Refrigeration Management

Here you have it folks,

This article is about a subject no one would consider fun reading material. If you are an active cook, it will all make sense to you.

REFRIGERATION MANAGEMENT Whether you are operating a restaurant kitchen serving 150 dinners or just cooking for your family or yourself, managing your refrigerator and its contents is an ongoing task which is easily neglected.

Its contents are perishable and will eventually go bad and rot. Preparing and consuming outdated and perished foods is unappealing and even toxic to your body.

Unfortunately, large amounts of the food and materials we purchase, some shipped thousands of Kilometers, will be going to the garbage or the compost. Of course, this can be avoided if regular checks in your fridge occur.

By managing your fridge you will always have fresh material to cook with, throw less in the garbage and save some money for treats like ice cream.

In an industrial kitchen it is someone’s job to keep the fridge in order. In your home it is your job. As a new food supply is delivered or brought home from the market, it needs to be put away in it’s right place. F.i.f.o. (first in first out) a golden rule for perishables must be followed. What this means is that you need to rotate your stock by putting the fresh behind the old and use the older material before the new.

If you have it, take an additional 5 minutes and inspect some of the containers and jars hidden behind the Pickles and Aunt Mary’s chutney. Most likely you will find a jar or container with a long forgotten and mysterious content. Ask yourself, am I going to use this in the near future? If the answer is yes, make it visible and incorporate it in your food preparation. If it is still there after one week, get rid of it.

We always have a large variety of vegetables in our crisper. Some of the time stuff gets buried and starts to wilt. Take the whole drawers right out of the fridge, empty and clean it before fresh material goes in the bottom and older produce goes on top. Should you have a lot of bits and pieces of vegetables in your drawer, plan for a stir fry or a vegetable soup for dinner. Another option is to clean and freeze the vegetables for the next time you cook a puree of vegetable soup.

Visibility and accessibility are 2 key factors on gaining best usage of your fridge. To store, tall containers should be behind the short. Try to use square and see through containers for maximum space usage and visibility. If needed, use removable stickers to label items with date.

As for meat, fish, poultry and other fast perishables they must always be kept separate from vegetables, lettuce and fruits to avoid cross contamination through leakage. A large see-through container with a lid is best.

Of course nothing should be uncovered to avoid drying out and passing odors from one item to the next.

The ideal temperature of a refrigerator is between 2 and 4 degree Celsius (35 to 40 f.). Since warm air rises to the top, the lower part of the fridge will be the coolest and is therefore the ideal spot for storing meats, fish and other highly perishable items. If your fridge does not have a built in thermometer you can purchase one and tape it to the back, keeping it visible to read and adjust the temperature if needed.

And finally, keep your refrigerator always well stocked with a good choice of Ingredients to allow you variety and creativity in the kitchen.





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For over 200 years Bavarians have been celebrating the Oktoberfest in Munich.

It started when King Ludwig 1 threw a party for his new wife Therese  in 1810 at the Theresian  Wiese.  A large oval shaped meadow now in the middle of Munich. They had horse races, games  and other skill testing competitions such as tree climbing and wood chopping and of course food and  beer.

The Münchners love their Oktober fest. Women in their Dirndl Dress and the men in Lederhosen  proudly show off the Bavarian Trachten outfits.

On the opening day a huge parade of 8000 participants including horse drawn Beer wagons, Dignitaries  and Blasmusik (Umpapa)heading to the fairgrounds cheered by thousands of spectators.

It is custom that the incumbent Mayor of Munich  zapfed ( taps)the first keg and draws  the first Mass of Beer for the Bavarian Premier Minister. A mass is a litre of beer traditionally served in a stone and now in a glass Krug ( Stein) The Cost this year was 11 Euros.

Traditionally companies in  Munich and surrounding area give Beer and Food coupons to their employees to spend with their family at the Oktoberfest.

There are about 6.5 million visitors each year from all over the world. During the 16 days about 6 to 7 million litres of beer are consumed. Not to forget the 90 000 l. of wine, the ½ million Rotisserie Chicken, 70 000 Pork hocks, thousands of sausages, 110 whole Oxen cooked on a spit, Fish for the open fire pit, Cheese,  pickled Herring, Radishes, Pretzels, Lebkuchen Hearts, candied nuts……

Getting a seat in one of the many beer tents, each holding an average of 6-7 thousand visitors may be a challenge. Once seated with a Mass Beer in hand and some of the traditional food in your belly you are good to join in with the happy crowd toasting and singing with the sound of a Bavarian Blasmusik. 

Ein prosit, Ein Prosit zur Gemütlichkeit     Oans  Zwoa  Drei  Gsuffa.

Just remember the beer is about 2 % stronger then normal beer and with all the encouragement by the band, singing a  toast every 15 minutes you will be flying like a Bavarian Eagle in no time.

