How to Cook

How to make homemade tomato sauce

Why buy jarred or canned tomato sauce when you can make your own with fresh Savor tomatoes and herbs straight from your garden? Yes, it’s slightly time consuming, but if you plan ahead you can prepare a large batch and save the extra. What’s better than warm, savory, garden-fresh tomato sauce in the middle of a harsh, cold winter?

There are plenty of tomato sauce recipes out there, but the most important thing to remember is tomato variety. When chopped and boiled down, you want to choose a tomato that doesn’t yield high water content, rather more of a pulp. Savor San Marzano, Plum Health Kick, and Granadero plum red tomatoes are the way to go. Not only will these tomatoes yield more sauce per pound but they all offer the thick, aromatic, and flavorful pulp your sauce is calling for.

To start, blanch your tomatoes in boiling water for 30 seconds and then place into an ice bath. This will help the skin peel from the tomato much easier. Once your tomatoes are peeled and the stems are removed, chop the tomatoes and place into a pot with optional sautéed onions and garlic. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and let your mixture cook until it’s the consistency you’re looking for (anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes). As it cooks, adding spices like That’s Italian Basil and Pasta Perfect Oregano will keep your taste buds asking for more.

How to chiffonade basil and other fresh herbs

Ever wonder how chefs create such aesthetically pleasing garnishes for your favorite dishes? One knife technique, called chiffonade, has been used in French cuisine for centuries and translates to little ribbons, which is exactly what the herbs resemble after mastering this method. Chiffonade is a great technique, but not suitable for all herbs. That’s Italian Basil, Pasta Perfect Parsley, Chocolate Ganache Mint, and other Savor herbs with consistent shaped leaves respond well to chiffonade. Irregular herbs with small leaves aren’t ideal candidates.

After washing and drying your herbs, stack a handful of leaves on top of one another, using the largest leaf as the base. Gently, but tightly, roll the leaves together lengthwise resembling a cigar and hold in place with one hand. With your other hand, carefully slice across the leaf roll with a very sharp knife. Adjusting the width of your cuts will ultimately affect how thin or thick your ribbons will be. Once the entire leaf roll has been cut, fluff the herbs with your fingers and admire the gorgeous herb ribbons ready to accent your favorite dish!

Herbs aren’t the only edibles you can chiffonade. This skill can also be used on Savor vegetables like Salanova® Lettuce varieties, which all have consistent, large leaves perfect to chiffonade. Tacos and burgers topped with lettuce resembling small ribbons not only look great but are a lot more fun to eat. Mastering this knife technique will bring your dishes from boring to beautiful in no time!

How to pickle vegetables

For pickle fans, there isn’t much that can top biting into a fresh, crisp, savory pickle spear with the perfect hint of salt, vinegar, and overall pickle goodness. Is your mouth watering yet? By the time you master pickling your own cucumbers you won’t be able to stop yourself from eating them straight from the jar or putting them onto a freshly grilled burger. The possibilities are endless.

Start with a pickling cucumber like Savor Fancipak, Patio Snacker, or Bush Crop. Wash and chop them into whatever shape you enjoy your pickles in – discs, spears, or slices. Place the cucumbers into a glass jar and add the flavors that excite your taste buds the most. Perfect accompaniments include Pickle Me Dill, Jalapeno Pepper, and My Fair Fennel. Next add white distilled vinegar, cover, and shake well to blend your ingredients. Keep on your counter for 24 hours, flipping the jar upside down halfway through to let the flavors naturally combine. Pop into your fridge and enjoy fresh, delicious pickles all month (if they last that long!)

Don’t let your pickling adventures stop at cucumbers. This same process can be used to pickle other vegetables like Peppers like Lady Bell, Purple Beauty, and Revolution, as well as Amazing Cauliflower and Churchhill Brussels Sprouts. Pickled vegetables are wonderful made into relishes, added to recipes, or enjoyed straight out of the jar. When it comes to pickling vegetables, the only limitation is your imagination.

