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Iris Harmon

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What Is Table Cream? Fascinating Facts About This Seemingly-Familiar Ingredient! 

Julia Child once said, “If you are afraid of butter, use cream.” Those were such brilliant words. The problem is, what cream? 

The cream is almost magical. It lends a smooth, rich texture to both sweet and savory dishes and transforms a simple cup of coffee into a fancy hot beverage. As familiar as it is, though, using this dairy product can become troublesome for home cooks, particularly because it takes on various forms. 

Table cream, heavy cream, whipping cream, double cream… The list is endless and probably spinning in your head. Don’t worry, Eatnlivewell got your back! Let’s walk down the dairy aisle, beginning with the question “What is table cream?” first. Scroll down, and you will find everything you’ve ever wanted to know about this delightful ingredient!

A Special Type Of Cream 

Table Cream Definition
What is table cream? – Source: Julie’s Cafe Bakery

Table cream is the most confusing type of cream and, at the same time, the most fascinating one. Baristas would use table cream in coffee and other mixed drinks, while for bakers, this variety is perfect for drizzling atop a warm slice of pie or fresh fruit. It also lends flavors to crowd-pleasing dishes like cheesy mushroom stroganoff and even Monday Night Mac & Cheese. 

Why is this ingredient so versatile, you might ask? To answer this question, you should know what table cream really is!

What Is Table Cream Exactly? 

Like any other “cream”, table cream consists of two main ingredients: Cream and milk. What sets it apart from other varieties is the milk fat percentage, which ranges between 18 and 30%. Take a look at the table below: 

Types of cream Amount of milk fat
Half-and-half10.5% – 18%
Table cream18% – 30%
Whipping cream30% – 36%
Heavy cream> 36%

As you can see, table cream contains less fat than most types. That’s why we Americans often call it “light cream.” However, this cream is not “light” in the sense of “healthy.” Sure, its fat percentage is lower than whipping cream and heavy cream, but not low enough for those who need to restrict their fat intake. Splashes of light cream can still take your cup of coffee from zero calories to the opposite end of the spectrum, so don’t be too generous, folks! 

Usually, this cream doesn’t include any additives, artificial flavors, or added sugar. It’s nothing more than freshly made, real, and pasteurized dairy cream. Some companies can add other components to improve the quality of their products, though. It’s best to check out the ingredient list before purchasing if you have a sensitive digestive system. 

Table Cream VS Heavy Cream 

Differences between table cream and heavy cream
Is table cream the same as heavy cream? – Source: Julie’s Cafe Bakery

In most cases, table cream and heavy cream can be used interchangeably. Even the best chefs might have secretly swapped them in their mashed potatoes, and our palates simply can’t taste the difference. Nonetheless, being able to tell them apart will help you get the most out of each type. 

Like I just mentioned, table cream contains anywhere between 18 and 30% of milk fat. This is much lower than the amount of fat in heavy cream, which goes beyond 36%. 

The difference in fat content also affects the products’ tastes and textures: Table cream is mild and light, with a smooth, liquid-like texture. Meanwhile, heavy cream lends a rich and fatty flavor to dishes with its thick consistency. 

Uses Of Table Cream 

Thanks to its exclusive liquid form, table cream is used to enhance the flavor of drinks, desserts, and even main dishes, in a way other types of cream cannot. 

Table Cream In Coffee 

Table Cream And Coffee
Table cream makes for a wonderful pairing with coffee – Source: Operator Coffee Co

The cold weather is here, and if you crave a cup of coffee with a dollop of luscious goodness, table cream is your savior! Since it’s a liquid, you can pour the cream directly into your drink without having to melt or process it. 

Table cream’s smooth and velvety texture goes well with both hot and cold brews, making your coffee richer and creamier. If you have a sweet tooth, go with the sweetened version of table cream – it will make a great alternative to sugar or any sweetener. Simply add a spoonful of table cream to your hot drink and enjoy your winter holiday! 

Table Cream In Desserts

How about desserts? Taking your sweet treats to the next level is never easier with table cream. Simply drizzle it over a cake or a slice of pie, and your dessert is ready to impress everyone. 

Other than cakes and pies, light cream is often added to custards or pudding. In case your recipes call for condensed or whole milk, you might use light cream as an alternative for an even more indulgent experience. Just be aware of the additional fat and calorie content.

Recipes with Table Cream: Cream Custard

There’s one caveat here: Don’t use table cream to make whipping cream. When making whipped cream, a dairy product needs at least 30% milk fat to create the emulsion effect. Table cream will not foam up when you whip it, so it’s not suitable for desserts requiring whipped cream. 

Table Cream In Soup & Sauce 

Due to its mild taste, table cream is extremely versatile. You can use this ingredient for many things, from sauces to soups and curries. In case you don’t know, it’s a staple in Gordon Ramsay’s classic broccoli soup: 

Broccoli Soup Best Ever Homemade Old Fashioned (Easy Recipe) – Gordon Ramsay

One thing you have to be mindful of while using table cream is the temperature. At high heat, the cream tends to break apart. Here’s a pro tip for you: Don’t ever let table cream reach its boiling point unless you want it to ruin the dish’s consistency! 

So, if you want to use table cream in your sauce, soup, or curry, then add it when the sauce just begins to simmer on the stove. Cook the sauce gently and try not to stir too much – this will help the cream stay intact. 

Another way is to pour in the cream just one to two minutes before removing the sauce from the stovetop. By doing this, you may avoid curdling the sauce while still enjoying its ultra-rich texture. 

How To Store Table Cream? 

Now that you see the magic of table cream, do you want to keep some cartons in the pantry so you can whip up your favorite dish or dessert at any time? That’s a brilliant idea, I’d say, but you will need to know how to store this ingredient.

Before being opened, table cream can stay in the pantry for months. However, just as with other milk products, it’s best to store the cream in the fridge to maintain freshness. Keep it at a chilled, consistent temperature, but don’t let it freeze. 

What if you are left with an opened can of table cream after the party? The first thing is to remove it from the metal can – metal will become rusty if you expose it to moisture. Then, store your cream the same way in the fridge. Don’t forget to use the remaining cream within 4 – 5 days and check to see if it’s spoiled before using. If the cream tastes or smells weird, get rid of it and get a new can from the grocery store. 

Substitutes For Table Cream 

Finally, picture this: You want to add richness to a cup of coffee or a batch of butter chicken, yet you don’t have any table cream at hand. 

An unwanted situation indeed! But don’t panic just yet – one of the alternatives I list below can save the day:

Half-And-Half 

Half-and-half is, without a doubt, the best alternative for table cream in coffee or any other beverage. Although it has much less fat (only 10.5 – 18%) than table cream, its consistency is almost the same. 

If you use half-and-half, you might need to pour in more to achieve the richness and creaminess you desire. Still, its taste is almost identical to table cream. 

Evaporated Milk 

What will you get if you remove the water from whole milk? The answer is evaporated milk! It’s a thick, rich liquid that perfectly replicates the texture of the cream. 

Evaporated Milk
Evaporated milk is a healthy substitute for table cream – Source: Bigger Bolder Baking

Of course, evaporated milk can’t match table cream when it comes to fat percentage. To me, that’s not really a bad thing: The substitute would be a healthier choice for those want to eat well by restricting their calories and fat intake. The best thing is you can still get the rich and creamy tastes in beverages and desserts. Yum! 

Whole Milk And Butter

Compared to table cream, the amount of fat in whole milk is much lower. That’s why we need butter. By combining melted butter with whole milk, the richness will be elevated significantly. You now have a mixture perfect for sauces, soups, and curries. 

As a rule of thumb, for each cup of table cream, add 3 tablespoons of butter to 7 or 8 cups of whole milk. 

How To Make Butter Milk At Home?

The Taste Of Comfort

What is table cream, then? Well, it’s a terrific ingredient to have at your disposal. Table cream can rock any dish, from savory to sweet, and instantly give your palate a luscious and decadent experience. 

On a cold and rainy afternoon, you may crave a hot cup of cocoa or a bowl of chicken soup. Both will hit the spot, but don’t forget to add a tablespoon of light cream – it will make a simple dinner feel like therapy to you!

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Create Your Own Style: Simple Technique To Tie Dye Shirt With Bleach

You already know that fast fashion, which requires us to keep purchasing new, cheap clothes, has detrimental effects on both society and the environment. For instance, the production of a single tee and a pair of jeans uses 20,000 liters of water. And around the world, we consume more than 80 billion pieces of clothing each year. What an insane number! With that in mind, perhaps one of your new year’s resolutions was to make more eco-friendly choices. But hey, I can understand your pain: The urge to add a new lease of life to the wardrobe is simply irresistible. That’s why the Eatnlivewell team has come up with this exciting DIY project: Tie dye shirt with bleach

But First, What Is Bleached Tie Dye? 

Once the preserve of punks, hippies, and Grateful Dead fans, bleached tie-dye has now made its way into the mainstream. Online influencers have fueled the trend, and after a few minutes spent on Tiktok or Instagram, you will see countless social media stars rocking those tie-dyed tube socks, jeans, and shirts. 

Tiktok Reverse Tie-Dye With Bleach Compilation

Perhaps you already know that the regular tie-dye technique uses dye to create patterns on fabric. Tie-dyeing with bleach, just as its name suggests, uses bleach as the dye. Instead of adding a new hue to your textile, it will lift some of the colors, lightening the places it is added and creating the tie-dye design. 

Apparently, this method is meant to refresh your colored items. What I love most about bleached tie-dyeing is the immediate gratification: While colored dye needs to rest on the fabric for a few hours, the bleach will show results right away. That allows you to rock your creations the same day that you make them! 

bleach tie dye sweatshirt
Bleaching your clothes can turn your closet around! – Source: Sunifty

Does that make you want to step into my Tie-Dye lab and experiment with this unique method now? Hold on a moment! As harmless as it sounds, bleach is still a toxic chemical, so I will go over some safety precautions first.

Tie Dye Shirt With Bleach: A Warning

As a powerful cleaning and disinfecting agent, bleach is strongly alkaline, which can seriously irritate or burn the skin, eyes, nose, and mouth. It also contains a strong chlorine odor and fumes, making it harmful to the lungs when inhaled. 

Hence, although reverse tie-dying is a simple process, you should still handle yourself with extra care. Protect your eyes and hands by wearing goggles and rubber gloves, and wear clothes you don’t mind staining, just in case. 

In addition, I’d recommend doing this craft outdoors to lower the risk of fumes. If you have to do it in the house, crack a window and turn on the fan. 

Let’s Get Dyeing, Bleaches!

Alright, it’s time to give your old t-shirts a makeover! Below is my step-by-step guide to tie dye shirt with bleach like a pro. Worry not, you don’t have to be too crafty to do it! 

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

While tie-dye kits are available for sale from most craft stores, if you want to do it with bleach, you will have to gather your supplies by yourself. Most of the things you need should be available in the household already, though: 

  • A dark (or brightly colored) tee (preferably a 100%-cotton item). 
  • Bleach. Most household bleaches that contain chlorine, such as Clorox, work well for this method. At room temperature, fresh bleach (from a newly-opened can) will yield the best result. Do not use bleach for colored clothes since it won’t be able to remove the colors and create tie-dye effects. 
  • Water. 
  • Hydrogen peroxide. 
  • Rubber bands, hair ties, or plastic cable zip ties.
  • Rubber gloves.
  • A face mask. 
  • A large squeeze bottle. 
  • Tie-dye rack. 
  • Plastic bin/bucket. 
  • Access to a sink or tub. 
  • Washer/dryer. 

Step 2: Prepare Your Workspace 

Make sure you protect the work surface with old cardboard or newspaper, even if you try this method outdoors. I’d suggest setting up a box for a spraying area so you can contain any overspray.

