Back to: Jss3 Home Economics (PVS)
Topic: Food Preparation Terms
WEEK: 4 & 5
Food Preparation Terms
Food preparation terms refer to a wide range of techniques, processes, and methods used in the culinary world to transform raw ingredients into delicious and nutritious meals. From chopping and slicing to baking and roasting, these terms are essential for anyone interested in cooking and preparing food.
Mixing is an essential technique in food preparation that involves combining ingredients to create a homogeneous mixture. The following are ten mixing terms in food preparation and their explanations:
- Fold – This term means to gently combine two mixtures using a spatula or a large spoon. The goal is to minimize the amount of air that is incorporated into the mixture to maintain its volume.
- Knead – Kneading is a technique used in bread making to develop gluten, a protein that gives bread its structure. It involves pressing, folding, and stretching dough with the hands.
- Stir – Stirring involves moving a spoon or whisk in a circular motion through a mixture to blend it together. This technique is commonly used for liquids, batters, and sauces.
- Whip – Whipping involves beating a mixture vigorously to incorporate air, resulting in a light and fluffy texture. This technique is often used for whipped cream, meringue, and frosting.
- Beat – Beating is a more aggressive version of stirring that involves moving the whisk or beater rapidly through the mixture. This technique is often used for cake batter or whipped buttercream frosting.
- Cream – Creaming involves beating together butter and sugar until the mixture becomes light and fluffy. This technique is commonly used in baking to create tender and moist cakes.
- Blend – Blending involves thoroughly mixing ingredients together to create a smooth and consistent mixture. This technique is often used for smoothies, dips, and dressings.
- Emulsify – Emulsifying involves combining two liquids that don’t typically mix, such as oil and vinegar. This technique involves whisking the liquids together until they form a smooth and stable mixture.
- Fold in – Folding in involves adding a delicate ingredient, such as whipped cream or beaten egg whites, to a denser mixture. The goal is to incorporate the delicate ingredient without deflating it.
- Mix – Mixing is a general term that refers to combining ingredients together until they are evenly distributed. This technique is used in a wide range of recipes, from cookies to casseroles.
- Chop – To cut into small, irregular pieces with a knife. Typically, the pieces are around 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch in size.
- Dice – To cut into small, uniform cubes with a knife. Typically, the pieces are around 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch in size.
- Julienne – To cut into thin, matchstick-shaped pieces with a knife. Typically, the pieces are around 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch in size.
- Mince – To cut into very small pieces with a knife or food processor. The pieces are usually less than 1/8 inch in size.
- Slice – To cut into thin, flat pieces with a knife. Typically, the pieces are around 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch in size.
- Cube – To cut into uniform, square pieces with a knife. Typically, the pieces are around 1/2 inch to 1 inch in size.
- Shred – To cut into thin, narrow strips with a knife or shredder. Typically, the strips are around 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch in size.
- Score – To make shallow cuts in the surface of food with a knife. This is often done to help seasonings or marinades penetrate the food.
- Carve – To cut meat or poultry into slices or portions with a knife. This is often done at the table for presentation.
- Bias-cut – To cut at an angle with a knife. This is often done to increase the surface area of the food, which can help it cook more quickly or evenly.
Other Food Preparation Terms
- Coat: This refers to covering the surface of a food item with a dry ingredient such as flour, sugar, breadcrumbs, or pepper. The purpose of the coating is to add flavour, texture, and appearance to the food. For example, coating the chicken with flour before frying it can help create a crispy outer layer.
- Garnish: This involves adding a small food item to a finished dish for decoration or visual appeal. For instance, adding a sprig of parsley or a slice of lemon to a plate of fish can enhance its appearance and make it more appetizing.
- Grease: This involves lightly applying fat or oil to a cooking surface or pan to prevent food from sticking during cooking. For instance, greasing a cake pan with margarine can help prevent the cake from sticking to the pan.
- Seasoning: This involves adding flavour to food by using various seasonings such as salt, pepper, herbs, and spices. Seasoning is used to enhance the flavour of food and make it more enjoyable to eat.
- Strain: This refers to removing solid particles from a liquid by pouring the mixture through a sieve or strainer. This is done to separate the liquid from the solids and to achieve a smoother texture in the final product.