How to freeze garden liquids

Ever need a half of a cup of white wine for a recipe and wonder what to do with the rest of the bottle? Instead of feeling obligated to use it in other ways, consider freezing it. By placing the unused wine in small containers, or an ice cube tray, you’ll be able to save time (and a trip to the store) the next time you need a small amount for a recipe.

This same concept works with other liquids like broths and stocks. By pre-measuring in amounts recipes you make typically call for, the next time you need half a cup of wine simply reach for your freezer. Be sure you label the amount of liquid per container to avoid having to re-measure the next time around.

Liquids aren’t the only things you can freeze this way. If your favorite recipe calls for one tablespoon of tomato paste, but the smallest can you can find in the store is eight ounces, freeze the rest. Measure out one tablespoon of tomato paste, place in an ice cube tray, and freeze. The next time you’re craving your favorite meal, your one tablespoon of tomato paste is waiting for you. Save time and eliminate waste.

How to blanch vegetables

Blanching simply refers to putting a piece of vegetable or fruit into boiling water for a short period of time and then quickly cooling it down. Blanching is done for numerous reasons: to soften vegetables while maintaining their color (enhancing hues of green like in green beans), to make peeling skin eas-ier (think tomatoes and peaches), and to partially cook items before adding them to a recipe.

Don’t mistake this convenient technique for par-boiling. Although both involve rapid boiling water, shocking the fruit or vegetable in an ice bath to halt the cooking process is exclusive to blanching. This system isn’t only for fruits and vegetables – it comes in handy when preparing homemade stocks. Blanching the bones before using in a recipe clears impurities that can cause your stocks to become cloudy.

The method is easy: place your ingredients into boiling water for 30 seconds to two minutes, remove, and immediately place into a bowl of ice water. You’re the ready to use in whatever recipe you choose.

How to cook spaghetti squash

Spaghetti squash is a great for those seeking a healthier, grain-free “pasta” option. It’s a winter squash that unlike its close relatives doesn’t get smooth when cooked. Quite the opposite. Spaghetti squash actually looks just like spaghetti – strands and all.

Start by determining how you’re going to cook your spaghetti squash – whole or halved. If cooking whole, poke the entire squash with holes using a fork or metal skewer so it doesn’t explode. If cooking halved, cut the stem off, cut the squash lengthwise in half, and scrape out the seeds and connecting strands. Cook at 375° for 60 to 90 minutes for whole squash or 45 to 60 minutes for halved.

If you cooked the spaghetti squash halved, your final step is using a fork to remove the pulp in strands. If it was cooked whole, you’ll need to cut off the stem, cut the squash in half lengthwise, scrape out the seeds and connecting strands, and finally remove the pulp with a fork. Both cooking methods will leave you with a heaping bowl of hot, fresh spaghetti squash. Top with your favorite spices or sauce and you’re ready to eat!

How to make zucchini spaghetti noodles

Making zucchini noodles isn’t as involved as it sounds, nor does it require the use of some fancy kitchen gadget like a mandolin or spiralizer. Have a basic box grater, vegetable peeler, or sharp knife? You’re in business and on your way to deliciously healthy zucchini spaghetti noodles.

Your first step is cutting the zucchini into thin strips, or noodles. If you’re using a box grater, lay it on its side with the thickest grater facing up, and run the zucchini along in long strokes to create the noodles. If you’re using a vegetable peeler or knife, simply peel or cut into strips.

The hardest part is deciding whether to eat your zucchini noodles raw or cook them. If you choose to consume them raw, dress them with your favorite flavors and enjoy! Cooking them can be done by boiling them in hot water for no more than two minutes or sautéing for six to seven minutes in a small amount of oil. No matter how you choose to prepare your zucchini noodles, it’s a sure fire way to en-joy the summer flavor all year long.

