Basic Sauces (4) Collection
pumpkin (orange) sauce 
chili garlic sauce 
green chili sauce 
tomato sauce 
basic sauces 
food preservation in some form or other has become an inevitable part of 
today's life and food style. a major factor has been the changing home and 
family structure where both husband and wife are working full time as 
bread winners. jams and sauces, relishes and chutneys have become an 
integral portion of any meal, any snack. however, if we can find some time 
once in a way to prepare your own preserves, you can far overweigh the joy 
of relishing these tasty preserves by making them at home. you can pick 
the best of fruit/vegetables in peak season, hygienically prepare your 
choice of varieties and to your own taste. a little hard work during the 
season will reap rich benefits for a long time. the all-important factor 
of cost also counts a lot. preserves made at home cost a little over one 
fourth the cost of off-the shelf products. 
important notes on any food preservation: 
sterilizing jars: and lids must be sterilized: either boil them in plenty 
of water so they soak in the water while it simmers. drain out carefully, 
place them first upside down, then upright on a clean kitchen towel till 
they dry out completely. or dry in the sun for a while to ensure complete 
you can even microwave by filling jars 1/3 full of water, keep as many as 
fit comfortably with in between space. bring water to a boil on high, 
simmer for 1 minute. remove, drain water, dry as above. 
use rustproof and airtight lids which will not allow air to enter. 
filling jars: while filling bottles and jars, take care that bubbles are 
not formed inside the bottle. the incorporated air, might be the cause of 
bacterial growth after closing the bottle. 
dipping the cap and mouth of bottle in a bowl of molten wax for a few 
seconds is a good way to seal filled jars and bottles. 
equipments and vessels used should be dry: wipe fry all equipment and 
vessels before using them. contaminated moisture can be harmful to 
moisture while washing veggies./fruit: if the fruit is 
delicate(eg.strawberries), wash, carefully arrange on a soft kitchen towel 
to absorb excess moisture.dab dry if required. other 
may be washed and wiped clean before using. 
when sauce / preserves is done: consistency: sauces & preserves should not 
be underdone, in which case it would stay watery, and may go bad soon. 
neither should it be overdone, in which case it will taste a bit gooey, 
and may solidify into crystals. 
it may also get charred. there are a few tests which give an indication 
that it is done. 
plate test: pour a tsp. of the jam on a cold plate.if it spreads a little, 
not leaving water around it, then the jam is done. 
spoon test: take on a tsp, and sway it a bit. if the surface starts 
wrinkling, the preserve is done. 
fly test: when droplets of the mixture start flying about in big bubbly 
outbursts, then the recipe is done. 
water test: if a blob of jam is dropped into cold water, it should not 
disintegrate immediately, but start descending in a blob itself. then the 
mixture is ready. 
labeling and dates: always label the preserves,etc. that you make.write 
the name, date on which made and if you need to remember any other detail. 
this will simplify your work later, as to which batch to finish first. 
quality of fruit/veggies: use best quality fruit. do not use under ripe or 
overripe fruit, in which case there is chance of the product going bad. 
use of artificial colors and their options: colors and essences though not 
vital to the recipes, go a long way in enhancing the visual effects and 
aural temptation of the product. therefore, if using the right quantities, 
and not overdoing it by using in daily cooking, they are not going to 
any major health hazards. do not use them in overdose. 
which sauce used for what: there are sauces and sauces, but not any one of 
them will go with any dish at all. some taste good with particular 
preparations, while not with others. tomato sauce is an all rounder which 
goes with practically any dish or preparation. kids even enjoy eating the 
drab old chapatti with it, to pep it up! green chili sauce, soya sauce, 
garlic chili sauce,szechwan sauce, etc., are some sauces which are used 
mainly while cooking a preparation. other sauces like pumpkin, etc. can be 
eaten according to taste of an individual. 
how and where to store(freezing etc.): most sauces and preserves which use 
preservative, need not be stored in the fridge, but once the bottle seal 
is opened, or you have started using a jar, keep the remaining jarful in 
the fridge, for safety. 