Step 3: Make The Neutralizing Solution

After a few tries, I’ve decided it’s best to get the neutralizing solution ready first. It doesn’t take long for bleach to work, so prepare the neutralizing solution ahead of time will make it easier to stop the bleaching process once you get your desired lightness. 

So, how to neutralize bleach? Simply combine one part of hydrogen peroxide with ten parts of water. You can do this in a bowl or plastic tub. Keep in mind that your item should be totally saturated, so prepare enough solution to do so. 

Step 4: Apply Bleach “Dye” 

Tie-dye bleaching can be done on both damp and dry fabric. However, since we are trying this method on a soft, light-weight cotton tee, leaving it dry is the best choice. This ensures that your item won’t be flooded with liquid and allows you to control the patterns easily. 

Next, use rubber bands to tie up your t-shirt. It’s time to let your creativity run wild: You can create countless unique tie-dye patterns using various folding techniques!

Easy tie-dye patterns & folding techniques for beginners

After binding it, place your tee on a tie-dye rack. Then, fill up the squeeze bottle with half water and half bleach. In case you don’t have a squeeze bottle, you can dunk the item in a bucket filled with bleach and water for a quick and simple dye bath. 

Create Your Own Style: Simple Technique To Tie Dye Shirt With Bleach
In a tie-dye rack or a bucket, apply bleach to your clothes – Source: Theneonteaparty

Step 5: Rinse And Dry 

As the previous part mentioned, bleach works its magic really quickly. For something as thin as a tee, you will see the result after a couple of minutes. Thicker items, such as a sweatshirt, will take up to 3 hours, so just watch over it until you are satisfied with the look. 

Rinse the tee in running water as soon as you get the shade you desire. Then, toss the item in the neutralizing solution and let it rest for at least 15 minutes. 

After it has been soaked, rinse it thoroughly once again before placing it in the washing machine. Remember, nothing but your bleach-dyed t-shirt should be in the wash cycle. Wash it with a small amount of detergent. You can dry the tee normally by following the instructions on the tag. 

And voilà! You are now the proud owner of an on-trend tie-dye top. Rock it with some retro hippie nail designs and slick back braided ponytails, you will be the center of attention! 

Rinse And Dry 
The bleach tie-dye technique gives your clothes a youthful and playful vibe that should be worn by the free-spirited – Source: Theartofeducation

Frequently Asked Questions

Pretty simple, right? In fact, some of my friends have tried this tutorial on various garments, including jeans, sweatshirts/sweatpants, or tote bags, and below are the questions I often receive:

What Items Are Best To Bleach Tie Dye? 

Again, bleached tie-dyeing is meant for colored fabric. It works best on materials that are 100% natural, like linen or cotton. Since acrylic and nylon fabrics tend to resist bleach, this technique won’t work on them. 

There is a common belief that the darker the color, the more distinct the patterns. Nonetheless, I have tried dyeing these light-colored tees with bleach, and they turned out lovely!

Bleached tie-dyed patterns look cool on a black or navy sweatshirt, too. It will take longer for the bleach to work, but the outcome is definitely worth the wait! 

How to DIY a bleach tie-dye sweatshirt?

What Color Will The Bleach Tie Dye Be? 

Well, you can’t tell which color your item will turn in the bleach solution. Various dyes are used to create various fabric colors, so the result can be really unexpected. But hey, that’s part of the fun! 

What Color Will The Bleach Tie Dye Be? 
What makes bleach tie-dyeing exciting is that it’s unpredictable! – Source: Pinterest

However, since it’s more difficult to remove the red color, your bleached items will have some shades of red remaining. In most cases, black garments might turn red, tan, or faded orange. Navy ones can also have faded red-orange patterns, while purple and maroon turn pink. Most neon blue items will turn white after being bleached. 

What if you still want to see the bleached colors beforehand? Dab a small amount of bleach on the inside part of the sleeve cuff or waist to review

How To Take Care Of Your Bleach Tie Dye Garments? 

After the first wash, it’s a good idea to keep washing your bleach tie dye items alone. Three or more washes and you can be sure that it won’t ruin other clothes. 

To make them last a long time, wash them in the gentle cycle mode and with cold water. You will want to remove your shirt from the machine right after the cycle finishes because the colors can bleed if you let it stay damp for so long. If possible, always air dry your bleach tie-dye clothes. 

You Don’t Have To Spend A Lot Of Money To Look Great! 

There you have it, the super simple and straightforward guide on how to tie dye shirt with bleach. What’s so special about this method is that you can update your wardrobe and turn your old clothes into masterpieces without spending a bunch of money. Imagine wearing these unique patterns out knowing that they’re totally one-of-a-kind – that’s the best feeling in the world! 

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Find Out The Chicest Hair Trend: Partial Balayage VS Full Balayage

Over the years, my hair has undergone quite some transformations. From dark brown to black, red, bright blonde streaks, and most recently, ombre. My hair is naturally dark brown, so I liked how the blonde ombre lightened up the look, but as the ombre trend began to fade, the term “balayage” was thrown around quite frequently in the hair world. 

I’d have to say, this hair fab is here to stay. Unlike ombre, balayage gives off a natural, effortlessly-cool look thanks to the smooth transition between your hair color and the added highlight. Since the beginning of the trend, celebrities and their fans have embraced this highlighting technique, and there’s no turning back. 

So, if you are in need of a makeover and would like to get yourself this voguish hairstyle (just like me), it’s crucial to distinguish between the balayages before going to the salon. Yes, there is more than one type: Partial balayage VS full balayage, which one should you choose? Read on to find out the differences! 

Wait, What Is “Balayage” Again?

In case it’s the first time you’ve heard about the term “balayage”, let’s start with the basics. 

After a few clicks, I discovered something interesting: “Balayage” is, in fact, a French word. “If you went to Instagram and typed in ‘balayage,’ you’d see so many artistic interpretations. Originally, it was a French technique that came from the word ‘to sweep’ color onto the hair,” says hairstylist Todisco.

The word itself says a lot about this trend: Dye or lightener is painted onto your hair by hand in a sweeping motion. This creates a soft and natural gradation of lightness towards the end. Unlike traditional highlighting (which is a foiling technique that involves lightening strands of hair from the roots to the ends, leaving some natural hair in between), the process of balayage is done without foil. 

The end result is a multi-tonal and multi-dimensional look. Because the color is swept onto the surface of the hair, you will walk out of the salon with a gentle, never over-processed glow. Like Jack Howard, hair colorist extraordinaire, puts it, “It’s all about giving the impression you’ve been in the Caribbean for a month or two and have picked up some natural sun-kissed highlights!”. Sounds good, right?

Balayage highlights
The hand-painted highlights allow for pops of brightness and contrast throughout the hair, while still keeping it looking natural – Source: EVOKE

For lazy girls like me, the best thing about balayage is that you don’t have to visit the salon multiple times a month. The color might be taken up close to the root, but most regrowth will blend in seamlessly. Depending on your look and how fast your hair grows, you might be able to go for several months before getting a touch-up. 

Now you know why balayage is a stunning way for everyone to switch up the look. Halle Berry, Jessica Biel, Ciara, Jennifer Lopez, Rihanna, and Sarah Jessica Parker have been known to have this gorgeous hairstyle on curly and straight hair. You can see various application nuances that produce slightly varied outcomes, but the core reason balayage has become such a trend is that hairstylists can hand-pick the strand of hair they want to draw attention to. That’s why the trend is always fresh and new— it looks different for each person.  

Jennifer Lopez's hairstyle
Jennifer Lopez in her stunning balayage hair – Source: People

Should I Get A Balayage? 

If you are expecting negative feedback, well, you might have to wait for quite some time. This coloring technique is suitable for any hair type, skin tone, and length. Just like Redditor “melkeen” wrote, “that’s the magic of it”. 

However, just because balayage works for everyone doesn’t mean it’s a one-size-fits-all situation. Since it requires a level of tailoring and personalization, it’s crucial to know exactly the style you desire before taking a seat in the stylist’s chair. 

Partial Balayage VS Full Balayage: What Are The Differences? 

Full Balayage: An Effortlessly Chic Look 

So now, it all comes down to this battle: Partial balayage VS full balayage. Let’s start with full balayage since it’s the first thing that pops up in our minds when someone mentions this highlighting technique. 

A full balayage is also referred to as a full-head balayage since it covers the whole expanse of your hair, leaving only 5-7 centimeters of the roots untouched. Although the method is known for creating natural effects, full balayage can still change the looks of its wearers completely since highlights are added throughout the entire mane. 

Still confused? Chrissy Teigen can give you the inspo you need: 

Full Balayage
Chrissy Teigen In Full Balayage – Source: Elle

Because balayage highlights don’t involve completely saturating your hair in bleach or color dye, you get to enjoy softer, silkier hair with less damage and dryness. Still, full balayage is more aggressive for your hair than a partial one. 

The method is all about hand-painting, so don’t be surprised if getting a full balayage takes up to 3 hours. In some cases, it might be even longer, depending on the length and thickness of your hair as well as your stylist’s speed. The longer and thicker your hair is, the more time it takes to be done. 

Step by step sectioning hair for balayage

What about the price, you ask? Well, the balayage process is much more exquisite and time-consuming than foil highlighting. Hence, it’s easily the priciest form of hair-coloring. The average cost of a full balayage can range from $90 to $400, but the exact amount you will be charged depends on the length of your hair, the type of highlights you request (ombre or single color), and the salon you visit.

Partial Balayage: A Safer Choice 

A few years ago, nobody mentioned this term, only the traditional one. As the balayage trend continued to grow, hairstylists needed to come up with alternatives, and so partial balayage was invented. 

The clue is in the name. Partial balayage means lightening only a part of the hair, focusing sweeps of lightener through the top layer or face-framing section only. As such, the chances of hair damage are less than those of full balayage. It’s a more subtle version of the traditional look, given that you don’t cover your entire mane with highlights. 

People might not notice the makeover right off the bat, but your look will still be taken to the next level: Partial balayage allows creative colorists to pick out the locks that will best enhance their clients’ unique features. Your face will be lightened up, and your hair will look more multi-dimensional. Here’s a quick look: 

partial balayage
Partial Highlight Before And After – Source: Pinterest

Since it only works with one area of your mane rather than throughout your hair, getting a partial balayage is less time-consuming than a full one. To be more precise, it only takes you between 45 minutes and an hour. Of course, you will also find it less expensive: A partial balayage usually costs between $60 and $200 on average. 

As mentioned, balayage doesn’t require much maintenance in general. With a partial one, you don’t even have to visit the salon as much as you do with the traditional look. It’s not only cost-effective but also helps you save a lot of money in the long run! 

Find Out Your Perfect Hairstyle

By now, you probably see the key differences between partial balayage and full balayage. The table below will help you sum it up: 

Full BalayagePartial Balayage

Coverage Area
Highlights are added throughout the entire maneHighlights are added to one area of the mane
ResultGives a more drastic changeGives a more subtle style change
Cost ComparisonTends to be more expensive ($90 – $400)Is often cheaper ($60 – $200)
Time-ConsumingTakes longer to be doneLess time-consuming
MaintenanceCan go several months without needing a touch-upLasts longer than full balayage because of the subtle highlights

Partial Balayage VS Full Balayage

So, if you have been scratching your head trying to figure out the perfect style, here are a few recommendations. :

  • For those with thin or somehow weakened hair, it’s best to go with partial balayage. Your hair will suffer much less during the process. 
  • If you want a complete makeover, full balayage will give you a bold and daring look. In case you just want to add a subtle and classy touch to your appearance, partial balayage is the way to go. 
  • Making a full balayage is usually more expensive and requires you to visit the hairdresser more frequently in the long run. Hence, if you don’t have a high budget, you should choose a partial one. For those who are nervous about coloring their hair, partial balayage is also a good way to test the waters and possibly upgrade in the future. 
Examples of balayage for dark hair
Balayage for dark hair – Source: Latest Hairstyles

Life Is Too Short To Have Boring Hair! 

