Flowers; Not Just For Home Decoration

People often see flowers as many things; a beautiful bouquet, a stunning table centre piece, a single romantic rose or as a sign that spring is sprung. The one thing that does not enter any person’s thoughts is of flowers being a food. Everyone knows that herbs and spices, vegetables and fruits are all the product of plants however flowers can make any dish more attractive and unique and will introduce a new flavour. Obviously not all flowers are edible so knowing which are could open a whole new avenue for your restaurant’s menu. Some flowers can be eaten fresh and do not need preparation however others require a little extra care and attention to get the best flavour possible from them. Before you get carried away and munch on the first flower you see there are a few pointers which you must factor into the equation. You must make sure that the flower is organic and has not been exposed to any pesticides or chemicals. Even when you are sure that the flowers you pick are au natural, you must still thoroughly wash them before eating.  There are also some other preparation measures which should be taken to guarantee that you get the best taste possible from your selection of flowers. After washing, you should then remove the pistils and the stamen, these being located in the central part of the flower. These parts will hinder and take away from the taste of the rest of the flower. You should then leave the flower as it is until just before eating to reduce the level of wilt of the petals. When you are ready to garnish your dish or add in the petals to the recipe you can pluck them singularly and introduce them still fresh from the main flower.

So which flowers are edible?

Violets

The petals as well as the leaves are edible and are a great way to add a unique flair to salads or as a garnish. Violets can also be used as an ingredient for flavoured teas and jellies.

Rose hips

Originally found in America, these circular buds have been a fundamental ingredient of the Native American diet. Rose hips contain a high level of vitamin C and can be dried for easy storage. In more modern terms, rose hips can be used to make great flavoured ice cubes.

Agastache

Both the flowers and the leaves are edible, having a fragrant yet delicate taste. Agastache flowers are perfect as an addition to cakes due to the hint of anise flavouring. Alternatively the leaves and the flowers can be mixed in with whipped cream to create a liquorice, creamy taste. As this flower can be considered an herb, pregnant women should always seek the advice of a medical professional before consuming.

Busy Lizzie

These flowers can be found in many different colours and are best used as a garnish for salads or as decoration for drinks.

Begonia

These flowers are brightly coloured in appearance and have a delicate lemon taste. The petals can be used as decoration for salads or sandwiches or are sometimes dipped in complimentary flavoured yoghurt and served as an appetiser. It is important that only the petals from the tuberous begonia flower are used and should only be consumed in moderation. The petals naturally contain oxalic acid and therefore should be steered clear of by those who suffer from kidney stones, rheumatism or gout.

Carnations or Dianthus

Typically the taste is likened to a clove like flavour which is spicy yet floral. These petals can be applied to many uses from the decoration of cakes and as a garnish for soups and salads, to stir fries, ice creams, sorbets and sauces. Generally the petals will feature a white section at the base which should be removed as it tends to have a bitter taste.

Daisy

The small petals should be pulled apart to create colourful garnishes for soups, salads, cakes, mousses and savoury dishes. If you suffer from asthma or hay fever you should avoid these flowers as they may cause an adverse reaction and trigger symptoms.

Cornflower

These flowers have no noticeable fragrance however do have a sweet yet spicy taste. The best way to use these flowers is to mix with other complimenting petals and use as a colourful garnish to salads, pasta dishes or omelettes.

Evening primrose

Although these flowers are colourful they have much the same taste as lettuce so can liven up and compliment any green leaf salad dish.

Fuchsia

The petals of the fuchsia can be used in a variety of ways with maximum effect. The vivid colour and graceful shape make these petals an ideal garnish for salads and can also be crystallised to be inserted into a jelly. It is not only the petals that are edible but also the berries which can be used to make jam. Before adding to a dish the petals should have all of the green and brown sections to ensure that the taste is maximised.

Hibiscus

The petals of the hibiscus flower can be used to make tasty teas or to add a colourful flair to green salads. The whole flower can be used instead of just the petals however you should beware of the pollen which will be present.