purees may be frozen in ice cube trays, and used as and when required. 
take care not to insert wet or soiled spoons into the jars of goodies, or 
there are strong chances of fungus formation. 
close lids tightly every time the jar is opened. 
where to store preservatives: if storing for a short while (2 weeks or so) 
then one need not use preservatives, and mere storing the fridge is 
enough. but for storage for long term, proper food methods and use of 
preservatives becomes imperative. always add preservative towards the end 
of the cooking cycle. 
a general approximation is 1/2 tsp.citric acid to 1 kg. sugar used. 
1 level tsp. potassium metabisulphite is required to make 1 kg. sherbet. 
for sour fruit like kokum, mango raw, jamul, etc. 1 kg. sugar requires 3/4 
tsp. sodium benzoate and 3/4 tsp. citric acid. 
other preservatives like sodium benzoate are also used. 
basic and other masala powders the basic masala powders which though 
commercially available these days, some of them are so much cheaper 
preparing at home. some of them are cheaper by almost 3 to 4 times than 
the price. one more advantage is that small amounts prepared, say, 
monthly, will give you fresh powders, having a wonderful unmatched aroma, 
which cannot come with powders that are stored for months even a year. 
above all they are so easy to make. 
following pointers should be kept in mind while making masala and spice 
powders at home: 
all masala spices like chili, dhania, etc. should be sunned for a couple 
of hours and then pounded. this way the spices will become crisper and 
give a better aroma. remember that though dry grinders, electric mortars, 
etc. will produce good powders, the most flavorful ones are those which 
are ground in a mill or pounded with a mortar and pestle. always store the 
pound masalas in airtight glass or transparent plastic jars with tight 
lids. if available add a few para tablets used to preserve edibles grains, 
masalas ,etc. pound enough to last about 6 months, then there is any sense 
in going through the procedure. if you make too much, it may lose its 
flavor, if too little then is the effort worth making so often. use your 
basic and other masala pastes 
masala pastes are a boon to keep in stock in your refrigerator. they come 
in handy when you are in a real rush but need to cook and flavor food 
well. besides, it rids you of your daily bore and chore of making tiny 
amounts of paste. just take care about a few following pointers to make 
them last longer: never touch them with wet spoons or soiled fingers while 
removing them. always use a dry spoon. if you are a regular user, keep 
fixed jars to refill as you finish. keep the same jar for the same paste 
each time, so smells don't mix. make enough to last about 3-4 weeks on an 
average. best quality pastes are got from grinding on a grindstone. but do 
not be hindered and use a small wet electrical grinder, if you don't have 
stone. where water is allowed use as little as possible, and use boiled 
cooled water. the texture of these pastes should be like that of soft cold 
cream. not too dry and not too runny. choose tight fitting nonmetal lids 
for jars, to avoid rust spoiling the contents. since most of these pastes 
will have some amount of extra salt, use salt sparingly in any dish, and 
add more only after tasting the dish. 
unless cooking khichidis, potatoes, etc. avoid cooking direct in the 
pressure cooker. use the containers. add a piece of lemon peel to the 
pressure cooker water, to keep the cooker from becoming black from use. 
cover the containers when cooking items like dhal, rice, etc. to avoid 
overspill. when boiling rice or dhal over stove in excess water, use the 
extra water to make dhal, soup, etc. use the rice starch water to starch 
clothes. make extra quantities of chili or garlic or onion pastes and 
store in freezer for quicker use. if the first time does not give accurate 
results, try again making changes that you may feel are required in your 
particular case. never overload a pressure cooker or add too much or too 
little water at the base. exploding or burning out are serious accidents. 
if rice is very old, then soak for a longer time. however, the saying 
goes, the older the rice, the richer the flavor. always sieve any flour 
before making dough, for hygiene as well as breaking any lumps that may be 
(ID: 10314) Mirror: Fri, Oct 24, 2003

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