Beautiful hair can enhance your appearance, and on top of that, having a stunning hairstyle can give you the confidence boost that you always wanted.  That said, you might want to take a trip to the hair salon and get yourself some stunning balayage highlights! This sleek and effortless look with a hint of urban-centered chic will instantly make you the most gorgeous lady in the room. 

Partial balayage VS full balayage, which one is the hairstyle for you? Well, I hope you get the answer now. Opt for whatever expresses yourself the most and be ready to impress your fellas! 

Looking for beauty tips like the hottest brown French tip nails or the best numbing cream for waxing? Check our website for more! 

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An Un-pho-gettable Taste: Is Pho Gluten-Free?

Is Pho Gluten-free?

There is a reason Vietnam’s unofficial signature dish is well-loved all over the world, available from Montreal to Melbourne and Moscow. I don’t know what you think, but I’d believe it immediately if someone tells me that a steaming bowl of fragrant pho possesses all the magical properties, including curing disease, hangovers, and restoring the body’s balance. 

Although all soups are wonderful, especially in the colder months or on a rainy day when you desire nothing but the warm sensation in your stomach, pho outshines all those other soups since it is great for summer as well. While it does have that hearty broth that can get you through a thousand winters, this broth is also light enough to tide your hunger over in the summer. 

Who are we kidding, though? How can one say no to that exquisite flavor in any weather, even if the temperature does kind of bother them? Well, people with celiac disease or those who wish to eliminate gluten from their diet might hesitate, as long as they don’t have the answer for the question: Is pho gluten-free

Don’t worry, I’m here to clear the confusion. In this article, let’s take a trip to Vietnam and discover some interesting facts about this one-of-a-kind dish! 

An Introduction To Pho: The Humble Soup That Caused An Outrage 

Even before dawn, we can see pho stalls set up shop along the sidewalks. Surrounded by clouds of steam, the cook will assemble each bowl at a time. The boiling broth is poured over a bed of soft rice noodles and thinly sliced meat, and topped with a handful of chopped herbs and chives. Each diner will customize their bowl to liking, with squeezes of lemon, slices of red chili, and sprigs of basil. It’s an experience no trip to Vietnam is complete without.

gluten in pho
Is pho gluten-free? – Source: Ang Sarap

While most historians suggest that pho was invented in northern Vietnam (precisely Nam Dinh/Hanoi) during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, its exact origins are murky. It is often believed that the term “pho” actually came from “feu” – which stands for “fire” in French – and that the local Vietnamese was inspired to create the dish after learning about French’s classic beef stew, or “pot au feu”. However, some say it was from the Chinese communities who settled in the north of Vietnam and sold a dish called 牛肉粉 (beef with noodles). The Chinese character for 粉 (pinyin: “fěn”) is pronounced “fuh”, which is similar to the Vietnamese “phở”.

the origin of pho
Original pho might have come from the north – Source: Tuoi Tre News

According to New Zealand-based Vietnamese chef and culinary writer Alex Tran, the history of pho might be a mix of the two. “Rice noodles and other spices used in making the broth undoubtedly have a connection with Chinese people in the north. However, beef is not the daily meat of the Vietnamese as we use buffaloes for farming. Only under the French colonial regime did the consumption of beef start to appear and bloom.”

Leaving aside the etymology, French “pot au feu” can give you a glimpse of what pho really is. The term refers to the primary cooking process, which is the long hours required to prepare pho’s French predecessor. 

As mentioned, prior to the French colonization of Vietnam, local Vietnamese did not butcher cows for food. However, as the French arrived, the Vietnamese began slaughtering cows to cater to French tastes. Additionally, they used the marrow-rich, cartilaginous bones to make the broth that was the soul of both pot au feu and pho. In fact, the first step in making pho is to simmer the bones in a pot of water for several hours.

That said, during the early 20th century, the Vietnamese had a newfound appreciation for meat. The street vendors that served noodle soup leaped at the chance to experiment with it, and they started off by selling a soup consisting of water buffalo meat and rice vermicelli, which quickly became popular. This is how the original pho, or you can say “pho of the north”, came to be.

The Vietnamese dictionary officially recognized pho in 1930 as a noodle soup with thinly sliced beef. It was around the time that roaming vendors shouldering mobile kitchens on bamboo poles had become a common sight in the streets of the Old Quarter. Following the natural competition among cooks, the dish went through some impactful changes. Around the ’40s, local chefs began substituting chicken for beef. Although the switch was met with skepticism, people eventually got accustomed to the variation, and eventually, it was fully embraced.

Vietnamese Street Food – Chicken Pho

Nowadays, pho has been entwined with the Vietnamese national psyche. Just like how poet Tu Mo noted in “An Ode To Pho”, the subtle flavor of the soup and its egalitarianism is loved by rich and poor people alike. 

Northern Versus Southern Pho

As the colonial period came to an end, Vietnam was divided into the South and the North. Following this, around one million northern citizens migrated towards the south, bringing the pho culture with them. Due to the environmental differences between the two regions, this migration was vital in shaping the evolution of the dish. 

northern pho versus southern pho
Southern pho – Source: BBC 

On r/pho (yes, there is a whole subreddit for this!), Vietnamese users point out that northern pho is saltier with a stronger beef aroma and taste. Like user “thy_tran” wrote, it has a purer approach to ingredients. Meanwhile, the south is more agriculturally rich, so southern pho would include a wide range of herbs such as Thai basil, bean sprouts, fermented beans. It is also sweeter with the use of rock sugar. 

The table below highlights the key differences you will find between the Northern and Southern pho soup: 

CharacteristicNorthern PhoSouthern Pho
TexturesUses rice noodlesUses rice noodles (some say thinner than the north) 
BrothClean and simple brothSweeter tasting broth due to rock sugar
MeatsMainly uses chicken and beefMainly beef and meatballs
ToppingsMore green onions plus an array of Vietnamese herbsUses herbs and beansprouts, including Thai basils
SaucesVinegar and chili are added for seasoningLime, hoisin sauce, chili sauce, and fresh red chillis

In the late 20th century, Saigon was overthrown by the North at the time of the Vietnam War. Following that, a large number of Vietnamese migrants fleed their homeland in search of a better future. As they made their new home in countries like America, France, or Australia, they introduced their beloved dish to international connoisseurs. That said, it will be easier to find southern-style pho here in the US. 

Still, the fact that each region has its own preferred take on the ingredients proves that pho is not only a Vietnamese national dish but also a matter of fierce local pride and contention.

Alright, Is Pho Gluten-Free? 

Whether northern or southern pho is your favorite, if you have celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, or such health problems, you might still be wondering, ‘Is pho gluten-free?’.

Well, this might turn out to be more complicated than you think. Behind the (deceiving) simplicity of this popular Vietnamese soup are multiple ingredients, so let’s go through each “layer” of this dish and discuss whether or not it’s safe for a gluten-free diet!

Dealing with food allergies? This guide on Chick-Fil-A foods will help you take better care of yourself! 

Is Pho Gluten-Free – Pho Noodles 

Pho noodles (or “banh pho”) are flat noodles made from rice flour. The noodles on their own do not contain gluten, making them safe to enjoy for those following a gluten-free diet. 

vermicelli dish
Is vermicelli gluten-free? – Source: Yummly

However, the same thing is not true for vermicelli – another staple in Vietnamese and Southeast Asian cuisine in general. While pho noodles are prepared from rice flour, vermicelli noodles are made from wheat flour. This means they do, in fact, contain gluten. If you are on a gluten-free diet, any dish with these noodles (such as bun cha or fresh spring rolls) is what you should avoid. 

Herbs And Vegetables In Pho 

Both northern and southern pho contain a wide range of herbs, but you don’t have to worry about them. All fruits and vegetables and naturally gluten-free, as long as they are plain and are not coated in a sauce, breading, or seasoning. 

Is Pho Gluten-Free – The Meat 

Just like vegetables, meat is gluten-free with little seasoning as possible. All the meat (including chicken and beef which are often seen in pho), fish, and seafood are all naturally gluten-free, as long as they are not marinated, breaded, or cooked with a sauce. 

is pho gluten free
In general, pho meat is gluten-free – Source: Viet World Kitchen

That said, it is safe for you to enjoy plain meat in pho. In some stalls or restaurants, you will see the dish being served with poached eggs, which is safe for you as well. Unlike some assumptions, eggs are not a dairy product. They are completely free of gluten and can be found in many dairy-free recipes, so you can consume them without worries.

Is Pho Gluten-Free –  Pho Broth

This is where things get tricky. Traditionally, the cook will make the broth by simmering chicken or beef bones. Following this method, the broth will be completely gluten-free and safe to consume. 

pho broth
The traditional pho broth is gluten-free – Source: The Spruce Eats

However, some restaurants might add fish sauce or beef stock to the broth, which can both contain hidden sources of gluten. In case you wonder, ‘Is fish sauce gluten-free?’, the answer is not all of them. While most fish sauce available on the market doesn’t contain gluten, some of them have wheat listed as an ingredient, so it is crucial to check the label carefully before purchasing yours. 

Still, it is possible to enjoy a gluten-free pho. You can prepare this delicious dish at home or make sure that the restaurant you are visiting can accommodate a gluten-free diet with gluten-free ingredients.

Vietnamese Culture In A Bowl

Now that you’ve found the answer for ‘Is pho gluten-free?’, I hope that encourages you to go on, try a bowl, and see how beautiful this classic Vietnamese dish is. While a street vendor in Vietnam will provide you with the most authentic experience, you can be assured that no matter where you are in the world, you will be able to find a steaming hot bowl of meat broth and noodles that has a history as rich as its taste.

Do you want to check out the latest food-related content? Head to our Homepage for more! 

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From Medicine To Bubble Tea: What Does Taro Taste Like?

“Okay, okay. You know what’s gonna make you feel instantly better?”

“Death?”

“No. It’s taro bubble tea. Let’s go get some.” 

Any boba-holic would remember this conversation from Netflix’s huge hit “Ginny & Georgia”. Fine, maybe it’s not exactly what Abby told Maxime after her breakup, but you have to agree, it is super relatable. Taro bubble tea is usually one of the bestsellers at café thanks to the Instagram-able purple shade, creamy texture, and sweet taste. We can write an essay about how this drink is a blessing from God, but say, do you even know what does taro taste like

Not everyone has had the privilege of tasting or even knowing about taro aside from being a boba flavor. As a matter of fact, most people doing their weekly grocery runs tend to walk right past this root crop. In this article, I want to share with you everything about taro so that you will love it as much as I do. If you were curious about what exactly you might be drinking, you are in for a treat! 

A Concise Introduction To Taro

Just like rice, the taro plant was first grown in Asia and is considered a very ancient cultivar. Though some speculate that taro originally came from India or Malaysia, the exact country is yet to know. It was widely used as a medicine before becoming a staple food. Nowadays, you will mostly find it in the tropical and subtropical parts of the world, such as China, the Philippines, Hawaii, Caribbeans, and New Zealand, among others. 

Here in the US, taro is often associated with sweet drinks such as boba, but in other countries (especially Asian), taro is found in many savory dishes, such as Japanese croquettes or steamed fork ribs. That might make you confused about whether taro is a fruit or vegetable. Well, from a botanical point of view, taro is a kind of vegetable. To be more precise, it is a root crop, meaning we only consume the edible root of the plant rather than the fruit. 

Read more: Is Pickle A Fruit Or Vegetable?

Once you have known about it, it is not hard to spot taro at your local grocery store. On the outside, it is brown-grey with rough, scaly skin. You will find it a bit hairy, too. Doesn’t look like it will make a delicious treat, you say? As you cut taro open, though, you will have to change your mind: The flesh inside has a completely different texture. It is smooth, creamy, has a beautiful white color plus some purple dots. Taro flesh can be pink, white, or purple, depending on the ripeness and variety. 

how does taro look like
Don’t let the skin fool you, taro’s flesh will make the best treat you’ve ever tried – Source: Eat This, Not That

There are nearly 100 types of taro out there, each of them is slightly different from others in shape, size, texture, and growing condition. 