Garland Chrysanthemum

The petals of this flower do require some preparation before eating. They give the best taste when lightly fried in vegetable oil before being introduced to stir fries, soups or salads. The flowers do have quite a strong taste so always use sparingly and remember that a little goes a long way. Only the coronarium variety are edible so make sure you know which type you have before serving it to your customers.

Hollyhock

The hollyhock flowers are a great ingredient for subtle syrups to accompany desserts however can also work equally as well as decoration for cakes, mousses or as a salad garnish.

Lavender

Lavender is well known for encouraging a peaceful and relaxing sleep and also for its delightful aroma however can bring a new taste element to certain dishes. When added to vegetable stocks it creates a perfect accompaniment for sauces to pour over duck, chicken or lamb. There is also scope to make a lavender sugar which is delicious when served with biscuits, jams, jellies or sorbets. The oil from the lavender plant can be poisonous when too much is ingested, so only use sparingly in dishes.

Marigold

The typical citrus taste of the marigold petals lends itself perfectly to seafood dishes, sandwiches and salads. Marigolds can become harmful when eaten in large quantities so should only be consumed sparingly and in moderation.

Lilac

Lilac works well when mixed in cream cheese and served with crackers or when stirred together with yoghurt. Lilac can also make a perfect decoration and garnish for cakes, sweets, scones or biscuits.

Pansy

The flowers of the pansy taste similar to lettuce and therefore work well as a colourful addition and a unique twist to a traditional green salad. The petals can also be crystallised to use as attractive decoration for desserts, cookies or cakes.

Rose

Roses are perhaps one of the most popular flowers on the market however are generally to look at and not eat. The general rule of thumb is that if it smells good, it will also taste good. The petals can be used to make jam, as a decoration for chilled drinks and can also be crystallised to make a perfect cake decoration. Some petals may have a white patch at the base which should be removed before adding to a dish as this will hinder and impair the overall flavour.

Sunflower

The seeds of a sunflower are widely eaten already so why not introduce the rest of the flower also. The petals can add a flash of colour to green salads and will introduce a mildly nutty flavour. The green buds are similar in taste to the Jerusalem artichoke and are best served blanched and then tossed in a little garlic butter.

Tulip

The flavour of the petals of the tulip resembles the taste of sweet peas and can be introduced to accompany shrimp, chicken, salads and sandwiches. The bulbs of the tulip should never be eaten. Some people will have a strong allergic reaction to tulips and will break out in a rash or localised numbness. If you are uncertain as to whether guests have an allergy or not, it is best to err on the side of caution and exclude them from the dish.

Yucca

The white flowers of the yucca plant have a hint of artichoke to their taste and provide a crunchy and mildly sweet taste to salads or as a garnish to a dish.

Viola

The petals of the viola give a flash of colour to monotone dishes and provide a unique garnish to desserts or pates.

*Always consult a professional before consuming any flowers!*

Members of the public may have different allergies which they are unaware of, having never tried flowers before therefore adding flowers to your restaurant dishes should be done so with a word of caution to your customers. There are many flowers out there which can add an individual aspect to dishes and can effectively introduce a new dimension to some traditional classics. This information does not mean that you should raid your local garden and eat all flowers in sight; some are not for consuming and can have nasty side effects. Experiment with some of the safer flowers before unleashing your new ideas on your customers and ask for feedback from sample tasters to gauge their opinions and whether the introduction of flowers to your dishes could prove to be beneficial and profitable for your business.

Equip Your Restaurant with the Appropriate Flatware

You have selected the perfect décor and layout to reflect the theme and concept of your restaurant, have researched the correct commercial equipment in depth to ensure that your kitchen runs smoothly and without a hitch, you have put time into developing a tasty and enticing menu and have located a source for the finest and freshest ingredients, you have even planned uniforms and dinnerware that will emit the desired image and show the professionalism with which your business is run however without the right selection of flatware, your whole image that you have built could take a major knock. Just as every other aspect of the restaurant needs to be on point, so should your flatware. If your business is a fast food establishment then disposable cutlery will be sufficient however if you run a fine dining restaurant then the quality of your flatware should be just as high as the dishes that you serve. Don’t be tempted to scrimp on the cost as you don’t want your guests to cut into a sumptuous steak only to find that their cutlery bends and distorts under the pressure. There are many elements to consider when choosing cutlery that is perfect for your restaurant such as, the type of food which you serve e.g. seafood or meats etc. the type of restaurant you are e.g. fast casual or fine dining etc. and the impression you want to give to your guests.