Perhaps this is the time to head out to the midway and take some of the many rides. The giant Ferris Wheel gives you a great view overlooking the entire Oktoberfest and parts of Munich. Just don’t lose the Sauerkraut while you are swirling around and around. You may try your skill in shooting an air rifle at one of the many shooting galleries. In case of tooo much beer you may want to skip the rides and the shooting all together and stay to the sweet end in the tent with all your new friends. Perhaps you will join the ranks of the Bierleichen.                                                                                                                                      

If you have not been to the Oktoberfest, add it to your bucket list now and start planning.                           In my teens I lived 10 minutes from the Oktoberfest and can vouch for its excitement and authentic Bavarian madness.

Servos, saeng ma uns auf da Wiesn!

One of the popular dishes at the Oktoberfest is Schweinswürstl ( fried pork sausage ) with Sauerkraut

Here is a recipe for Sauerkraut as we cooked it at the Peterhof in München

1 can                           Sauerkraut (German made is best)

1 med.                       Onion, cut in to thin slices

250 g.                                    Smoked Pork ( bacon, hock) not a must but it adds flavour!

1 Tbsp.                      Caraway seeds, Peppercorns, Bay leaf, Juniper berries

1 Tbsp.                      Sugar

½ l.                              Water


Rinse brine off sauerkraut, add all ingredients and bring to a boil with a lid on. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 40 to 60 minutes. Adjust seasoning and moisture.

Keeps one week in the refrigerator.


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The Benefit of Chewing

This article appeared originally in Table Talk issue 1,  2003

Please re-enjoy!

The Benefit of Chewing

For some, eating is strictly the means of survival and for others it is viewed as one of the enjoyments of the day. Eating habits vary and we adapt most of them in our younger years at the family table.

With our busy lives: parents working, commuting, and after school and after dinner activities for kids, the traditional family meal around the table seems to be more and more a thing of the past. We have developed into a rush rush society.

Eating on the run has become a term of our times. Not only are we losing the tradition of sitting around the table and discussing family stuff we are also missing out on the enjoyment of eating our food. Meals are eaten in record times and by doing so the food we eat is not getting the appreciation and the appropriate attention it deserves.

Nutritionists are telling us that digestion starts in the mouth. By chewing food well and adding vital digestive juices which are found in saliva we provide the stomach with easy digestible material. As well, by chewing your food in to a fine mash your taste buds will register the flavours of the food you are eating.

Finally, you will spend more time with the ones you love most around your dinner table and perhaps have some good Table Talk.


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Wild Grapes

Wild Grapes
Free for the taking.
If you have been out in nature for the last few weeks you may have noticed that this year there are an exceptional amount of wild grapes hanging on the vines.
Just like their cosines this native grape variety looks much like a concord or all the other grape varieties. The tiny blue grapes hang in bunches with a very intense red purple juice and hard seeds. By now, the beginning of October the flavor has developed to be very strong, sweet and delicious. Just get out ther and pick yourself a bunch and try this incredible little freebee. If you are so inclined, wild grapes may be made in to a syrup, jelly or wine.

Wild Grape Syrup:
If they are very dusty you may want to rinse them off before processing them. Place the grapes in to tall sock pot and mash them with a potato masher.
Add half their weight of sugar and quarter of water and bring to a boil for 10 minutes. Let cool, and strain the liquid through a cheese cloth or fine strainer. Reheat the syrup and fill it in to a clean glass container. Store in the refrigerator one opened.
To make a drink use 1 part syrup and 6 parts of water or sparking water.
This syrup may also be used as a sauce with dessert, ice cream or yogurt.

For a Wild Grape Jelly add equal amout of sugar to the squashes grapes and cook for 15 minutes. Strain and fill in to sterilized jars.


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What’s up September 2011

Residential FarmHello Folks

Yes I know it has been 9 month since I posted my last and first blog. Of course much has happend since, the trip to Hawaii was fantastic. Lily and I celebrated our 30th Wedding anniversary in May with yet another trip to Europe. High lights were Weissbier and Weisswurst in Bavaria, Rabbit Stew in Strassbourg, Risotto with Burning Nettels in Italy as well lots of Chocolate and Coffee in Swizerland.
During the summer, busines and pleasere were good and I am still teaching students at George Brown College the basics of cooking.
Last week through my association with Transition Town Peterbnorough I was involved in organising our first Purple Onion local and slow food festival. The purpose was to promote local farmers and business. With the help of Fleming College students we served 2 dishes with mostly organic and local ingredients. A handout of recipes with nutrient and cost comparison to a fast food meal was well received by a happy crowd.

Gardening: I had enough of weeding in our front lawn and not reeping any benefits, as of this summer we now have a fruit and vegetable garden. Come by and see it, the Tomatoes, Basil, Parsley… are thriving. Our local TV station ChexTv did a copple of segments about the garden and  preserving herbs. Here is the link if you are interested..

OK, signing off


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Off to Hawaii

Tomorrow Lily and I are leaving for 10 day on Maui, Hawaii.

Bathing in luxory, the beach and the sun.

I look to bing back new vigor, ideas and great stories.

See you soon.


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