Customer Questions II

"Sand is frequently a problem with fresh strawberries. The berries are so delicate they sometimes bruise if you run water over them to remove the sand. What do you suggest?"

A good way to wash berries is to turn them gently into a tubful of cold water; then pat them gently into the water; and finally lift them out into a colander. The sand sinks to the bottom of the bowl while the berries float. To keep berries from bruising, remove the hulls after washing rather than before.

"I have had NO luck making gelatin pudding with fresh pineapple! I just can't make the mixture jell. Do you have any suggestions?"

Fresh pineapple contains a chemical called bromelain, which contains two enzymes capable of digesting proteins, which are called proteases. Jell-O and other gelatins get their structure from links formed between chains of collagen, which is a protein. When you add pineapple to the Jell-O, you break the links as fast as they form, so the gelatin never sets up. The enzymes in bromelain are inactivated once they have been heated to about 158° F (70° Celsius), so while fresh pineapple prevents Jell-O from gelling, gelatin made using canned pineapple (which was heated during the canning process) won't ruin the dessert.

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    Barbara Williams
    Creative DVO Employee since 2007
    Email Barbara!

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