To begin with, before you make any flatware selections you must understand the basics of cutlery and which pieces are available for what purpose.

Knives

Dinner knife; the most recognisable and mainstream type of knife which is a part of the traditional five piece cutlery table setting. Its primary use is to cut regular foods however in the absence of a butter knife can also be used to serve and spread butter or jam. The blade moderately sharp however not excessively so and the tip narrows to dull point.

Butter knife; the blade on this knife has a dull edge and a rounded tip. These features make the butter knife perfect for spreading butter or jam onto soft foods.

Fish knife; is typically smaller in size than other knives with a distinctive spatula blade perfect for eating fish.

Steak knife; these pieces are more sturdy than regular dinner knives with a sharper blade which is usually serrated. Steak knives are designed to make easy work of slicing through prime cuts of meat.

Formal dinner knife; typically used for fine dining and formal occasions, the quality is a lot higher. These knives are nearly a third larger in size and almost a third heavier than the average dinner knife and are typically more expensive to purchase.

Forks

Dinner fork; this item is a multi functional piece that can be used for a variety of uses. Some restaurants will utilise this piece for fish dishes, salads, meaty dinners and desserts however its primary use should be for main courses solely. Dinner forks are one of the items included in a traditional five piece table setting.

Salad fork; this is smaller in size than a dinner fork and more delicate. It is used for eating not only salad but also sliced fruits.

Fish fork; although this fork is similar in size to a salad fork it only has three tines, much like a trident. This makes separating fish meat from the bone easier.

Dessert fork; although closely resembling a salad fork, the structure is even more delicate. No extra weight or durability is required as it is typically used to break through soft, crumbling cakes and desserts.

Cocktail fork; a piece that is included in the standard five piece table setting, it is used to eat small appetisers. It features only three tines, similar to a fish fork.

Formal dinner fork; the heavier weight and increased size when compared with the average dinner fork make it the perfect pairing for the formal dinner knife. It is typically used for fine dining and more formal events hence the higher purchase price.

Spoons

Teaspoon; a multifunctional piece that, despite its name can be used for soups, cereals and desserts as well as the obvious stirring of tea and coffee beverages. This item is a part of the traditional five piece table setting.

Soup spoon; the bowl of the spoon is generally wider and deeper with an oval shape designed to hold more liquid. This spoon is a larger form of the teaspoon.

Bouillon spoon; is another type of soup spoon which is typically smaller and with a shallower bowl. The shape is rounder than other soup spoons.

Dessert spoon; the bowl is wider and deeper to enable the user to hold more liquid and solid food together.

Tablespoon; this item is generally used for service of vegetables from communal bowls set in the middle of the table. Resembling a teaspoon, a tablespoon is much larger in size.

Demitasse spoon; closely related to the teaspoon, however has a longer handle designed as such to enable stirring of hot drinks served in small quantities such as espressos etc.

Now you know the basic cutlery items you must be aware of the difference between shopping for 18/10 or 18/0 grade stainless steel. You may wonder what these numbers mean but it is quite simple to understand. Basically these numbers represent the percentages of chromium and nickel content that is present in the stainless steel. Each of these elements has its own benefits when used in cutlery. Chromium is a hard metallic substance that improves the durability and strength of the cutlery and nickel is a silvery metallic element that helps to resist the process of corrosion. Stainless steel cutlery that is labelled 18/10 has 18% chromium and 10% nickel content, alternatively 18/0 graded flatware has 18% chromium content with a zero nickel element. Both grades have their own advantages but how do you decide which is best for your restaurant? Weigh up the facts regarding each and then the final decision will be an entirely personal decision.

18/10 vs. 18/0

18/10 graded cutlery

  • Rust resistant
  • High durability
  • Easy maintenance
  • Bright and glistening lustre finish

18/0 graded cutlery

  • Economical alternative
  • Can become stained
  • Softer shine

Once you know which grade of cutlery is best suited for your requirements you will need to select which style will best reflect the core principles and themes of your restaurant.  Although the ultimate choice will be personal there are certain guides which may prove a source for consideration.