How to cook with fresh herbs

Do you love the flavor burst that makes your taste buds come alive when you add herbs to your culinary masterpieces? Imagine that experience, but kicked up a few notches. So many people miss out on boundless levels of taste that they didn’t even know existed – all because they cook with dried herbs purchased from their local grocery store. Want to know the secret to the truly epic taste bud experience? Fresh herbs like Savor’s Mediterranean Greek™ Oregano and Baked Potato™ Chives – straight from your very own garden. It’s as simple as that.

Don’t let the vast array of herb varieties in existence today intimidate you. Instead, harness those incredible possibilities and use them to your advantage when creating your culinary adventures. Ever hear of the saying, the more the merrier? This completely applies to growing your own herbs. Don’t box yourself into the corner by only growing one or two varieties. While herbs like Tea Time™ Chamomile and Sweetleaf™ Stevia aren’t as common as Pasta Perfect™ Parsley, you can’t go wrong with growing them all! Just think back to your favorite recipes and those you’ve been dying to try out. Whatever herbs are called for, try your hand at growing them. When you add those fresh herbs to your recipes, the taste difference will knock your socks off.

The biggest trick when cooking with fresh herbs is to know how they cook. Some varieties like oregano, rosemary, and thyme can hold their flavor longer and last when adding them to a recipe with 20 minutes or so left in the cooking process. Other more delicate herbs like basil, mint, and parsley do best when added a minute or two before serving. It also helps to know what parts of the herbs are best for cooking. Most recipes will call for a specific part of the plant – leaves, stem, or both – if you don’t use it all don’t be afraid to keep the remaining part of the plant for another use. Simply put – when it comes to cooking with fresh herbs, let your imagination lead the way!

How to cook with fresh vegetables

Biting into a clean, crisp slice of Lady Bell Pepper or Fancipak Cucumber does wondrous things to the taste buds. However, just because a vegetable isn’t eaten raw, doesn’t mean it has to lose its robust flavors. Cooking with fresh vegetables is a wonderful opportunity to add something healthy yet equally as delicious to your plate. Better than that is using vegetables from your very own garden in all of your recipes. What’s better than conveniently fresh vegetables?

From Fairy Tale Eggplant to Aristocrat Zucchini – the varieties of Savor vegetables available will appeal to every palate. But variety isn’t only found in the vegetables in your garden – the manner in which you cook your fresh vegetables varies widely. From boiled to baked and steamed to grilled, the possibilities are endless when cooking with fresh vegetables. All vegetables handle cooking methods differently, so following recipe recommendations is wise. However, if you’re feeling a bit on the adventurous side, try your hand at the trial and error method – you’re bound to come across some pretty amazing and tasty results.

Once you swap your grocery store vegetables with fresh homegrown Savor varieties, the difference will be undeniable. The scent, texture, and taste of fresh vegetables from your garden can’t and won’t be matched. Planting a bountiful assortment of vegetables in your garden is the best way to ensure the variety your recipes call for. Try a unique twist on the classics with Savor vegetables like Rotonda Bianca Eggplant, Fish Hot Heirloom Peppers, and Green Zebra Tomatoes. Moral of the story, break out of the norm and into an adventurous, vegetable cooking enthusiast.

How to cook with basil

When you think of herbs used in Italian cuisine, odds are that basil is one of the first to come to mind. But did you know that various types of Savor basil complement Asian cuisine just as well? Most common basil is relatively sweet in nature, but basil like Stir Fry Thai™ is slightly spicy with a clove like flavor – perfect for Thai beef and basil stir fry, noodle soups, and other Asian delicacies. The unique lemon hints found in Mrs. Burns’ Lemon™ Basil is another common type used in Asian cuisine. The mild flavors of the fresh leaves pair well with shrimp, fish, or duck, but are robust enough to hold up well when added to dishes with a little more kick like curry.