What Does Taro Taste Like?

So what does taro taste like? Many compare it to other root veggies like white potatoes or sweet potatoes. This is because they share the same sweet, nutty, creamy taste and a starchy texture. 

However, as harmless as it seems, I wouldn’t recommend trying taro raw. The plant is considered toxic to consume raw, including the root and its leave. This is due to the high levels of calcium oxalate; a crystal-like poison that can cause kidney stones and mouth irritation in the form of numbing, burning, or an itching sensation. 

To consume the plant safely, you must cook the purple-hued crop. Even the methods of preparing this particular ingredient are the same as that of potatoes  – from boiling, mashing, frying, baking – the options are, indeed, endless.

does taro taste like sweet potato
What does taro taste like after it is cooked? – Source: Allrecipes

Taro’s taste is slightly stronger than other root vegetables, yet it is very versatile. While the sweet and vanilla-like flavor makes it the perfect ingredient for sweet treats, taro’s nuttiness goes very well with savory dishes. Below is a glimpse at what does taro taste like depending on each cooking method!

Boiling And Steaming 

Boiling and steaming are undoubtedly the most popular ways to prepare taro. They also make vital steps in making sweet desserts, such as milk tea and cakes. After being boiled, taro retains its natural sweetness, softness, and creamy texture. 

Its taste will remind you of potatoes, yet slightly stronger, sweeter, and nuttier. Boiled taro can absorb the flavor of other ingredients, making it the perfect addition to Malaysian well-loved snack, Bubur Cha Cha. This colorful and sweet dessert is a mixture of sweet potatoes, taro, and black-eyed peas, cooked in a sweet coconut milk base. 

steamed taro
Malaysian bubur chacha consists of sweet potatoes and boiled taro – Source: ASIAN TOP 10 RECIPES

Roasting And Baking 

Well, I can see your confused expression right now, but hear me out: Taro can be roasted and baked! This method works brilliantly and tastes great, but there is one issue: Just like most starchy vegetables, taro guzzles oil. Hence, it might take you longer until it can turn into a beautiful golden brown. 

roasted taro
Roasted taro can make a wonderful snack – Source: The Blurry Lime

While the heat will make taro’s outside texture become more crispy, its inside never goes crispy unless deep-fried. Instead, it retains its starchiness and softness. If you don’t like it, oven-roasting can solve the problem: Just cut it into thin slices and roast them at a high temperature, you will get some good crunch. 

The taste of roasted taro is quite similar to roasted parsnip, which is slightly dry and chewy. 

What Does Taro Taste Like – Frying

With its potato-like texture, taro root suits deep frying in oil. In fact, fried taro root was my favorite dish as a child. One of the many beauties of taro fries is that they can be spiced up and adapted to fit any meal. It offers a perfect balance of sweetness and saltiness, which is ideal to serve as an appetizer. 

fried taro
Deep-fried crispy taro puffs – Source: Devour Asia

Another less-oily method is to stir-fry it. Stir-fried taro tastes much like the fried ones, but the outside is not as crispy since it uses less oil. The inside is soft and sweet as always.

What Does Taro Taste Like – Stewing And Braising 

Because they are cooked for a longer period, braised or stewed taro is more tender. While the original taste of taro remains, the outer layer absorbs other ingredients’ flavors. 

To many Chinese, braised pork belly with taro (芋头扣肉) serves as comfort food for their families during the colder months. This is an exceptional dish because the pork belly is served up-ended. The pork and taro are cooked in a braising broth in a deep bowl and inverted on a plate to serve. This action is called 扣 (means turn upside down, pronounced as ‘kao’), and meat is called 肉 (pronounce as ‘yuk’).  Hence, by combining these two Chinese characters, we get  “扣肉” means to “invert the pork onto a plate to serve up-ended”. 

Chinese braised pork belly with taro

But it’s not everything about Chinese braised pork belly. The dish has an exceptional dish as well, partly thanks to the use of taro. One thing is that you have to use the larger variety of taro, rather than the smaller roots, which are the size of a kiwi or small potato. The large taro root has a wonderfully flaky texture and a distinct flavor. When you pair it with the sauce from the braised pork ribs, it offers a wonderful taste that immediately reminds the Chinese of home.

What Does Taro Taste Like – Fermenting 

Taro can be fermented to make “poi”, a well-known condiment in Hawaii. To prepare this dish, you can first boil and mash your taro, then ferment it to create an acidic flavor. If you take a bite, you will realize its distinctive sweet and tangy taste. 

The tradition of poi making

Despite being a prominent dish in Hawaiian culture, most tourists say that poi tastes like…wallpaper paste. Its texture reminds us of a thick pudding: Wet and sticky thanks to the gelatin in the mix. 

For native Hawaiians, though, it is not the problem: What matters to them is that poi settles well in the stomach. They don’t care about visual appeal, alkalinity, or good bacteria. When babies are born, it’s the first food they get to taste. Many people grow taro in small plots, buy fresh poi from grocery stores or farmers, and ferment it at home.

Taro Boba Tea 

Taro Boba Tea 
What does taro tea taste like? – Source: Recipe Makers

What does taro boba taste like, you ask? Well, you are…a bit late to the party. As mentioned, it is one of the most popular flavors in the milk tea craze, and people come up with many different ways to describe its flavor. Redditor “The_Incredible_Thulk” says its sweet and nutty flavor reminds him of a mild cookie n’ cream, while user “topicmay” compares it to cereal milk after you have finished all the cereal. 

Considering the fact that taro boba is fresh taro or taro powder combined with milk and tea leaves, you can say that it has a creamy and sweet flavor. There is, of course, a hint of bitterness due to the tea. A fun fact is that a 16-ounce taro milk tea’s calories are 278, making it a lower-calorie alternative than a sweetened coffee drink of the same size. 

Still, this number is quite high, so watch out for your diet as you consume this wonderful beverage!

What Does Taro Taste Like – Taro Ice Cream

Aside from boba tea, another well-loved taro sweet is ice cream. This dessert has a beautiful violet-grey shade, which is very Instagramable, and retains the sweet and nutty flavor of taro. You can taste floral vanilla notes too, and when you combine this with taro’s delightful nuttiness, the taste will remind you of cookies and cream. The texture is no different from other ice creams, which is smooth and creamy.

We all know that Thailand is the heaven of tasty desserts, and one of them is the coconut-taro ice cream. You might want to try it at home since this classic sweet treat is very simple and can be made at serious ease. But be warned, once you go down this road of Asian tuber appreciation…there’s no going back!

How coconut – taro ice cream is made

4 Surprising Benefits Of Taro 

As the previous part mentioned, taro was widely used as a medicinal plant in ancient Asia. Exactly how they used it to cure illnesses remains a mystery, but the ancestors did have a point: There are many health benefits packed in that humble root crop. The fact that taro holds almost 3 times more fibers than its counterparts makes it one of the superfoods out there. Besides this, the plant is also a rich source of nutrients such as potassium, iron, vitamins A, vitamin C, and so on.

If you are not yet familiar with taro, here are 4 health benefits it offers that will make you want to stuff your fridge with these veggies: 

Taro Helps Control Blood Sugar 

Though being a starchy vegetable, taro contains 2 types of carbohydrates. Both of them are beneficial for blood sugar stability. 

The first one is fiber, a carbohydrate that humans can’t digest. Since it’s not absorbed, it can’t raise your blood sugar. Once you consume, fiber can slow down the digestion and absorption of other carbs, keep blood sugar levels from rising too quickly after a meal. 

Taro is high in fiber
Taro aids blood sugar stability – Source: Recipe Marker

The second one is resistant starch. Just like fiber, it is not digestible, so it won’t risk your blood sugar level. Research shows that around 12% of the starch in cooked taro is resistant starch, making this veggie one of the best sources of this nutrient.

This combination of resistant starch and fiber makes taro root a good carb option — especially for those with diabetes.

It Lowers The Risk Of Heart Disease 

People who consume more fiber often have lower rates of heart disease, according to research. Hence, the fiber and resistant starch in taro root also work to lower your risk of heart disease. 

Over 6 grams of fiber is found in 132 grams of taro, which is more than twice the amount of fiber in a 138-gram portion of potatoes. That said, taro is a better fiber source. Additionally, it provides resistant starch, which lowers cholesterol and has been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.

It May Offer Anti-Cancer Properties

Taro root contains plant-based compounds called polyphenols that have various health benefits, including the potential to reduce cancer risk.

Taro root contains polyphenol, which is a plant-based compound with many health advantages. One of them is the potential to lower cancer risk. 

The main polyphenol found in taro is quercetin, which can also be found in onions, apples, and tea. In test-tube and animal studies, quercetin has been shown to trigger cancer cell death and slow the progression of different cancer types. It also serves as a powerful antioxidant, protecting your body from excessive free radical damage that has been linked to cancer.

It Can Help You Lose Weight 

taro is high in fiber
Consuming taro can promote weight loss – Source: Unsplash 

You might have heard many times that consuming more fiber can help you lose weight, but do you know why? Well, fiber slows down stomach emptying, which keeps you full for a longer period and reduces the number of calories you eat throughout the day. As a result, you can lower body weight and less body fat over time. 

Due to its high fiber and resistant starch content, taro root may increase feelings of fullness, reduce overall calorie consumption, and accelerate fat burning. In the long run, this results in weight loss and reduced body fat.

Wrapping Up

What does taro taste like? You’ve got the answer now! After you already know how amazing it is and how much magic you can make with this humble plant, are you still hesitating? It’s time to rush to the nearest market and pick the freshest taro from the Asian section. Feel free to get yourself a delicious taro milk tea after reading this too!

Do you want to check out the latest food-related content? Head to our Homepage for more! 

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Making Your Mouth Water: How To Thicken Mashed Potatoes?

Thanksgiving is, without a doubt, the best holiday of the year for foodies like myself. 

As soon as Halloween is over and I wake up from my sugar coma to find myself surrounded by candy wrappers and chocolate in my bed, it’s November, and Thanksgiving is just around the corner. I love Thanksgiving because it brings family members together and I get to sleep without having to set my alarm for a week straight. 

But, more than anything, I love mashed potatoes. I don’t know if it’s just some deep-rooted Irish complex, but my mouth waters as soon as I think about these two magical words. This warm, creamy, dairy-laden starch might be too much of an indulgence for everyday fare, but the fact that we don’t have it frequently makes a bowl of mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving a true blessing. 

I know a lot of people out there can relate. But, let’s admit, we are not there for any kind of mashed potatoes. Our good old dish must be rich, smooth, buttery, and most importantly, thick! Soggy and soupy mashed potatoes will just make us feel cheated, as if you only missed the jackpot by one digit. 

So, if you accidentally make yours a bit too runny for your taste, what to do now? Don’t worry, my mother’s guide on how to thicken mashed potatoes is here to save the day! 

Why Are My Mashed Potatoes Runny? 

In fact, there is more than one thing that can make your mashed potatoes watery. If you are staring down at a bowl of white liquid and wondering what went wrong, ask yourself these questions: 

Thanksgiving mashed potatoes
How to thicken mashed potatoes? – Source: Today Show

Did You Overcook Your Potatoes?

Did you overcook your potatoes?
Overcooking can make your mashed potatoes too runny – Source: Mashed

So you wanted fluffy mashed potatoes but the dish turned out to be runny instead? It is possible that you boiled your potatoes too long or that you cooked them too hard (i.e., in very rapidly boiling water). Mashed potatoes are perfect when they are cooked gently, not vigorously. Here is a tip from my mom: Keep the lid off the pan while you’re cooking to keep an eye on the temperature of the water.