  1. Style; the taste and surroundings of your restaurant will determine the style of flatware which you choose. Flamboyance will not suit a no frills restaurant just as a plain design will look cheap and out of place in a fine dining establishment. Consider the type of guests which you receive and that you regularly attract and aim to reflect their general tastes. Consider either a traditional or modern design, rounded or flat handles, decorative elements or plain metal and the type of finish, whether brushed or a polished metal.
  2. Durability and price; visual aesthetics are only one element of commercial flatware. Purchasing fancy and eye catching cutlery would be pointless if it will need replacing every month or so. The quality of the manufacture should be acknowledged to guarantee the durability and longevity of the pieces. Stainless steel is a popular choice as it has strength paired with economical price tags. When properly maintained and cared for stainless steel flatware can remain at a high standard through many years of use. Choosing between 18/10 and 18/0 will determine the items resistance to rust and the level of lustre which can be expected from the product.
  3. Balance and weight; the perfect flatware should have a comfortable and balanced feel when held. The heavier the cutlery the more expensive it will seem and the more durable it should be. The formal style flatware is typically larger and heavier than average pieces and therefore more expensive hence mainly used in high priced fine dining restaurants. If you want a more economical choice then medium weighted items will be more affordable although a little flimsier than heavy weight alternatives.
  4. Match wisely; it is recommended to lay any potential flatware choices out with your existing dinnerware in order to make sure that they are a perfect match before making any purchases. Although some cutlery may seem like the ideal choice when viewing the pieces singularly once they are teamed with your dinnerware you may find that the styles are contrasting and are contradictory to each other.

Once you have found the perfect pieces; the right design and style, the correct weight and balance, the perfect metal grade and the ideal match for your dinnerware, you must understand how to use these items to maximum effect. Laying a table correctly can be a simple task for a fast casual restaurant, typically needing a dinner knife, a dinner fork and a dessert spoon; any other extra pieces such as steak knives, will be given as and when needed, however setting a table in a fine dining restaurant can be a little trickier and lot more confusing. If you own a fine dining business your customers will be expecting the upmost in quality and a full, decadent dining experience including a properly laid table with all pieces in the correct place.

Examples of basic and full table settings

Restaurant table setting

Flatware you should have to place;

  • Butter knife
  • Salad fork
  • Dinner fork
  • Soup spoon
  • Teaspoon

Correct positioning;

Begin by placing the plate in the centre of the setting laid on a charger plate. A soup bowl can be placed on top of the dinner plate. In the upper right corner of the dinnerware should sit a water glass, a white wine glass and a red wine glass. To the upper left corner should sit a small bread plate, the butter knife can be laid on the top. The forks should be placed on the left hand side of the plate starting from the inside and working out, dinner fork, fish fork and then salad fork. The knife and spoons should be placed to the right of the plate starting from the inside and working out, dinner knife, soup spoon and then teaspoon. The napkin should be placed to the left of the forks.

Formal table setting

Flatware you should have to place;

  • Butter knife
  • Formal dinner fork
  • Formal dinner knife
  • Fish fork
  • Fish knife
  • Soup spoon
  • Teaspoon
  • Dessert spoon
  • Dessert fork

Correct positioning;

Begin with a salad plate placed in the centre of the setting placed on a charger plate. The bread plate should be located to the upper left corner with the bread knife laid on top. To the upper right corner should sit a water glass, a red wine glass, a white wine glass and a champagne flute. Directly above the salad plate you should lay a dessert spoon topmost with a dessert fork placed underneath, nearest to the top of the plate. The forks should sit to the left hand side of the plate working from the inside out, formal dinner fork, fish fork and salad fork. To the right side of the plate working from the inside out you should place, formal dinner knife, fish knife, soup spoon and teaspoon. The napkin should be folded neatly and placed delicately on the salad plate.

Many high class restaurants will insist on a fixed measurement between flatware and dinnerware items that create a perfectly uniformed appearance and highlights the attention to detail regarding all aspects of the restaurant.