Although the Asian varieties of basil are an exciting way to integrate Asian cuisine into your kitchen repertoire, cooking with more Italian inspired basil like Savor’s That’s Italian™ and Pesto Perpetuo™ can be equally as adventurous. Doesn’t the idea of adding your own personal twist to a secret family recipe using the exclusive flavors of Savor basil sound even a tad bit enticing? If so, cooking with garden fresh Savor basil is a sure fire way to have your name etched into your family’s recipe books for decades to come.

Cooking with fresh basil gives foods that much-needed boost compared to cooking with dried basil from your local grocery store. Basil in general is a delicate herb, one that loses the majority of its flavor easily. For the biggest punch to your taste buds, fresh basil is best used when added to cooked food at the very end. Any exposure to heat for an extended period of time causes the basil to release its oils, losing most of its unique and undeniable flavor. Regardless of whether you mince your basil or use the leaves whole, by utilizing fresh basil straight from your home garden, you’re upping the ante for quality, mouth-watering cuisines your family will rave about.

How to cook with mint

Fresh mint might be as versatile as they come. Versatile? Very. Start by ignoring everything you’ve come to know about mint. Erase the immediate thoughts of chewing gum, toothpaste, and breath mints. Open your mind and taste buds to the idea of adding fresh mint to boiling water when steaming vegetables, mixing it into yogurt to make a cool and refreshing summer dip for Savor’s Marketmore 86 Cucumbers, or combining it with feta and chickpeas for a roasted chickpea salad. The recipes are about as versatile as the herb when it comes to using Savor fresh mint in your kitchen.

Mint isn’t just for garnish anymore. Due to its equally delicious ability to be eaten raw or cooked, mint has graduated to being utilized in some pretty amazing culinary masterpieces. From drinks to appetizers and main dishes to desserts, mint is an ingredient that plays well with so many other flavors, hence its growing popularity. The herb name mint covers so many different flavors and aromas – apple, chocolate, citrus, peppermint, and spearmint to name a few. It’s clear to see why novice and professional chefs, bakers, and mixologists alike rely on the fresh robust flavors and aromas of mint in their works of art.

Entertaining guests in the near future? Consider the exciting challenge of using various types of mint as a staple ingredient in every step of your culinary adventure. Upon arrival, entice your guests with some adult beverages using freshly chopped Mojito Cocktail™ or Appletini™ Mint. Add fresh Zesty Orange™ Mint to salads to give it a refreshing citrus pop. For a side dish, try pairing Savor’s Homeslice Tomatoes with Kentucky Colonel™ Mint to whip up an incredible tomato mint quinoa that pairs beautifully with seasoned lamb chops. Utilizing Twist of Peppermint™, finish off your night with a peppermint chocolate cheesecake – a sure fire way to ensure your guests leave with their stomachs full and looking forward to the next feast at your place.

How to cook with eggplant

Not many vegetables can replace meat in recipes – they either lack the right texture, the right flavor, or miss the mark completely. Eggplant checks off all the right boxes with its meaty, creamy, and robust flavors and textures, making it a perfect stand-in when looking to omit meat from a recipe or your diet completely. Eggplant is also extremely versatile in the way it can be prepared and cooked, making it an even better health conscious choice. Don’t have time to peel skin from your vegetables? No problem. With eggplant the skin is a delicious addition to any recipe, making it completely ok to keep on.

When most people think of an eggplant, they imagine dark purple, globe-like vegetables like Savor’s Classic Eggplant. However, from classic to Oriental and heirloom to mini, eggplants can come in many different shapes, colors, and sizes – all of which can slightly affect the taste. For this reason recipes will call for a specific variety of eggplant and following that recommendation will guarantee your success in the kitchen. When prepping your eggplant to cook, there’s a lot of personal preference involved. You can choose to peel it, salt it to reduce some of the bitterness, and cut it in dozens of different ways. It can be boiled, roasted, grilled, fried, and sautéed, all depending on what your recipe – and preference – call for.