- Drain: This involves removing excess water or liquid from food by placing it in a sieve or colander. This is done to remove excess moisture from the food and to prevent it from becoming too soggy or watery.
- Puree: This refers to mashing food until it is smooth and creamy in texture. This can be done using a pestle and mortar, hand grinder, or blender. For example, pureeing tomatoes can be done to create a smooth sauce or soup.
Reasons for Cooking Food.
- Improve Taste: One of the primary reasons for cooking food is to enhance its flavour and taste by adding ingredients, and spices, or using different cooking methods.
- Increase Digestibility: Cooking food can break down complex nutrients and make them easier to digest, such as protein, starches, and fibres.
- Improve Safety: Cooking food can kill harmful bacteria, viruses, and parasites that can cause foodborne illnesses.
- Preserve Food: Cooking and preserving food using methods such as canning, pickling, and drying can help to extend its shelf life.
- Convenience: Cooking food can make it more convenient to consume, especially for busy individuals who may not have time to prepare a fresh meal every time they want to eat.
- Save Money: Cooking your meals at home can be more cost-effective than eating out at restaurants or ordering takeout regularly.
- Creativity: Cooking food can be a creative outlet, allowing individuals to experiment with different ingredients, flavours, and cooking techniques.
- Cultural Significance: Cooking food can be a way to connect with one’s cultural heritage and pass down traditional recipes and techniques from generation to generation.
- Nutrient Retention: Cooking certain foods can help to retain their nutrients, such as vegetables that are lightly steamed or stir-fried.
- Personal Preference: Cooking food can be tailored to personal preferences, such as cooking steak to a specific temperature or making a dish spicier or milder.
- Socialization: Cooking food can be a social activity, bringing people together to prepare and enjoy a meal.
- Health Benefits: Cooking healthy meals at home can contribute to overall health and well-being, reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.
- Reduce Waste: Cooking can help to reduce food waste by using up ingredients that may have otherwise gone unused.
- Independence: Cooking food can promote independence, allowing individuals to take control of their diet and food choices.
- Portion Control: Cooking food at home can make it easier to control portion sizes and limit excess calorie intake.
- Skill Development: Cooking food can be a skill-building activity, allowing individuals to improve their culinary skills and knowledge.
- Satisfaction: Cooking and enjoying a home-cooked meal can provide a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.
- Relaxation: Cooking can be a relaxing and meditative activity, providing a break from the stresses of daily life.
- Experimentation: Cooking food can be an opportunity to experiment with new ingredients and recipes, expanding one’s culinary repertoire.
- Sustainability: Cooking and eating locally sourced, seasonal, and organic foods can contribute to sustainable food practices and support local farmers and producers.
Guidelines for The Use of Cooking Method / Points to Consider in Choosing a Cooking Method
- Type of food being cooked: Different types of food require different methods of cooking based on their texture, composition, and desired outcome. For example, cakes are typically baked in an oven while MoinMoin, a Nigerian bean cake, is steamed. Other examples include grilling meat, frying vegetables, and poaching fish.
- Loss of nutrients: Some cooking methods can lead to the loss of nutrients in food, which may affect its overall nutritional value. For example, water-soluble vitamins such as vitamin C and B-complex vitamins can be lost if foods are boiled in water that is then discarded. Other factors that can affect nutrient loss include the temperature and duration of cooking, the pH of the cooking environment, and the presence of oxygen.
- Age and health of persons to eat the food: Depending on the age and health of the person who will be eating the food, certain methods of cooking may be more appropriate than others. For example, children and sick people may require foods that are cooked using gentle methods such as steaming or boiling, as these methods are easier to digest. On the other hand, athletes or people with high energy requirements may require more calorie-dense foods that are cooked using methods such as roasting or grilling.
- Facilities available for cooking: The type of cooking facilities available can also influence the method of cooking. For example, an oven is typically required for baking, while a stovetop or grill may be required for frying or grilling. The availability of cooking utensils and equipment may also influence the choice of cooking method.
- Time available: Different cooking methods require different amounts of time and attention. For example, slow-cooking methods such as braising or stewing may require several hours of cooking time, while quick-cooking methods such as sautéing or stir-frying may only take a few minutes. The amount of time available to cook can influence the choice of cooking method.