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Tips from the kitchen

To store fresh-cut basil, place in a glass with stems immersed in water. Change the water occasionally. The basil will keep for weeks. Do not refrigerate. Basil hates the cold.

To keep nuts from settling to the bottom of the pan in baking, heat them first in the oven and dust them with flour before adding them to the batter.

Add an apple to stored potatoes to keep them from budding.

Improve the freshness of orange juice by adding the juice of one lemon.

Microwave garlic cloves for 15 seconds; the skin will slip off easily

Microwave a lemon for 15 seconds and you will get double the juice.

Celery will keep for weeks in the refrigerator if wrapped in aluminum foil.

To remove the silk from corn on the cob, brush downward with a damp paper towel.

To test an egg's freshness, feel the shell. Fresh eggs are rough and chalky; old eggs are smooth and shiny

* To keep sweet corn fresh, leave the ear in the husk and soak it in ice water for one hour before storing in the refrigerator. Quick cooking slows the sugar-to-starch process and preserves sweetness.

* To keep tomatoes fresh longer, store with stems pointed down.

* Spread butter on the edge of cheese before storing to keep it from hardening.

* For a fresher flavor, place frozen fish in milk to thaw.

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