The outcome would be just as bad if you undercook the potatoes. Don’t be tempted to drain your potatoes too early. Otherwise, it would turn out to be lumpy. In addition, undercooked potatoes contain glycoalkaloids that can prove toxic when you consume them in high doses. In case you realize you accidentally do so, just add a little bit of milk or cream and cook the potatoes over low heat until the lumps begin to soften.

Did You Drain And Dry Your Potatoes Well? 

Once you are done boiling your potatoes in water, it is vital to drain and dry them thoroughly. This is a step that many people don’t realize is so important. If you don’t, the excess moisture that remains on the potatoes will have nowhere to go once you start mashing, which makes your dish mushy. 

Did You Add All Of The Liquid At Once? 

I know you won’t be happy, but this is a sad truth: Not all recipes available out there are accurate. Even if you have read the recipe well, it is important to determine the proper ratio of milk or cream based on the size and type of your potatoes. Using too much liquid also leads to the dreaded runny dish. 

Should you add milk to smashed potatoes
Be mindful when adding liquid to your potatoes – Source: Baking Mischief

Next time, if a recipe requires a cup of cream, take it slowly. You can begin by adding a quarter cup and gradually pour more until your potatoes are moist but not runny. Keep in mind that you can always add more liquid, but you can’t remove the excessive amount.

Before getting to the meat of the matter, here is a small tip picked up from Redditors that has proven to be effective: You should mash your potatoes before introducing any liquid. Boiled potatoes will retain a surprising amount of water that will only become visible after they have been mashed. Therefore, give them a “dry” mash to determine their consistency before adding any milk or butter.

7 Foolproof Ways To Save Your Mashed Potatoes

But, well, even if you have made one of the mistakes above, it is not the end of the world. You can keep your soggy mashed potatoes and turn them into a delicious soup… or you can make them the best and thickest you have ever had with these 7 simple tricks. All of them take less than a few minutes and won’t affect the taste of your beloved potatoes! 

Add A Thickening Agent 

Thickening agents, such as corn starch, flour, or powdered milk, can instantly add a creamy and flavorful texture to recipes, whether savory or sweet. In this case, those are true saviors that will help you thicken up your mashed potatoes in a jiffy! 

Here is a fun fact for you: Because cornstarch is pure starch, it has twice the thickening power of flour, which is only part starch. So in such an emergency case, I would go for corn starch, but both of them will work just well. 

Thicken smashed potatoes using thickening agent
Corn starch is the perfect solution in this case – Source: Times Of India

To achieve the ideal consistency, simply add one tablespoon at a time until you are satisfied. Make sure to mix them thoroughly before adding another tablespoon, but don’t over stir. Once the mashed potatoes are thickened to your liking, let them rest. Cornstarch can thin if it is agitated any longer.

It’s also important to keep your mashed potatoes warm so that they completely dissolve into the mixture.

How To Thicken Mashed Potatoes – Heat On A Stovetop 

Another way to thicken mashed potatoes is to heat them. All you have to do is throw them into a large pot then heat them over low to medium heat. Don’t forget to check on them and stir every few minutes to keep your potatoes from sticking to the bottom of the pot. 

While using a stovetop to heat your runny potatoes, keep these in mind: 

  • Don’t stir the pot too much! Instead of solving the problem, over-stirring makes it worse. It might destroy the texture of the potatoes, resulting in an overly sticky or even gluey dish. 
  • Instead of a ladle or a spoon, stir your soggy mashed potatoes with a fork. This will save you from over stirring and allow extra liquid to evaporate quickly. 
  • Remember not to cover the pan. While it is easy to assume that extra heat will thicken the potatoes quickly, we need to get rid of the excess moisture, so leave the pot uncovered.

How To Thicken Mashed Potatoes – Heat In An Oven 

Next in the list, you can bake your runny potatoes in the oven and let the adding heat does the rest. It will cause the extra liquid and moisture to evaporate or dissolve. 

To rescue your mashed potatoes, follow the steps below: 

  • Set your oven to 300F and get ready to bake. 
  • Place the mashed potatoes in an uncovered bowl or pan once the oven is preheated.
  • Leave them in the oven for at least 15 minutes or until all the extra liquid is dried out. 

Heat In A Microwave 

In case you don’t have so much time left, heating your runny potatoes in the microwave is a fast and simple way. To thicken your mashed potatoes, just leave them in the microwave for a few minutes. 

thicken smashed potatoes using heat
Heating in the microwave is a way to thicken smashed potatoes – Source: Thyme & Love

The process is simple: 

  • Put your potatoes in an uncovered bowl and heat them in the microwave for one minute at a high temperature. Don’t forget to use a microwave-safe container. 
  • Afterward, take the bowl out and gently stir it. This helps you see if the excessive moisture is still there. 
  • Repeat these steps until you are satisfied with the outcome. 

This is the quickest and most convenient way among the 7, but be aware that it’s only suitable to thicken a small number of mashed potatoes. 

How To Thicken Mashed Potatoes – Strain 

Another quick method to take out the excessive moisture in soggy mashed potatoes is to strain them. 

To do this, get yourself a strainer and a cheesecloth, then follow these steps below: 

  • Pour the runny potatoes into the cheesecloth. 
  • Make a ball of potatoes by tying the end of the cheesecloth together tightly. This will help squeeze off the liquid. 
  • Place the cheesecloth over a strainer and leave for up to an hour.
  • Remove your strainer and get ready to serve your thick potatoes!

How To Thicken Mashed Potatoes – Add More Potatoes 

My personal favorite way to thicken mashed potatoes is to add more potatoes. In case you have spare ones, you can give it a try: This method doesn’t only improve the texture but also the flavor as well! 

How to fix failed smashed potatoes?

Here is how I do that: 

  • Prepare the extra potatoes by grating or shredding them. 
  • To soften the potatoes, boil them in a pan. 
  • Once softened, let them rest and cool down, then use a cheesecloth and strainer to drain the potatoes. 
  • Using a fork, mash the potatoes together. 
  • Add this to the sloppy mashed potatoes and mix them thoroughly. 
  • Depending on the amount of potato you add, you might have to reheat the mixture. 

Another tip from Cheryl Malik, the owner of the well-known food blog Easy Healthy Recipes, is to add dehydrated potatoes to the dish. According to her, dehydrated potatoes are faster to thicken your runny potatoes and also better at enhancing the flavor. 

Add Parmesan Or Hard Cheeses

Last but not least, here is a method that will please every cheese lover. Cheese is a powerful thickening agent because it doesn’t only improve the texture but also the taste as well. Adding some parmesan or hard cheeses and the end result will definitely blow you away! 

add pamesan cheese to thicken smashed potatoes
Cheese doesn’t only improve the texture but also the taste – Source: Delish

Parmesan is perfect for the job. Thanks to its versatile taste that goes well with many other foods including mashed potatoes, it makes a wonderful thickening agent. Or, if you are seeking a cheese with an even stronger, more savory flavor, pecorino is a fantastic choice. 

Make sure you have grated the cheese beforehand to get the perfect thick yet smooth texture. Also, using cheese means adding a considerable number of calories to the dish, so watch out for your diet! 

How Long Can Mashed Potatoes Sit Out? 

store smashed potatoes
Can smashed potatoes be stored in the fridge? – Source: Kitchn

Now that you have cooked the best-mashed potatoes of your life, you might want to know how to store them correctly. According to the United States Department Of Agriculture, we have a general rule of thumb: Hot foods can only be exposed for 2 hours and need to be at 135 degrees F and above to avoid bacteria. 

The same is applied to mashed potatoes. If you leave them exposed for a longer time, it will grow microbes and create bacteria that can cause diarrhea and vomiting.

But, what if you want to leave them for a few days? When stored properly, mashed potatoes can stay in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Before putting them in the fridge, though, you should make sure that they have cooled to at least 140°F. Also, don’t forget to seal your food in a container or cover it with plastic wrap to prevent bacteria from entering from other contaminants.

You Can Never Get Enough Of It! 

Good old mashed potatoes are everyone’s favorite for a reason. Not only does it make the perfect accompaniment (or main dish, in my case), but the warmth and fulfilling sense it brings remind us of home. Nothing can match the joy of tasting this creamy, fluffy starch and using this guide on how to thicken mashed potatoes, you will never go wrong anymore!

Do you want to find out what tofu tastes like or whether or not pepperoni can be eaten raw? Head to our Homepage for more! 

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The Tell-Tale Of Spring: What Does Rhubarb Taste Like?

Rhubarb is weird. Unlike other strange foods such as tofu or cottage cheese, everyone kind of knows what it is, yet it still remains a mystery to most of us. Like, perhaps you have tasted a slice of rhubarb cake or a piece of rhubarb pie before, but can you remember the last time you purchased it from the grocery store? Can you even answer the question, ‘What does rhubarb taste like?’

My introduction to rhubarb came in the form of a slice of strawberry-rhubarb pie with a flake crust and a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. I was in my teens and, from the first bite, I was in love. I still recall how the ping pong of sweet and tart flavors mesmerized me. 

Until now, there are only a few things that bring me as much pleasure as this veggie. Although it might seem like a novelty purchase, if you are going to find rhubarb at the market, it has to be now, when we are smack dab in the midst of spring. Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of this plant, shall we? 

Rhubarb 101: What Is It Exactly? 

First thing first, this is rhubarb: 

What a nice color, right? The word rhubarb comes from the Latin word “rhababarum” which stands for “root of the barbarians.” The Romans labeled anyone who ate rhubarb “barbarians.” I guess that makes me a barbarian! 

Despite the origin of its name, the plant was first grown in China as a medical plant. Rhubarb has been cultivated there for more than 2,000 years until it was exported to Europe by way of the Silk Road trade route, eventually making its way to North America. Until the 18th century, it was strictly regarded as a medicinal plant, but by the 19th century, the medicinal use of rhubarb had largely been abandoned in Europe and North America. Nowadays, the plant is being grown for its delicious stalks alone. 

what does rhubarb look like
Rhubarb is a long, stalky plant that looks quite a bit like celery and is often added to sweet treats – Source: Bon Appetit

When you see rhubarb in the local markets, it’s a tell-tale sign that spring has arrived. Yes, it is a spring vegetable, one of the few that is still truly seasonal. The plant grows best in cool weather below 75°F, which is why it’s only available from late March to the beginning of June. 

Perhaps you are thinking, “Wait, what? Did you just say ‘vegetable’?”. From a botanical perspective, fruit is the seed-bearing product that grows from the ovary of a flowering plant. Meanwhile, vegetables are all the edible parts of the plant, including leaves, roots, flowers, and stalks. Rhubarb is the fleshy, edible stalks (petioles) of species and hybrids (culinary rhubarb) of Rheum in the family Polygonaceae, so scientifically saying, it is a vegetable. 

Rhubarb: Fruit Or Vegetable?

We have a good reason to think rhubarb is fruit, though: In culinary, “vegetables” are frequently seen in savory dishes. “Fruit”, on the other hand, has a soft texture and can be eaten raw or in desserts. Since rhubarb is often associated with sweet treats and bread recipes, it functions like fruit in our belief. 

Ironically, in 1974, the USDA classified it as a fruit because the tariffs on fruits were lower than vegetables. So, you can call it whatever way you want, and both of them make sense, just like pickle

What Does Rhubarb Taste Like? 

rhubarb strawberry pie
What does rhubarb taste like? – Source: Eating Well

Despite being a veggie, why does rhubarb take on the culinary role of a fruit? Well, it all comes down to the taste. In case you wonder ‘What does rhubarb taste like?’, raw rhubarb is very sour, just as mouth-puckering as lemon. It’s completely safe to consume raw rhubarb so you can sample a small slice just to experience its purest flavor, but I doubt you will find it tasty. 

