How to Brine Meat—& Why You Should Bother

Have you ever suffered the travesty that is a dry, tasteless chicken breast? Or tried to cut into a pork chop, only to be rewarded with a bicep workout and a rumbling stomach? Or chewed your way through a turkey that tastes like it might’ve been made o…

Have you ever suffered the travesty that is a dry, tasteless chicken breast? Or tried to cut into a pork chop, only to be rewarded with a bicep workout and a rumbling stomach? Or chewed your way through a turkey that tastes like it might've been made out of sand? We have, too. It was unpleasant. Thankfully, it never has to happen again—just harness the power of science, and you can brine your way to consistently better meat. Brining meat should happen at least 12 hours in advance of when you want to cook the meat and can be done with water, salt, and sugar or a dry brine using a variety of herbs and spices. Here's why it works, and how to use our brine recipes for everything from a Thanksgiving turkey to everyday cuts of meat.

Why Do You Brine Before Cooking?

Brining was originally used for food preservation in the pre-refrigeration era. However, there are two solid reasons why you should brine your meat in the 21st-century: flavor and texture. Brining infuses the meat with savory, finger-lickin' flavors, all while tenderizing it to butter-soft texture. So how does it work?

Read More >>

Here’s How to Properly Shut Down a Grill After a Barbecue

Inspired by conversations on the Food52 Hotline, we’re sharing tips and tricks that make navigating all of our kitchens easier and more fun.
Today: Shutting down a grill is just as important as starting it up. Read More >>

Inspired by conversations on the Food52 Hotline, we're sharing tips and tricks that make navigating all of our kitchens easier and more fun.

Today: Shutting down a grill is just as important as starting it up.

Read More >>

The Very Best Way to Sharpen Your Knives

The world’s sharpest knives probably belong to newlyweds. That’s because it’s all downhill from there—the more you cook, the duller your most important tool becomes. It’s only through regular maintenance that chefs and home cook…

The world’s sharpest knives probably belong to newlyweds. That’s because it’s all downhill from there—the more you cook, the duller your most important tool becomes. It's only through regular maintenance that chefs and home cooks keep their blades sharp.

So how often should you aim for? Well, the short answer is whenever they start to feel dull—which can vary depending on the quality of your knives and how often you use them. Can your knife cut a tomato cleanly? If not, it's time to sharpen it. You can also use the paper test: Hold a sheet of printer paper up and try to slice it vertically. If you have trouble hacking through the paper, your knife could stand to be sharper. For most home cooks, this will be two to three times a year.

Read More >>

How to Make Stale Bread (Yes, on Purpose!)

Inspired by conversations on the Food52 Hotline, we’re sharing tips and tricks that make navigating all of our kitchens easier and more fun. Today: Forgot to stale the bread? Not to worry—stay calm, follow these easy-peasy steps, and carry on.
So…

Inspired by conversations on the Food52 Hotline, we're sharing tips and tricks that make navigating all of our kitchens easier and more fun. Today: Forgot to stale the bread? Not to worry—stay calm, follow these easy-peasy steps, and carry on.

So you think your days of emergency bread-staling are over, do you? The stuffing's behind you? There are bread puddings and breadcrumbs and croutons in your future yet. And amidst your adept holiday meal-planning, you might (just might) let staling the bread slip.

Read More >>

How to Make Fresh Or Dried Bread Crumbs

Before Food Editor Emma Laperruque’s recipe for Pecorino Dumplings, my relationship with bread crumbs (whether store-bought or homemade, fresh or dried, flavored or plain) was pretty much nonexistent. I grew up on those tinned bread crumbs laced …

Before Food Editor Emma Laperruque’s recipe for Pecorino Dumplings, my relationship with bread crumbs (whether store-bought or homemade, fresh or dried, flavored or plain) was pretty much nonexistent. I grew up on those tinned bread crumbs laced with Italian seasonings, but never thought to make homemade bread crumbs myself.

But then Emma asked a very good question: Why would you *ever* throw bread butts away, when—fresh or dried or even stale—they could have a very exciting future in crumb form? Now, I stockpile heels, odds, and ends in a tightly sealed bag in the freezer. When a dish is lacking a crispy-crunchy something, I’ll pull out a heel or two, blitz it in the blender (a la method #1 below), toss gently with olive oil or anchovy oil or sun-dried tomato oil and toast until crisp. 

