Don’t be daunted by that diva demeanour – Friday’s very own chef Silvena Rowe is happy to answer all your kitchen queries
Q What is the best way to store prawns for a long time? When I freeze them, they tend to lose their taste. Am I doing something wrong?
A Fresh prawns taste better than frozen ones, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t freeze well.
If you have got fresh prawns you want to save for later, here’s what you need to do:
First wash the prawns in cold water and then arrange them on a tray in a single layer, ensuring they do not touch each other. Put the tray in the freezer and allow the prawns to freeze completely.
Once frozen, put the prawns into a resealable plastic bag, without allowing them to thaw at all.
If you don’t want to use all the prawns at the same time, divide them into portions and store them in separate bags. Then simply defrost the amount you wish to use when you need them.
Q I got a good deal on a large box of cranberries recently. Please suggest a recipe for cranberry relish or chutney that has a long shelf life so that I don’t waste them.
A Here’s a recipe for a great chutney. You can double up all the quantities if you want to make a bigger batch.
In a large pan, cook together 400g of cranberries with 200g of sugar. Bring to the boil over a medium heat, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for about 10 minutes, or until the sugar has dissolved and the cranberries are starting to burst.
Add 2 tbsp of red grape vinegar, 1/2 tsp of ground ginger and 1/2 tsp of allspice and mix. Simmer for another 30 minutes, or until the mixture reduces to about half its original quantity.
Pour the chutney into hot, sterilised jars. Let it cool to room temperature and then refrigerate.
Q I love oranges, but it feels like such a waste throwing away the peel. Is there any way I can preserve the peel for later use?
A Drying orange peel is an easy way to preserve it. Use oranges with a thick skin, as they preserve better. Peel the oranges so you get only the orange part of the skin and not the white bitter pith underneath.
Place the peel on a tray in a single layer and let it dry completely. You can either sun-dry the peel, which might take a couple of days, or place it in a preheated oven set at 80°C for 4 hours. Don’t open the oven during drying as it will spoil the peel.
Once the peel curls up and becomes hard, take it out of the oven and let it cool to room temperature. Grind it into a fine powder and store in a sterilised, dry container.
Use the powdered zest exactly as you would the fresh variety. This process works for any citrus fruit.