That’s why the spring-darling plant is often cooked with sugar to make it palatable. That way, rhubarb will have a lovely tartness, akin to a green apple, with a very slight vegetal celery flavor. As a result, it becomes a perfect addition to sweet treats, such as pies. Many people associate the flavor of rhubarb with strawberries – another spring darling. The two make a perfect pair, as strawberries’ sweetness balances out the sourness of rhubarbs. 

Rhubarb also goes well with prunes. What do prunes taste like, you ask? They can be intensely sweet or mildly sweet, depending on which type you have. The intense sweetness from prunes can be compared to brown sugar or molasses, while the mildly sweet prunes have a taste that is similar to honey. Either way, they complement the tartness of rhubarb perfectly. Trust me when I say rhubarb-prunes tsimmes is the best Jewish treat! 

are prunes sour
Rhubarb – prune tzimmes – Source: The Spruce Eats

However, rhubarb’s flavor might vary, depending on its variety. There is more than one type of rhubarb plant, some can have stronger, sweeter, and more robust taste than others. Understanding each of them will help you big time in choosing the right rhubarb for your dish! 

Cherry Red 

what does cherry red rhubarb taste like
Cherry red rhubarb – Source: Cloud Mountain Farm

It lives up to its name with the bright red stalks. It is also one of the sweetest and least sour varieties you can find out there. 

Hence, if you are new to rhubarb and feel nervous about its infamous puckery nature, you know what to pick! And as a bonus, you can add less sugar to your desserts – perhaps.

Chipman’s Canada Red 

what does Chipman’s Canada Red rhubarb taste like
Chipman’s Canada Red rhubarb – Source: Gurney’s Seed Nursery

Another choice for newbies is Chipman’s Canada Red. The stalks have tender flesh and skin, offering a wonderfully sweet flavor, so you don’t have to add much sugar when mixing it with cobblers, pies, desserts, and other recipes. Also, its red color doesn’t fade when cooked! 

What Does Rhubarb Taste Like – Crimson Red 

“Crimson Red” is the reddest rhubarb variety, tending to be ruby red all the way through. It produces tall, plump, brightly-colored red stalks that offer the perfect balance between sweet and sour. Home cooks will find these flavorful stalks slightly more crisp and juicy than others, making them easier to handle in cooking and baking.

German Wine 

Just as its name indicates, the variety “German Wine” is ideal for making, well, wine! According to Amanda O’Brien – a Maine-based winemaker – its taste reminds her of exquisite rosé wine, so vinos take note! 

Making rhubarb wine

Standing only 2 feet and spreading 2 to 3 feet wide, this variety is not impressive in size compared to other siblings. The uniquely green-pinky stalks can be found in your local grocery from late March to early June. 

What Does Rhubarb Taste Like – Glaskin’s Perpetual 

Glaskin’s Perpetual is arguably the most popular variety out there. As thick and succulent stems that grow 30-35cm long and a pinky-green pigment with some red markings, it is easy for you to spot. 

While other rhubarbs might turn bitter as summer arrives, you can still find Glaskin’s Perpetual in late fall. Due to a low concentration of oxalic acid, it never turns bitter, so you can still enjoy your favorite rhubarb pies, tarts, and jams well into the winter! 

Hardy Tarty 

what does hardy tarty rhubarb taste like
Hardy Tarty rhubarb – Source: Lovely Greens

Thanks to the exceptional heat tolerance, you can find this variety in Southern and Northern America. The heirloom variety Hardy Tarty (also known as ‘Colorado Red’) offers reddish, thick, non-stringy stalks that are delightfully tart. This colorful addition will bring your pies and other dishes a luscious sourness, but if you can’t stand this puckery taste, be careful! 

What Does Rhubarb Taste Like – KangaRhu 

Among the newest types of rhubarb, you’ll find the adorably-named KangaRhu variety as an interesting choice. Like most rhubarb varieties, it also has a stark red stem. This stalk is surprisingly bright and may hold a slight greenish tone in some cases. Stalks are as tart as they are red, so if you are all about mouth-puckering treats, KangaRhu is the one for you. 

What Does Rhubarb Taste Like – Riverside Giant 

As the name implies, this one is a giant. The Riverside Giant can get to 4 feet in width and over 5 feet in height, making it far larger than the typical rhubarb.

What Does Rhubarb Taste Like - Riverside Giant 
Riverside Giant rhubarb – Source: Wikipedia

The Riverside Giant also stands out for its color. In contrast with other varieties, this one never turns red or pink – it remains green all the way. Interestingly, it is still edible, though you can hardly detect any sweetness. 

What Does Rhubarb Taste Like – Sunrise 

Perfect for those who love to store a large amount of rhubarb for later use, Sunrise can be kept in the freezer for a long time.

This is all thanks to its extra-tough, thick pink stems, which won’t turn mushy even after staying in the freezer for a long time. Ideal for anyone who craves a rhubarb pie in the middle of winter yet doesn’t have any fresh stalks on hand!

Timperley Early 

In February, you see rhubarb on the market, it must be Timperley Early. This variety is often the first to mature. The bright-pink, green-streaked stems have wonderful white flesh and are simply bursting with sweet, tangy, delicious flavor.

Did you know? There is a method of growing rhubarb known as “forcing” where the plant grows in complete darkness and is tended to in candlelight. While it sounds astonishing, Redditors from r/todayilearned report that during this process, rhubarb plants grow so quickly that you can even hear them grow. The best cultivar for this method is Timperley Early, and as some gardeners said, “they thrive on hatred and neglect”. Interesting, right?

How to force rhubarb?

What Does Rhubarb Taste Like – Victoria

Lastly, we have probably the most popular of all rhubarb varieties worldwide, the Victoria species. Nowadays, it is still the most widely available. Developed in 1837 at the start of Queen Victoria’s reign, this variety pioneered the use of rhubarb in British and American cuisine. It is known as the first rhubarb ever been used in cooking. 

what does victoria rhubarb taste like
Victoria rhubarb – Source: Terroirs Seeds

With fat red-and-green stems and a sweet, lightly tart flavor, you can use Victoria in many desserts, savory dishes, sauces, jams, and even punch.

How To Choose Rhubarb?

If you have never seen or cooked with rhubarb before, choosing the right stalks might turn out to be a problem. 

choose the right rhubarb
Choosing the right rhubarb stalks is extremely important – Source: Taste Of Home

While you can sometimes see rhubarb at the local grocery stores with leaves, only the stalks are safe to consume. The large, triangular leaves contain a higher concentration of oxalic acid than foods like spinach, broccoli, and cauliflower (which have perfectly safe levels). You’d likely have to eat a large amount of the leaves for it to be lethal, but a small amount can cause nausea and vomiting. 

To make sure, while choosing your rhubarb, look for stalks that are firm and upright, with leaves that seem fresh and haven’t wilted. Do not eat or serve the leaves and keep them out of reach of children and pets. Remember to remove the leaves first before cooking the rhubarb to your needs. 

The Best Way To Store Rhubarb

As the previous part mentions, rhubarb is one of the few veggies that is still truly seasonal. But what if you crave a slice of rhubarb pie in the middle of autumn? Lucky you, there are several methods that can help you store rhubarb for a few weeks or even months! 

The first one is by using a foil. Simply arrange the stalks on a large piece of foil. Instead of making it airtight, you can loosely wrap foil around your rhubarb and gently crimp the ends. Store it in the refrigerator until you plan to use it, and the stalks will last for at least a month or even longer. 

store rhubarb with a foil
Store Rhubarb Using A Foil – Source: Zestful Kitchen 

In case you want to freeze rhubarb to use it months from now, the process is just as simple:

  • Rinse rhubarb stalks with water and wipe dry.
  • Cut washed rhubarb into 1-inch pieces and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet; freeze until solid, about 3–4 hours.
  • Keep frozen rhubarb pieces in resealable plastic freezer bags and put them in the freezer for up to a year.
how to store rhubarb
Cut washed rhubarb into 1-inch pieces before freezing – Source: Zestful Kitchen

So, how to tell if rhubarb is bad? You can tell whether or not your rhubarb is spoiled just by looking at it. But if you are not quite sure, this list will come in handy: 

  • Texture: Fresh rhubarb has a crisp texture. Throw it out if it’s limp or floppy and doesn’t keep its shape when you pick one up. 
  • Color: Rhubarb is bright red or ruby-red, often with some green patches here and there. If the skin darkens and changes colors, it’s quite obvious that the stalk is done for.
  • Mold: Small signs of mold might appear on the two ends of the stalks, especially when you leave them at room temperature for a long time. If they are small, you can cut them off and cook the rest. If the mold begins to spread, get rid of the rhubarb.
  • Smell: I’ve never had a rhubarb that smelled bad, but if yours does, something’s not right. In this case, the only option is to discard it.

“There’s Always Room For Rhubarb Pie!” 

That’s the answer for ‘What does rhubarb taste like?’. Does it encourage you to give these stalks a try? Well, you should! From rhubarb pie and rhubarb-strawberry tart to the buckwheat rhubarb bread, the spring darling will take you on a journey full of flavors and make you love this endearing season even more! 

Do you want to check out the latest food-related content? Head to our Homepage for more! 

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#NoStupidQuestion: Is Pickle A Fruit? 5 Facts About Fruits You Must Know

‘Is pickle a fruit or a vegetable?’

Posted by user “scarletjohamster” on Reddit around 5 years ago, the thread has gained 9.8k comments, 85% upvotes, and of course, so much confusion. So, if you ever find yourself wondering the same thing, you are not alone. Yes, there are more things we should care about. But even the age-old conundrum “War—what is it good for?” was solved by Edwin Starr, a mere one-hit-wonder. Meanwhile, the status of the pickle continues to baffle great minds. 

Since the International Pickle Week is coming on May 16, there is no better time to delve deep into the world of pickles and discover some truth that will… errr, tickle you. In order to know if a pickle is a fruit or not, though, we must first establish what a pickle even is.  

What Is A Pickle? Is A Pickle A Fruit Or A Vegetable?

The term “pickle” itself is already confusing, that’s part of what makes ‘Is a pickle a fruit?’ a complicated question. If you travel to different countries in the world asking for pickles, you will be given various things. For instance, in the United Kingdom, what you get is a minuscule white onion in vinegar. In Korea, you are likely to get Kimchi – a traditional side dish of salted and fermented vegetables, such as napa cabbage and Korean radish. Pickles in other countries include beetroot and even boiled eggs. Here in the US, you will be handed a small green cucumber in vinegar. 

At that point, you probably can tell: Pickle is not a specific fruit or vegetable, but the process of submerging fruits and vegetables in saltwater or vinegar, preserving them via anaerobic (oxygen-free) fermentation.

Typically, fruits or vegetables will absorb the vinegar or brine, creating a pH level of less than 4.6. That makes it acidic enough to kill a lot of bacteria, but tasty enough to eat in daily meals.

According to many sources, pickling came from Mesopotamia around 2400 B.C.E. That makes it one of the first and most ancient methods of food preservation. In American history, it is not an exaggeration to say that the pickle was a life savior. Before air travel was possible and refrigerators were invented, we all had to travel by boat. As a result, there weren’t many options to keep the foods fresh for extended voyages. And what would happen when you combine an extended journey at sea with no access to fresh produce? You get scurvy.

With the help of pickle – a humble, ordinary dish, vitamin C deficiency could be held at bay. For that reason, sailors stocked their ships with huge barrels of pickles to keep the crew happy, healthy, and free of scurvy. 

pickled cucumber
For Americans, “Pickles” Often Refers To Fermented Cucumbers – Source: Mental Floss

Nowadays, pickles are well-loved as a staple of delis, barbecues, and burger joints across the country. Although you can pickle literally any fruit or vegetable, when Americans talk about pickles, the first thing that comes to our mind is pickled cucumber. So by asking ‘Is a pickle a fruit?’, we are also asking if a cucumber is a fruit or vegetable. 

