All the foodies out there have convinced us that fresh ingredients are always best, but South African food writer Andrea Burgener explains that’s just not always the case. Here are some foods she says fresh isn’t always the way to go.
- Guavas - If you’re making a cobbler or a crumble, it’s tough to find enough guavas with uniform ripeness, so Burgener suggests using canned ones for your desserts instead.
- Pasta - She points out that food snobs would have us believe the only way to a great pasta dish is using freshly made noodles, but some dishes, like carbonara, are just better with “skinny strands of the good dried stuff.”
- Peas - Our expert says the sugar in fresh peas starts turning to starch as soon as they’re picked, so they end up mealy and tough unless you’re using them just hours later. Your best option is frozen peas, which don’t disappoint.
- Shiitake mushrooms - Rather than paying a fortune for these, which Burgener says have no flavor and are “just brown spongy shapes,” she advises using the dried variety. Dried shiitakes last forever in the cabinet and soaking them in hot water until soft also leaves you with a delicious broth that makes a tasty soup when you add some ginger and soy.
But there is one thing she agrees we should always buy fresh every time - asparagus. As for the canned ones, she suggests we “ban those flaccid, watery spikes forever.”
Source: Times Live