Kitchen Hints and Tips - Beverages

Before packing lunches, pour juice into a zip-top plastic bag and freeze. At lunchtime, the tip of the bag can be opened, a straw inserted, and the juice sipped. Be sure to pack the straw in the lunchbox.

Freeze juice cans or boxes before packing them in lunches. This will keep them cold and will help keep the rest of the lunch cool as well.

Pour the syrup from canned fruit into ice cube trays and freeze for later use. They can be added to punch, etc.

Coffee
Adding one pinch of salt to the basket of the coffeemaker will remove some of the acid taste.

For clear coffee, put egg shells in after perking.

Always start with cold water.

Make coffee more exotic by adding a dash of ginger, cardamom or cinnamon to the grounds.

Crush a small piece of ginger and add it to the upper container of the filter while brewing. Ginger coffee has an great taste and can also help to end a nasty cold.

Orange Juice
Thaw frozen orange juice in the container in the microwave. Remove the top metal lid. Place the opened container in the microwave and heat on HIGH power for 30 seconds for 6 ounces and 45 seconds for 12 ounces.

Soda Pop
Before you cap the plastic bottle, squeeze it to force out as much air as possible (so that the liquid is almost at the top). The bottle may look odd, but the soda won't lose its carbonation.

For a nutritious soda pop, prepare frozen concentrate and mix half and half with club soda.

Tea
Instead of using sugar, dissolve old-fashioned lemon drops, cinnamon red hots or hard mint candy in your tea. They melt quickly.

To make inexpensive spiced tea, pour loose tea leaves into a jar that has a tight lid. Add your favorite spices singly or in combination and store for a couple of weeks before using. Some flavors you might try include dried orange or lemon rind, cardamom, pieces of vanilla bean and cinnamon stick.

When serving iced tea to guests, dip the rims of the glasses in lemon juice and then in sugar or packaged lemon-flavor gelatin. Be sure to pour the tea into the center of the glass so as not to disturb the pretty (and tasty) edge.

Whip up fresh-brewed iced tea quickly by putting one large tea bag into your automatic coffee maker. Pour in some water, let perk, and it's done.

To add a special touch to iced tea, freeze whole berries, fresh mint, or citrus slices in ice cube trays filled with water.

You don't have to boil water to make iced tea. To make four servings, place six tea bags in a pitcher containing four cups of fresh, cold water. Cover and refrigerate several hours.

You will need less sugar in iced tea if you add the sugar while the tea is still hot.

Freeze leftover tea in an ice cube tray. The next time you serve iced tea, use tea cubes instead of plain ones and you tea won't be diluted. You can do the same with other cooling summer drinks such as lemonade and fruit juices.

For iced tea, add a small amount of very hot water to instant tea before adding cold water. The crystals will dissolve completely for better flavor.

Tomato Juice
Improve the flavor of inexpensive tomato juice by pouring a 46-ounce can of juice into a refrigerator jar and adding one chopped onion and a cut-up stalk of celery.