If you own a specialised fish restaurant you will find that you will have no need for certain flatware items, notably the steak knife. Instead you may need extra pieces that will provide the perfect tools for your guests to get into those tough and tricky shelled delicacies. You may need to include a lobster cracker and a lobster pick designed especially for breaking through those hard shells and for digging into tiny crevices to gain access to the meat.

By understanding the basics of flatware you can select a perfect accompaniment to your already eloquently put together restaurant. These pieces may seem like simple eating tools however getting it right and making the perfect choices will distinguish your restaurant from the rest of the catering crowd.

Learn How to Put the Icing on the Cake for Your Business

Baking, whether in a professional or domestic environment, comes with much pressure to achieve the best results possible. The level of skill required to make baked goods is remarkably high and the understanding of the ingredients needed to guarantee perfect results is great. When you have put time and incredible effort into creating the perfect baked products you need to be able to guarantee that adding the right finishing touches enhances your finished item and does not ruin the hard work that you have put in. You may be baking cupcakes, cookies, pastries or multi layered cakes but the one thing that adds the perfect final details are icings and shiny glazes. Being able to mix quality icing will have an effect on the end result; make sure that this effect is positive rather than ruining the overall product.

Putting the same amount of effort and work into the icing is just as important as the level of attention you give to the base product. There are a great deal of ways to make icing and each baker will adopt their own individual and personal recipes and methods. Understanding the main varieties of icing, their ingredients and their characteristics along with basic storing instructions and required tools to create the optimum effects will aid you in mastering the techniques to guarantee that you can most definitely put the icing on the cake.

Type of icing; buttercream icing

Flavour; the typical sweet and buttery taste means that this icing is extremely popular

Texture; smooth and buttery and easy to spread

Colour; typically a soft white however dyes can be added to create a range of colours

Use; normally used for decorating cakes

Main ingredients; butter, vanilla, milk, powered sugar and shortening

Storage; keep in an airtight container in refrigerated conditions for up to 2 weeks

Required tools; decorating combs, pastry bags and tips and icing spatulas

 

Type of icing; whipped cream icing

Flavour; rich with a cream like taste

Texture; smooth, soft, delicate and airy

Colour; only used for mainly pastel colours

Use; ideal for use as a topping layer, an icing border or as a filling between layers

Main ingredients; whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla

Storage; should be smoothed onto the cake immediately after making. The cake can be stored in the refrigerator for a maximum of 2 days in an airtight container

Required tools; icing spatulas and pastry bags and tips

 

Type of icing; royal icing

Flavour; typically very sweet

Texture; once dried it is thin and stiff

Colour; naturally white but can be dyed to create a range of colours

Use; ideal for making flowers, piping, creating figures and adding decoration to gingerbread houses and gingerbread men

Main ingredients; egg whites, lemon juice and powdered sugar. Sometimes water and meringue powder can be substituted for the lemon juice and egg whites

Storage; ideally needs to be used immediately however can be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated to maintain the pliability and softness

Required tools; pastry bags and tips

 

Type of icing; rolled fondant icing

Flavour; is sometimes considered bland and is not overly sweet

Texture; smooth, pliable and dough like

Colour; can be purchased in a variety of colours or can be dyed during the making procedure

Use; modelling decorations and as cake coverings

Main ingredients; powdered sugar, vanilla, gelatine, glycerine and glucose syrup

Storage; place in an airtight container and keep in refrigerated storage for up to 2 months

Required tools; fondant rollers, fondant smoothers, decorating combs, icing spatulas, sculpting tools, dough and pastry wheels and fondant impression mats

 

Type of icing; cream cheese icing

Flavour; rich with a sweet and buttery taste

Texture; thick and heavy yet smooth

Colour; typically has a cream/ivory appearance although bright colours can be achieved by adding dye

Use iced topping for cakes and breads, especially suitable for muffins, cupcakes and carrot cakes

Main ingredients; cream cheese, butter, vanilla extract and powdered sugar

Storage; keep refrigerated and in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks

Required tools; decorating combs, pastry bags and tips and icing spatulas

 

Type of icing; fudge icing

Flavour; a rich taste usually chocolate

Texture; thick and creamy

Colour; typically dark brown

Use; perfect for brownies and cookies or as a top layer of icing on cakes

Main ingredients; powdered sugar, vanilla, butter, milk and cocoa

Storage; keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week

Required tools; decorating combs, icing spatulas and pastry bags and tips

 

Type of icing; glaze/flat icing

Flavour; very sweet

Texture; usually smooth although can sometimes be grainy and when dried is firm and flat

Colour; easily dyed to create bright colours

Use; perfect for creating a shiny glaze like icing for cookies and pastries

Main ingredients; powdered sugar and water or an alternative substitute liquid

Storage; if not being used straight away it should be covered immediately and stored for a maximum of 2 days. Failure to cover the icing sufficiently will result in it beginning to harden

Required tools; icing spatulas, decorating combs and pastry bags and tips

 

Type of icing; ganache icing

Flavour; has a rich chocolate taste

Texture; creamy and thick; can be stiff or fluffy

Colour; chocolate brown

Use; as a glaze on cookies and cakes. Can also be used as a filling layer in multi layer cakes when beaten until it has a fluffy consistency. It can also be used to fashion delicate decorative truffles

Main ingredients; heavy cream or whipping cream and cocoa powder

Storage; can be kept chilled for up to 1 week

Required tools; dough and pastry wheels, fondant impression mats, fondant rollers, icing spatulas and decorating combs

 

Type of icing; boiled/ cooked icing

Flavour; the most popular tastes are lemon or chocolate however other flavours can be added dependant on personal preference

Texture; a delicate meringue that has a gelatine like mixture

Colour; is dependent on the added flavouring, for example chocolate will give a brown appearance whilst strawberry will add a tone of pink/red

Use; ideal for layered cakes or pies; a meringue forms as the mixture cools and sets

Main ingredients; sugar, flavouring of your own personal choice and egg whites

Storage; ideally should be eaten immediately after preparation however when necessary can be stored chilled in an airtight container for up to 2 days

Required tools; pastry bags and tips, icing spatulas and decorating combs

By understanding the different varieties of icing, their characteristics and their properties, professional and domestic bakers can ensure that the finishing touches to their baked goods are as delicious as the rest of the product.

Blanching Commonly Used Vegetables – Quick Guide

Your quick guide to maintaining optimum freshness and preparing ingredients for storage.

Asparagus

  • Wash the spears in cold water and trim stems
  • Separate thick and thin spears
  • Cut each group of spears to a uniform length
  • Blanch the thin spears for 2 minutes
  • Blanch the thick spears for 4 minutes
  • Plunge each batch into ice water for 1 minute
  • Dry off and pack in air-tight food storage containers or in vacuum sealed bundles
  • Store for 10 to 12 months

Broccoli

  • Remove leaves and woody sections
  • Wash in cold salty water
  • Chop the head into manageable pieces
  • Blanch small sections for 3 minutes and large bunches for 5 minutes
  • Plunge each batch into ice water for 1 minute
  • Dry off and pack into an air-tight food storage containers or vacuum sealed bunches
  • Store for 12 to 18 months

Brussels Sprouts

  •  Remove leaves and wash sprouts in cold water
  • Separate small, medium and large sprouts from each other
  • Blanch small sprouts for 3 minutes
  • Blanch medium sprouts for 4 minutes
  • Blanch large sprouts for 5 minutes.
  • Plunge each batch into ice water for 1 minute
  • Dry off and pack into an air-tight container or vacuum sealed package
  • Store for 12 to 18 months

Cabbage 

  • Wash cabbage under cold water
  • Shred cabbage leaves
  • Blanch for 2 minutes
  • Plunge into ice water for 1 minute
  • Package in air-tight food storage bags or vacuum sealed packages
  • Store for 12 to 18 months

