*ALWAYS IN SEASON FRUIT SALAD * DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DUTCH-PROCESS AND NATURAL COCOA POWDER * THE EASIEST WAY TO MAKE LEMON CURD*
Well, the holiday season is upon us. This edition of Holiday Healthy Kitchen Hacks will likely provide some fun kitchen shortcuts for you…
And if you need a few more to get through the next couple weeks, check out our:
- 5 more Holiday Baking Healthy Kitchen Hacks
- 3-Ingredient Homemade Foodie Gifts Healthy Kitchen Hacks
- 5 Holiday Entertaining Healthy Kitchen Hacks
1. Always In-Season Fruit Salad
Brynn @Domestic Dietitian
While oranges, mandarines, pomegranate and mangos are in season right now, some other fruits at the supermarket tend to look or taste sad in winter. Enter the fruit salad that’s always in season: The Frozen Fruit Salad.
When I stare at my empty fruit bowl, I sometimes forget that my freezer is always stocked with frozen raspberries, frozen mango, and several other frozen fruits. But after seeing this fun 45-second video from Brynn, I’m taping a note “Frozen Fruit Salad” to the bottom of my fruit bowl – so that when the fruit is gone, I’ll remember to make this salad.
2. The Difference Between Alkalized Cocoa Powder and Natural Cocoa
Joy @Joy the Baker
As I was making up a couple batches of 3-Ingredient Hot Cocoa Mix and noticed that the labels on my cans of cocoa powder contained three different terms: Alkalized cocoa powder, dutch-processed cocoa powder, natural cocoa powder. Honestly, I’ve never known the difference. So here’s the scoop from Joy on these terms:
- Alkalized Cocoa Powder – It’s actually the same thing as Dutch-processed cocoa powder. The natural acid found in cocoa has been neutralized through the alkalizing/Dutch-processing, but rich dark taste remains along with some of the fat. It’s darker in color. Baked goods recipes using this cocoa must contain acid for the final treat to leaven/rise; so alkalized cocoa is paired with baking powder.
- Natural Cocoa Powder – It still contains the natural acid found in cocoa. This cocoa is lighter in color. In recipes, it’s generally paired with baking soda. BTW, the package label may not say ‘natural cocoa;’ instead, you’ll see “unsweetened cocoa powder.” It’s the regular Hershey’s cocoa powder in supermarkets.
If you’re making Homemade Chocolate Peppermint Pudding or that DIY Hot Cocoa Mix, you can use either Dutch-processed or natural cocoa, depending on your taste for dark or lighter chocolate flavor. This is because there is no flour, leavening or baking involved. But if you’re baking, follow the recipe. If it’s an old-school family recipe, use natural, non-alkalized cocoa, because alkalized powder wasn’t available back in the day.
3. The Easiest Way to Make Lemon Curd
Maria @Maria Dernikos
I made homemade lemon curd once. It was amazing. But it was a pain in the neck: Lots of standing and stirring….and never quite knowing when it was ‘just right’. I thought: Never again.
Until I found Maria’s recipe for Lemon Curd in the Microwave. No standing and stirring. And in the microwave, there’s practically zero chance of overcooking. It was sooooo good, I’m not so sure I’ll be able to give it away as teacher gifts, as I’d planned!
There are other Microwave Lemon Curd recipes out there, I’ve discovered. But I like Maria’s technique. However, I did change her ingredient amounts. Here’s what I used:
- 6 tablespoons butter
- A little less than 1 cup sugar
- 2/3 cup lemon juice
- 2 eggs
Note: See the photo of the large measuring bowl above – and how the curd climbed way up the sides of the bowl? Use this type of large bowl to avoid boiled-over curd in the microwave.
Would you try any of these hacks? Do you have any healthy kitchen or healthy living shortcuts to share? Shoot us an email (or share in comments below and we’ll try them out.)