes taste bad?

A freezer isn’t at a constant temperature. Other things in the freezer are sublimating as well. The liquid inside the frozen peas… that mystery meat in the back you’ve forgotten about… etc. Trace amounts are being refrozen into those ice cubes. You’re tasting the flavors of various spoiled things.

It starts as soon as you put the ice in the freezer as water.  You can minimize the impact by putting the ice cube tray in a bag, and using filtered/demineralized water.  But ice is porous, as is plastic. If it sits long enough, everything but probably glass will absorb odor.  So you’re probably best to prepare a tray before you need the cubes.

What is freezer burn, exactly, and how does it happen?

It most commonly occurs with frost-free freezers.

On a regular basis, freezers will heat up the walls so any frost build-up melts. During this time, the outside layer of anything in there can melt a little.  Once the defrost cycle is done, everything refreezes – usually with a fresh layer of condensation from the temperature bounce, which will damage the cells in the food over time. Ice cream will taste icy and bland, frozen peas will get mushy, etc.  A chest freezer doesn’t do this, and so you see much less freezer burn.

 

Freezer: Food Graveyard for Younger Cooks?

Young shoppers do not like eating food that is stored in the freezer, a survey has found. Why is it so unpopular, asks Luke Jones.  Those younger than 34 were twice as likely to say they did not like eating food from the freezer as those over 35, according to the survey.

Freezer cookbooks were once a must-have kitchen item, but for younger cooks the freezer is a “graveyard” where bad and forgotten meals sit and frost over. Meat that is about to go off, unwanted food from relatives and emergency last resort meals are its only stock.

Source: Why has the freezer become a food graveyard for younger cooks?

The insta-meal is alluring…

Freezer Hack for Power Outages

Lifted from Bite Size Typs:

  1. Get a clear plastic container (IE: soda/pop bottle)
  2. Add some pebbles/small rocks – 1 cm/0.5 inches worth
  3. Add water to cover the rocks
  4. Freeze
  5. Invert/Turn the container upside down and leave it in the freezer

Check the container – if rocks are visible at the bottom (top if it were right side up), the freezer lost power for long enough to be concerned about food spoilage.

Bite Size Typs suggests using a mason jar, but the glass is thicker than a soda/pop bottle where the heat transfer would be faster.