So, Is Cucumber A Fruit Or A Vegetable?

Tricky, isn’t it? Well, that’s why this deserves to be a topic of a seminar. Still, there are several ways to analyze the problem. By the end of this post, whether or not cucumber is a fruit or something else will blow your mind. Stick with us, because I bet your friend won’t know this! 

Fruit VS. Vegetable

From a botanical perspective, a ‘fruit’ is the seed-bearing product that grows from the ovary of a flowering plant. In other words, a fruit is a plant’s way of spreading its seeds. A botanical fruit would have at least one seed and grow from the flower of the plant. While we often think that fruit is a combination of seed and an edible part of the plant, not all fruits are edible. Consider the sheer number of flowering plants out there that bear seeds in this way – not all of them are safe for eating!

According to this definition, beans can also be considered a fruit. Surprise? They are pods that contain seeds and are grown as flowering plants, so you can refer to them as fruit just like apple, pear, or peach. 

What’s the botanical definition of a vegetable, then? It’s any part of a plant human can consume, such as flowers, leaves, roots, seeds, stems, and fruit. Yup, you are not reading it wrong – fruit. 

The Difference Between Fruit And Vegetables

The outlook is quite different in culinary terms, however. Culinary speaking, a “vegetable” usually has a tougher texture, tastes blander, and is often seen in savory dishes. A ‘fruit’, however, has a soft texture, tends to be either sweet or tart, and is often enjoyed raw or in desserts or jams. That’s why many foods are (botanically speaking) fruits, but since they are often seen in savory dishes instead of sweet ones, they are typically considered vegetables by chefs. 

Is Cucumber A Fruit Or Vegetable? 

cucumber is a fruit
From A Botanical Point Of View, A Cucumber Is Fruit – Source: Times Of India

By now, you probably get the answer: With the botanical definition in mind, cucumbers are classified as fruit because they contain tiny seeds in the middle and grow from the flower of the cucumber plant.

A chef, nutritionist, or even your mom would use the culinary classification system, which distinguishes fruit and vegetables in a different manner based on the way they are cooked and their flavor profiles. Cucumbers can be crunchy and refreshing, which makes them a great snack when enjoyed raw. Yet, we also prepare cucumbers in savory dishes like pickling, which is why we usually classify cucumbers as vegetables.

5 Interesting Facts About Fruits And Vegetables For You To Savor

Is Tomatoes A Fruit?  

tomatoes is a fruit
Can You Guess What Tomatoes Are? – Source: Armstrong Garden Center

Tomatoes, which hail from the Solanaceae family, are probably the best-known example of fruit often referred to as a veggie. But, just like cucumbers, they are only considered fruit if you are asking a botanist. Most of us will look at tomatoes from the culinary perspective and treat them as vegetables since they are frequently used in savory dishes. It’s that logic that prompted the Supreme Court to declare in 1893 that tomatoes should be taxed like other vegetables. 

“Botanically speaking, tomatoes are the fruit of a vine, just as are cucumbers, squashes, beans, and peas,” Justice Horace Gray wrote in the court’s opinion. “But in the common language of the people… all these are vegetables which are grown in kitchen gardens, and which, whether eaten cooked or raw, are, like potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnips, beets, cauliflower, cabbage, celery, and lettuce, usually served at dinner in, with, or after the soup, fish, or meats which constitute the principal part of the repast, and not, like fruits generally, as dessert.” That’s how American tomatoes are legally vegetables.

Is Jalapeno A Fruit? 

What do jalapeno, pimento, shishito, bell, and poblano have in common? They are all different types of peppers! Some tickle your taste buds with sweetness, others put your mouth on fire. But have you ever wondered if peppers are fruit or veggies? 

From a botanist’s point of view, peppers are classified as fruit because they contain tiny seeds in the middle and grow from the flower of the pepper plant. As you already know, though,  it is frequently used as a spicy condiment to most dishes. So while being a fruit, for chefs, nutritionists, and home cooks, it belongs to the ‘vegetable’ category in culinary. 

In addition, there are some fun facts about jalapeno for spicy lovers here: It was the first peppers that traveled into space on a NASA shuttle! In 1982, the Space Shuttle Columbia was launched on NASA’s fifth space shuttle mission called STS-5. It was a five-day flight that departed on November 11 and landed on November 16. 

jalapeno is a fruit
Did You Know That Jalapeno Was The First Pepper On Space? – Source: Allrecipes

Astronaut Sherwood “Woody” Spring grew jalapenos in his backyard. He was not going to be on this mission, but he gave his friend and fellow astronaut William B. Lenoir who was boarding the shuttle some of his freshly picked jalapeno peppers.

So there they were, those jalapeno peppers flying into outer space with the other astronauts, probably not knowing they were the first peppers in space. Other peppers must be quite jealous, eh? 

So Is Carrot Fruit Or Vegetable?  

With tomatoes, cucumber, and jalapeno being fruit, you now know that there is more fruit hiding in plain sight. So, can you guess what carrot is? Well, it’s actually… vegetable by any definition! 

More precisely, it’s a root vegetable. Although people typically discard most roots and eat the part of the plant that grows above ground, root vegetables like beetroots, parsnips, and celeriac make some exceptions. Here, we eat the edible and fleshy roots. The stems and leaves aren’t edible. In other words, what we consume are the roots of carrot plants. 

carrot is a vegetable
Carrots Are, In Fact, The Roots Of The Carrot Plants – Source: Better Homes And Garden

Did you know that, in addition to orange, carrots can also be purple, red, white, and yellow? In history, most cultivated carrots had a deep, black-purple color. It wasn’t until the 16th century did Dutch growers developed the sweet, plump orange carrots. 

Nowadays, you can find many colors of this veggie, such as purple, red, yellow, and white. Each of them has a different taste:  Yellow carrots have an earthy-sweet flavor with notes of celery and parsley, and white carrots are relatively mild. Purple carrots can have a peppery flavor but can also be very sweet.

What About Onion? 

Almost everyone uses some type of onion in their daily food recipes, yet we have never asked ourselves: Is onion fruit or vegetable? It doesn’t contain any seed, so just like carrots, onions are a type of veggie by all means. 

But as we already know, a vegetable is the edible portion of a plant including fruit. Let’s get more specific here: If it’s not a fruit, then what portion onion is exactly? Perhaps it’s a root or a bulb? 

Regarding this, I found an interesting answer from Abhishek Mishra on Quora. Basically, Abhishek explained that onions are made up of stem and scale leaves. The stem of onion is discoid (disc-shaped) and it is an underground alteration of the stem which falls under the classification of a bulb.

This answer confirms the fact that the fleshy edible part of an onion that grows in the ground is a bulb. That was a great explanation of our familiar plant’s structure. 

Is Onion A Fruit Or Vegetable?

Strawberries Are Not What They Seem

If a guy comes to you and asks, ‘Is strawberry a fruit or vegetable?’, you probably would laugh at him. Well, the sweet, bright-red summer fruit you love so much is undeniably a fruit. But if someone questions the real status of strawberries, he has a point. They are not actually berries, and you will be shocked by some of the other foods that are technically berries.

is strawberry a fruit
These Juicy “Berries” Are Not Actually Berries! – Source: Yates

A true berry is a fleshy fruit that develops from the ovary of a single flower with a seed (or seeds) embedded on the inside of the flesh. In other words, the fruit must contain seeds on the inside. Just by looking at a strawberry, you can tell that its seeds are studded all around the outside of the fruit. That said, from a botanical perspective, strawberries do not fit the definition of a berry. 

A few surprising “berries” are banana, pumpkin, avocado, and, guess what? Tomato! For some of these fruits, particularly bananas, their seeds are so tiny we don’t even notice that they’re actually there.

“Berry” or not, I think we can all agree on one thing: Perfectly ripe strawberries are truly amazing gems of summer.

Wrapping Up: Is A Pickle A Fruit? 

What I just revealed might make you feel like the rug is getting pulled out from under your feet, like everything you’ve known to be good and true in the world is a complete lie. But hey, now you are smarter than most people out there who can’t tell fruit apart from vegetables! 

Next time someone brings up the question ‘Is a pickle a fruit?’, you can proudly tell them the answer. And if your kid says “I don’t like vegetables”? Just let him know that carrots are roots, tomatoes are fruits, cauliflowers are flowers, and onions are just bulbs!  

Do you want to check out the latest food-related content, such as “What Does Tofu Taste Like?” or “How To Tell If Steak Is Bad”? Head to our Homepage for more! 

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So You Trust Your Eyes, Huh? (Not) Fried Chicken Ice Cream Will Make You Think Again

If you can only keep one thing in mind, it’s that you shouldn’t trust anything you see, hear, or read on the Internet. With the recent “things that don’t seem like cakes but are, in fact, cakes” trend, foodaholics will know what I mean. But there is another viral treat that can give us an equally mind-blowing example of dessert deception: Not fried chicken ice cream.

Think You’ve Got Yourself A Drumstick Of Fried Chicken? Think Again! 

If you look at this: 

Not Fried Chicken
Not Fried Chicken Ice Cream – Source: Allrecipes

You would immediately assume they are drumsticks of fried chicken, right? No, it’s not! Despite how it looks, this thing is actually Not Fried Chicken ice cream. To be exact, it begins with waffle-flavored ice cream, which is coated in white chocolate and crushed corn flakes. The fun doesn’t end here: Each drumstick has a chocolate-covered cookie “bone” inside! So, kids, in case you are wondering why chicken bones are not edible, this is the one for you! 

So, if you expect to bite on a crispy, juicy, and delicious chicken drumstick, you won’t find it here. But that doesn’t make Not Fried Chicken ice cream less fantastic. Customers who have tried the dessert said it was the perfect combination of sweet, salty, crunchy, creamy, and endless surprise. Some Internet users suggest letting the ice cream sit for one or two minutes so it can soften before you taste it. 

The dessert is the brainchild of Cynthia Wong – the owner of Life Raft Treats, an artisanal ice cream truck in Charleston, South Carolina. Wong is a pastry chef who has been nominated for the James Beard Awards six times in a row, so you can entrust her with the best ice creams and bars in town. Think unique, seasonal flavors like rhubarb crumble, plum-macadamia brittle, or mulberry cheesecake for example. Life Raft Treats is also known for using local products like eggs and dairy to make their sweet treats. 

Not Fried Chicken Ice Cream – LA Best

But Wong’s whimsical eye and creativity are most showcased in her signature Not Fried Chicken ice cream. This humorous work of art even comes in a bucket, adding a new wrinkle to the age-old chicken-egg conundrum. 

Where Can You Buy Not Fried Chicken Ice Cream
Not Fried Chicken Ice Cream Where To Get – Source: Eater California

Are you tempted to take a trip to Charleston to get yourself a nine-piece bucket? Fortunately, you don’t have to! Life Raft Treats offers shipping services across the U.S. Your frozen sweet is kept in dry ice, ensuring that it arrives intact regardless of the weather. Additionally, you might want to add a Candied Apple Butterscotch Crumble Ice Cream Cake or some chicken wings ice cream to your cart (provided that they are in stock).

So, *not* fried chicken for dinner, anyone?

The World Of Weird Ice Cream Flavors

Not Fried Chicken ice cream is a genius invention, and South Carolina should be proud of it. But hey, it’s definitely not the weirdest ice cream out there! Nearly every state has its own wacky sweet treat that can either make you wow in amazement or freak out. Below are some of the strange-but-real flavors that will make you want to road trip across America! 

Pickled Mango 

The World Of Weird Ice Cream Flavors
Pickled Mango Ice Cream – Source: Twitter

Perhaps mango-flavored ice cream doesn’t sound so strange, but pickled?