Bell Peppers 

  • Wash the peppers under cold water
  • Cut off the stems and trim off the inner white membrane and remove all seeds
  • Chop the pepper into halves or slices
  • Blanch the pepper slices for 2 minutes
  • Blanch halves for 3 minutes
  • Plunge each batch into ice water for 1 minute
  • Place peppers on baking sheet lined with parchment paper
  • Put baking sheet into freezer for 2 hours
  • Remove peppers from the freezer and place into an air tight container or vacuum sealed package
  • Store for 10 to 12 month

Cauliflower 

  • Remove leaves and wash under cold water
  • Chop or break apart the florets into small sizes
  • Blanch for 3 minutes
  • Plunge into ice water for 1 minute
  • Dry off and pack into air-tight storage containers or vacuum sealed packages
  • Store for 6 months

 Green Beans

  • Wash under cold water
  • Trip the ends
  • Blanch for 3 minutes
  • Plunge into ice water for 1 minute
  • Dry off
  • Pack into airtight food storage containers, freezer bags or vacuum sealed packages
  • Store for 12 to 18 months

Carrots 

  • Chop off the tops of the carrots
  • Wash carrots with cold water and peel first layer away
  • Chop large carrots down to 2 inch pieces, cubes or slice into strips
  • Blanch small cubes and strips for 2 minutes
  • Blanch 2 inch pieces or whole baby carrots for 5 minutes
  • Plunge into ice water for 1 minute
  • Dry off the carrots
  • Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and spread carrots out onto the pan
  • Place into freezer for 1 to 2 hours or until carrots are frozen solid
  • Scoop carrots and place into an air-tight container, bag or vacuum sealed package
  • Store for 12 to 18 months

Mushrooms 

There are two ways to store mushrooms: Saute or Steam

  • Saute
  • Wipe mushrooms clean with a damp paper towel
  • Slice bigger mushrooms into small halves and leave small mushrooms fully intact
  • Saute in butter
  • Allow time to cool and pack in airtight containers, freezer bags or vacuum sealed packages
  • Store for 3 months
  • Steam
  • Wipe mushrooms clean with a damp paper towel
  • Steam sliced mushrooms for 3 minutes and whole mushrooms for 5 minutes
  • Allow mushrooms to cool off and pack them into air-tight containers with a little room left at the top
  • Store for 10 to 12 months

Peas 

  • Wash pods under cold water and shell peas
  • Blanch peas for 1 minute
  • Plunge into ice water for 1 minute
  • Dry off and pack into freezer bags or vacuum sealed packages
  • Store for 12 to 18 months

Boosting Profits With Potatoes

Brits love potatoes in all shapes and forms and with so many methods of preparation available they are a great way to mix up menus and inject a fresh spark, adding new appeal and keeping customers interested. Great as an accompaniment to a meal, as a snack or as a side dish, the versatility afforded by these humble tubers is understandably one of the main profit makers for many businesses. Easy to adapt and compatible with the majority of foods, potatoes are the ideal way to follow trends and add value to simple dishes.

Rather than standard chips, mash, jackets or roasts (although still firm favourites) try making small adaptions to introduce a whole new aspect of flavour and texture while keeping costs down. Add a twist to classic formats with herbs, spices, bacon bits, onion or even honey or perhaps try new styles such as a chilli rosti or a potato scallop with ham to bring a new dimension to your menu.

One of the most time consuming tasks in any commercial kitchen is preparing potatoes and regardless of the level of potential profit to be made, it is still a monotonous chore that will always evoke a groan and an eye roll. To maximise efficiency, reduce waste from over eager peelings and bring a sigh of relief from all kitchen staff there is a simple way to take the manual labour out of potato preparation. While not the most exciting of kitchen equipment, investing in an appropriate peeler to maximise potato output ensures you will always be able to satisfy your guest’s potato demands.

We recommend the Lincat LPP250H Upright Potato Peeler. With a simple robust design and extra height to create a comfortable working level, this is the ideal choice for medium to large scale operations. Featuring an integral timer and space saving basket, this piece will slot neatly into existing layouts and quickly become integral to streamlined food preparation areas. To give extra peace of mind the corrosion proof reversible liners and peeling plate mean that your equipment will perform consistently time and time again.

Offering something a little different to plain potato styles will keep guests coming back for more and create a great way to continuously boost profits.