Looking for a few ideas on great recipes and which Savor eggplant to use in it? Look no further. Mini eggplants like Fairy Tale, Gretel, and Hansel are all perfect options for mouthwatering mini eggplant pizzas – just use slices of them as you would a crust. Craving a meal more culturally diverse? Use chopped Orient Express Eggplant to make spicy Asian eggplant and tofu bowls. Rotonda Bianca, an Italian Heirloom Eggplant is perfect for the grill – just slice and add a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. Simplistically delicious. Longing for the well known and loved eggplant parmesan? Savor’s Classic Eggplant is a match made in heaven for this dish. Regardless of the variety, eggplant is the perfect addition to any dish with its hearty and delicious flavors.

How to cook with bell peppers

Looking to add a tasty color of pop to your dishes? Look no further than the bell pepper – a cool, sweet multipurpose vegetable that’s as equally satisfying raw as it is cooked. The beloved bell pepper goes beyond the traditional hues of green with a variety of different colors spanning most of the color spectrum. Even green peppers vary in color, which is shown by the gorgeous shades of Savor’s Declaration, Lady Bell, and Revolution Green Bell Peppers. Mix and matching your bell peppers is a fun and easy way of utilizing the various sweetness levels that each color vegetable brings to a recipe. After all, what’s more exciting than recreating the gorgeous hues of a post rainstorm summer sky on your plate?

Regardless of the color, bell peppers can be prepared and cooked in the same manner. Washing, de-stemming, eliminating the ribs, and removing the seeds are all standard practice when preparing your bell peppers to be eaten raw or cooked. Depending on the recipe and method you choose to cook the peppers will dictate whether you leave the pepper whole or cut it. Stuffed peppers is the most common recipe that calls for leaving your pepper whole and the varying sweetness levels of bell peppers pair harmoniously with the fillings of beef, chicken, and spices.

Savor bell peppers react beautifully when placed in the oven on a high broiler setting for about 20 minutes – also known as roasting. Charring Sandpiper Yellow Bell Peppers on the grill on medium heat is another way to bring out the sweet flavors and aromas the vegetable is known for. Using skewers comes in handy with this method, regardless of whether the pepper is grilled whole or cut for meals like shish kabob. When preparing a stir-fry, try sautéing your Red and Purple Beauty Bell Peppers. This method allows you to customize how tender you want your peppers to be and is the ideal environment to add amazing spices to give your masterpiece that extra pizazz. Regardless of the method, be bold with your pepper color choices – you won’t regret it.

How to cook with hot peppers

Are you the adventurous type that finds thrill in testing the limits of how much heat your taste buds can handle? Whether you’re a the hotter the better kind of person, a little bit of kick, or somewhere between the two, cooking with Savor hot peppers is a sure fire way to bring some heat to your kitchen. Finding the right hot pepper for your recipe – and taste buds – is the first step in cooking with this unique vegetable.

One of the hottest peppers is Savor’s Habanero, which makes an incredible addition to salsas and homemade hot sauces. A little goes a long way, so the bounty you collected from your home garden will last well into the future. Hot Rod serrano pepper, although milder than Habanero, is still high on the list of hottest peppers and is best consumed raw. For those looking for some heat, but not ones that will force them to consume a gallon of milk or loaf of bread after eating, Cayenne, Jalapeno, and Tiburon Pablano Peppers are excellent choices.

Regardless of the level of heat you choose to bring to your recipes, remembering these tips will come in handy when prepping and cooking Savor hot peppers. The oils of hot peppers can stay on your skin for quite a while, even after you wash with soap and water. To avoid accidentally rubbing your eyes and causing irritation to your skin, try wearing gloves when cutting your peppers. Also remember to test the heat on your tongue before adding any to a recipe. This will ensure you don’t initially add too much heat – once it’s there it can’t be taken out. Also take note that adding more than just the flesh of the hot pepper, specifically the ribs and seeds, will add extra heat to your dish. Let your adventurous palate steer the way and you’ll be sure to find your own perfect heat level.