Read More >>

A Trick for Storing Berries to Keep ‘Em Fresher, Longer

Berries: can’t live with ’em, can’t live without ’em. Like many coveted objects, berries are both precious and frustrating, expensive and fragile. What is more maddening than splurging on vivid, juicy berries at the market only to find that your fruity…

Berries: can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em. Like many coveted objects, berries are both precious and frustrating, expensive and fragile. What is more maddening than splurging on vivid, juicy berries at the market only to find that your fruity jewels have turned to mush—or worse, have been overtaken by dreaded mold—when you return to them for a mid-week treat? 

Don't despair just yet: This berry horror story does not have to be your destiny. The culprits behind berry mold are the evil, microscopic mold spores waiting to make a home of the friendly, moist skin of your gorgeous berries. Fortunately, there is a simple way to kill off the mold spores and bacteria that find your berries as delicious as you do. 

Read More >>

How to Load a Dishwasher: A Definitive Guide

Yes, there is a proper way to load the dishwasher, and anyone who says otherwise might just want to watch the world burn. We take cleaning our dishes seriously, both personally and in the Food52 team kitchen—Amanda even has a  dishwashing ma…

Yes, there is a proper way to load the dishwasher, and anyone who says otherwise might just want to watch the world burn. We take cleaning our dishes seriously, both personally and in the Food52 team kitchen—Amanda even has a  dishwashing manifesto.

First things first, though, here's what should never go in the dishwasher

Read More >>

How to Store an Avocado, So You Don’t End Up With Brown Mush

So, you bought an avocado to make guacamole or a sandwich or ice cream. But, where’s the best place to keep it? And what happens if you have half leftover? Today, we’re going back to the basics on how to store an avocado—from when to keep at room…

So, you bought an avocado to make guacamole or a sandwich or ice cream. But, where's the best place to keep it? And what happens if you have half leftover? Today, we're going back to the basics on how to store an avocado—from when to keep at room temp to how to tell if it's ripe. Let's get started. 

Where is the best place to store an avocado?

Read More >>

How to Cut an Onion (& Why Different Cuts Actually Matter)

There are as many ways to cut an onion as there are to skin a cat. Actually, no, cutting an onion is way simpler than skinning a cat. Below, Nozlee explains if cutting an onion a specific way even matters (it does), why you might choose to cut it into …

There are as many ways to cut an onion as there are to skin a cat. Actually, no, cutting an onion is way simpler than skinning a cat. Below, Nozlee explains if cutting an onion a specific way even matters (it does), why you might choose to cut it into different shapes and sizes (to control its cook rate), and how to do so the right way (“right” as in the way all your fingertips remain intact). 

Read More >>

How to Store Potatoes so They Last for Months (Yes, Months)

They’re not always trendy, but they’re dependable. They’re comforting, versatile, and always crowd-pleasing. No, we’re not talking about a pair of sneakers. We’re talking about potatoes. This root vegetable has a pretty lo…

They’re not always trendy, but they’re dependable. They’re comforting, versatile, and always crowd-pleasing. No, we’re not talking about a pair of sneakers. We’re talking about potatoes. This root vegetable has a pretty long shelf life, and even longer when stored properly. The key is to store potatoes in a cool dry place, like in the cabinet of a pantry, in a paper bag or cardboard box. It’s important to keep potatoes at the cool, ideal temperature (but not, surprisingly, the fridge) to prevent them from turning green, getting soft spots, or pre-maturely sprouting. Once this happens, it’s a sign that they’re past their peak. But we’ll get into all of that ahead a little later. For now, learn about the conditions that cause potatoes to ripen and how to prep them for long term storage.

The Science Behind the Spuds

Though potatoes are certainly, well, cut off upon harvest, they continue to breathe (spooky, right?) and, in a way, live on the shelves of grocery stores and in your home. As oxygen from the environment combines with the sugars in patats, it gets respired from the roots as carbon dioxide and water. Storing potatoes in a cool, dark (but not forgotten) place hugely decelerates this inevitable decomposition, protects against sprouting, and, to some degree, sweetens the tubers.

Read More >>