Other food preparation tips my mother used to teach me as early as when I was still in middle school and which I now remember and follow whenever applicable.
1. Store fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator with temperatures ranging from 0 to 21 degrees Centigrade. If you intend to freeze vegetables or fruits, blanch or fully cook them first. Also, make sure they are bought fresh.
2. Fresh fruits and vegetables must be washed using cold but fast running water. The friction of running water helps reduce bacteria. Fresh produce must never be soaked because nutrients can be lost in the water.
3. For best quality, buy vegetables that's usable within 5 days only. Most veggies do not stay fresh after. When buying packaged produce, store and keep in the refrigerator in their original wrap. This helps maintain quality and freshness. Use pre-cut produce as soon as possible. Quality will not last long once the package is opened. Before using all pre-cleaned and previously trimmed produce, wash again to ensure safety.
4. Whenever possible, try to serve fruits and vegetables fresh, rather than cooked. If need be, cook fruits and vegetables just in time to serve. I always do this no matter, how it seems inconvenient at times.
5. You can cook loosely packed frozen vegetables, such as whole kernel corn without thawing.
6. Prepare vegetables in small batches to prevent overcooking or broken pieces.
7. Use long grain rice if you want loose rice. Use medium and short grain rice if you want sticky rice.
8. Freeze items you do not plan to use within 2 days (1 day for fish) of purchase.
9. Thaw what you need for 1 day only. Thaw all foods in the refrigerator. Remove original wrapper to shorten thawing time. Do not re-freeze thawed food items.
10. Braise and stew less tender cuts of meat. Begin by browning the meat on all sides. Depending on the recipe, simmer slowly in a liquid.
11. Sauté and stir-fry small cut pieces of meat, fish, and vegetables using small amount of oil. Avoid using very high heat.