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The Frozen Facts

There's nothing easier than pulling something out of the freeze and popping it into the oven to quickly feed a hungry family. But food can overstay its welcome in the freezer. To ensure what you take out tastes as good as what you put in, keep your freezer at 0 degrees C, only freeze fresh produce and use air-tight containers. Most important of all, follow these time limits:

Food Store How Long?
Breads, rolls 6-8 months
Butter and margarine 9 months
Citrus fruits 4-6 months
Cut-up chicken (uncooked) 9 months
Frozen juice concentrate 12 months
Frozen vegetables 8-12 months
Fruits except citrus 8-12 months
Ice cream and sorbet 1 month
Lamb and beef roast (uncooked) 12 months
Pork and veal roast (uncooked) 8 months
Whole chickens and turkeys (uncooked) 12 months

Chilling Out

In humid climate, do we really need to get a wine cooler to cellar wine, or is it enough to just keep them in closets or storerooms? At what temperature should wines be stored and served? In a high temperatures mean that any wine collection will deteriorate reasonably quickly if not chilled. I live in Melbourne, where it is possible to keep wine at between 16 and 18 deg C with an underground cellar and without cooling, but even that is at the upper end of a desirable temperature range.

Residents of Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and Darwin have to cool for their wines to age properly. As far as I am concerned, the best temperature range in which wine should be kept is 14 to 15 deg C. Within this range, wine will mature properly with no ill effect, but not too slowly that you need to wait forever to enjoy the changes associated with maturation. I worry if wine is kept at above 18 degrees for any real length of time.

Most importantly, wine needs to be stored in an insulated environment where there is little change of daily and seasonal temperature, although the latter issue is clearly more important in temperate climates such as that of Melbourne's. Melbourne is not a humid place, so one needs to be aware of the humidity in a cellar. It can easily be addressed with means as simple as pouring water onto a gravel floor or as sophisticated as installing a humidifier.

I would expect it to be of even less importance in humid country. As for serving temperature, it is fine to assume that whites should be drunk chilled and reds should be enjoyed at or just below a standard room temperature of around 20 deg C. Be careful of serving a wine too cool because the colder it gets, the less its flavors are able to-evaporate. Our perception of flavor depends on a wine's ability to deliver volatile flavor molecules and our ability to detect them, so over-chilled wines appear tasteless and bland.

The most vulnerable white wines are usually from the less aromatic varieties like chardonnay, semillon and pivot gris, plus the richer and broader varieties like viognier and roussanne. More aromatic white wines from grapes such as riesling, gewiirztraminer and sauvignon blanc can handle more of a chill. The only reds I would ever chill are the lighter, more aromatic reds made without tannin in the fashion of Beaujolais or some of the modern lighter wines made from southern Rhone varieties.

What To Look For In A Hand-Blender?

  • Ergonomically-designed for easy handling.
  • Multiple-speed range so you can blend a large pot of soup or froth a cup of mocha.
  • An anti-splashing blender shaft that makes sure food stays in the mixing bowl instead of being whizzed out of it. A long wire so you can bring the blender to the stove.
  • Battery-operated blenders may die out too quickly.

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