As one of the country’s most renowned ice cream makers, Jeni Britton Bauer – the owner of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream – always challenges the boundary of outstanding sweets. Her lineup of limited-edition ice cream flavors is proof of that. Among them, the most-loved one is Pickled Mango. The treat – a cream cheese-based ice cream topped with spicy mango sauce made from vinegar, white pepper, allspice, and clove – sounds more savory than sweet, but many say that this strange combination is extremely addicting! 

Corn On The Cob 

Brothers Bruce & Mark Becker, who founded NYC’s famous Max & Mina’s Ice Cream, have been offering over 5000 unique ice cream flavors. Most of them are adapted from their grandfather’s original recipes. 

Since they experiment with the recipes every day, their menu is changed on a daily basis, but Corn On The Cob has marked itself as their signature. It is made with the freshest corn, giving this dessert a creamy texture and luscious flavor, with a subtle corn taste.

Corn On The Cob Ice Cream

Pear And Blue Cheese

Pear And Blue Cheese
Pear & Blue Cheese Ice Cream – Source: The Daily Meal

“Salty-sweet” is the chefs’ motto in Salt & Straw, a Portland, Oregon-based ice cream shop. They create sweet treats where sugar and spice join hands to deliver one-of-a-kind flavors. Think Strawberry Honey Balsamic or Cinnamon Snickerdoodle, for example. Still, the most notable one is Pear With Blue Cheese – the perfect combination of candied Oregon Bartletts and cave-aged crumbles of Rogue Creamery blue cheese. A bold thwack, isn’t it? 

Ghost Pepper 

Have you ever been asked to show your ID at an ice cream shop? Well, if you want a scoop of Ghost Pepper flavor at The Ice Cream Store in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, you have to prove that you are over 18. Also, take a pen with you, because a signed waiver is also required! 

Delaware’s Famous Pepper Ice Cream
Ghost Pepper Ice Cream – Source: Pinterest

The desert appears innocent with white ice cream and red ribbons running through it. Your friend wouldn’t doubt it’s vanilla and strawberry sauce – but one bite quickly proves otherwise. This “sweet” treat is, in fact, topped with ghost pepper hot sauce. You might feel your tongue burning, but don’t worry because the cool and creamy ice cream will immediately soothe it! 

Roasted Turmeric and Candied Ginger

Ginger Ice Cream
Roasted Tumeric & Candied Ginger Ice Cream- Source: Sassy Kitchen

Would you like to visit Juneau’s first handmade ice cream ship? Next time you are in Alaska, take a trip around Coppa and discover everything this lovely parlor has to offer! I recommend the Roasted Turmeric and Candied Ginger flavor. It’s not only tasty but also anti-inflammatory. A win-win for sure! 

Butter Bear 

Butter Beer-Flavored Ice Cream
Butter Beer Ice Cream – Source: Son Shine Kitchen

Walnut Beach Creamery in Milford, Connecticut, is known for its gourmet ice cream. Each flavor is handmade in small batches, including Butter Beer, which is sure to please Potterheads everywhere. Do you want to know how it tastes? The taste reminds me of butterscotch, so I’m quite sure J.K. Rowling would be happy! 

Bacon Maple Crunch 

Rohoboth Beach Ice Cream
Bacon Maple Brunch Ice Cream – Source: The Spruce Eats

Everyone is crazy about bacon, so what about bacon-flavored ice cream? No? Perhaps you will change your mind if it’s mixed with maple syrup. At least, that’s what the artisan ice cream makers at Delaware-based Rehoboth Beach Ice Cream think. They even featured their unique flavor in a competition in Kansas City and came in 5th place overall, so there must be something to enjoy here.

Lemon Olive Oil 

Milk Sugar Love’s Ice Cream
Olive Oil Ice Cream – Source: Food & Wine Magazine

This artisan treat from Jersey City’s Milk Sugar Love, a small ice cream business, is made with Sicilian olive oil flavored with lemon. It’s impossible to predict what you’ll find on their menu because they’re constantly coming up with fresh and inventive flavors.

Firecracker

What Does Firecracker Ice Cream Taste Like
Firecracker Ice Cream – Source: Chefclub

If Firecracker-flavored ice cream doesn’t sound appealing, we don’t know what does. This one starts with an all-fruits base but also contains a generous amount of Pop Rocks. The end result? A sweet and delicious scoop of fruity ice cream finished with as much crackling as you could ask for! 

I-Scream Solves Everything— Oh Wait…

For a long time, ice cream has always been our comfort food. When you are feeling down, this food is a great way to perk up and raise your spirits. Next time, take the fun to the next level by stepping out of your vanilla/chocolate comfort zone and try Not Fried Chicken ice cream or any strange flavor listed above! 

Which one would you like to try, and which one do you think is the weirdest? Let us know in the comment section!

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Eat Well

Behind Everyone’s Favorite Summer Drink: Does Orange Crush Have Caffeine?

On the first day of summer. On the beach. In the morning. On a long road trip. We can treat ourselves with a cold orange crush literally anytime, and nothing can match that feeling of joy and satisfaction. But, before you take a sip, you might want to consider one thing: Does orange crush have caffeine

If you choose to avoid caffeine, you are not alone. For many reasons, including negative health effects, religious constraints, pregnancy, and other issues, many have eliminated caffeine from their diet. Some may simply moderate their intake and stick to just one or two caffeinated drinks per day. But, does it prevent you from enjoying your favorite summer treat? The answer lies right here! 

What Exactly Is Orange Crush Made Of? 

It’s not an exaggeration to say that Orange Crush Soda is one of the most popular soft drinks in the world. The orange soda everyone goes crazy for today was invented more than 90 years ago under the name Ward’s Orange Crush. Neil Ward – a chemist from California, cooperated with Clayton J. Howell – the president and founder of the Orange Crush Bottling Company in 1916 to create a more flavorful orange syrup.

The Orange Crush Company was formed as a result of their partnership, and Ward immediately began to work on the first Orange Crush formula, which was later named after him.

Originally, the soft drink was made of real fruit juice. If that’s what you still think, you are not the one at fault – I mean, it has fruit in the name and an image of an orange slice on the label, right? Unfortunately, it’s not the case. From 1962 until now, the brand has gone through some ownership transfers, which led to several reformulations. Nowadays, your favorite Orange Crush consists of: 

  • Carbonated water 
  • High fructose corn syrup 
  • Citric acid 
  • Sodium benzoate (Preservative) 
  • Natural flavors
  • Modified corn starch  
  • Easter gum 
  • Salt
  • Artificial dyes (yellow 6, red 40)

Does Orange Crush Have Caffeine? 

So, does Orange Crush have caffeine? All of the ingredients listed above have no caffeine in them, so it’s safe to say that this soft drink is caffeine-free. 

However, it still poses some health risks, mostly due to its high sugar content and artificial dyes. Each bottle of this 12oz orange soda contains 44g of sugar, more than 2 Snicker candy bars and twice AHA’s recommended daily amount for a child. Yes, we expect soda to be sweet, but consuming this much sugar in a day can put one at risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes. 

Orange Crush Soft Drink
A Bottle Of Orange Crush Contains An Excessive Amount Of Sugar – Source: Whistler Grocery Delivery

You might want to check out: How many Oreos are in a pack?

Artificial colorings such as yellow 6 and red 40 give Orange Crush the beautiful neon orange hue, but there is ever-increasing evidence that they are linked to many health problems. Being a by-product of petroleum, red 40 has been proven to cause negative behaviors in children. Limiting the consumption of this food coloring is beneficial for them, especially those with ADHD. For that reason, some countries have banned these food colorings’ use. 

So next time, if you reach out for a bottle of Orange Crush thinking it will give you a boost of vitamin C, think again. As harmless as it sounds, this soft drink is a sugar bomb that can do a number to your health. 

A Healthier Solution For Orange Crush Lovers

Rather than drinking Orange Crush all summer, your health will thank you if you go for 100% pure orange juice. This good old-fashioned drink has a naturally sweet taste and does not contain any added sugar. Furthermore, it will help you lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and prevent your body from inflammation. 

Orange Juice Is A Healthier Choice
Orange Juice Is A Better Option For Your Health – Source: St. Savier’s School

In case you look for a little fizz, simply mix pure orange juice with some sparkling water for an Orange Crush flavor without any harmful ingredient. You will experience the same feeling of joy and satisfaction while avoiding any unwanted health effects. 

List Of Caffeine Rating In Your Favorite Drinks

Now that you got the answer for ‘Does orange crush have caffeine’, what about other soft drinks? Even though many soft drinks available on the market are caffeinated, you still have several caffeine-free options. Let’s take a look at some popular sodas:

Coke

Does Coke Have Caffeine?
Did You Know That Both Coke And Diet Coke Contain Caffeine? – Source: McDonald’s

You will be surprised to know that not only Coke but also Diet Coke contain a hearty caffeine content, which can be troublesome for those looking to cut down their caffeine intake. 

This amount depends on several factors, including serving size, but generally, Coke contains 32 mg of caffeine per 12-ounce (335-ml) serving. Diet Coke is higher in caffeine, with about 42 mg per 12 ounces (335 ml).

Fortunately, the company now offers decaffeinated varieties, making it easier for those who want to eliminate caffeine from their diet. 

Sunkist

Is Sunkist Caffeinated
Does Sunkist Have Caffeine? – Source: Walmart

Does Sunkist have caffeine? Well, most orange sodas are caffeine-free, but Sunkist is an exception to this rule. This popular soft drink used to have 41 milligrams of caffeine, but the formulation is now 19 milligrams. 

There is a fun fact for you: In 2010, Sunkist mistakenly infused its 12-ounce soda cans with a whopping 238 milligrams of caffeine. They then received several complaints from their customers, saying the soda had led to an odd medicinal flavor. Others said they threw up and even had to go to the hospital overnight. 

As a result, the company had to pull more than 4,000 cases of soda from store shelves. Years later, Sunkist eventually reduced its caffeine content to only 19 milligrams, which still stands today.

Ginger Ale

Does Ginger Ale Have Caffeine
Ginger Ale Is A Healthy Beverage – Source: Healthline

It is a ginger-flavored soda often used in mixed drinks or as a home remedy for nausea. So, is ginger ale caffeine-free? 

There is good news for you: The drink is not only non-caffeinated but also beneficial for your health. Some soft drink brands, such as Canada Dry, use real ginger extracts for their products. Smaller companies may also use natural flavors, or even whole ginger root, so check the ingredient list if you’re unsure.

Another well-known ginger-ale manufacturer is Schweppes. Caffeine-free diet versions of both Canada Dry and Schweppes are available.

Cream Soda

Does Cream Soda Have Caffeine
Is Cream Soda Decaffeinated? – Source: Walmart

Cream soda is a beverage that mimics the creamy flavors of vanilla ice cream. 

The drink is available in two flavors – classic, amber in color, and red cream soda with a brilliant red. Both of them are decaffeinated, so those looking to cut down their caffeine intake can freely enjoy. Barq’s, A&W, and Mug are among the most well-known brands.

Root Beer

Does Root Beer Have Caffeine
Root Beer Is Well-Loved Thanks To Its Unique Flavor – Source: Wikipedia

You can recognize this dark soda immediately thanks to its unique, earthy flavor. However, most root beer available on the market is artificially flavored. 

Most root beers contain no caffeine, but Barq’s product does have some. You can look for some well-known decaffeinated brands, such as Mug or A&W. 

In A Nutshell

This summer, you don’t have to wonder ‘Does orange crush have caffeine?” anymore. As you can see, there are many caffeine-free soft drinks available on the market. They come in a wide range of flavors across different brands.

Still, many of these are loaded with sweeteners like high-fructose corn syrup and various additives. If you watch your intake of these substances, you may want to opt for healthier options, such as pure juice or homemade cocktails.
Do you want to check out the latest food-related content, such as “How Long Can Cooked Chicken Sit Out”? Head to our Homepage for more!

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