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Food Lover's Tips: Baking Supplies and Nuts

The Martha Stewart Show, December 2009

Martha loves the handy culinary tips from her latest Find: "The Deluxe Food Lover's Companion," by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Here are three of her favorite tips from the book.

Baking Soda Freshness Test
To determine whether your baking soda is still good to use, simply pour 2 tablespoons vinegar into a small bowl. Then, drop in 1/4 teaspoon baking soda. If it bubbles, it's still fresh enough to use.

Baking Powder Freshness Test
You can use a similar test for baking powder. Heat 1/3 cup water and drop in 1 teaspoon baking powder. If it's fresh, it should readily bubble.

Cracking Tough Nuts
Whole nuts can be difficult to crack. To soften them up, cover with cold water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, cover, and let sit for 15 minutes. Dry thoroughly before cracking.