Cooking Terms & Definitions
for Cooking and Canning Food

Cooking Terms and Definitions

Baste:  Putting drippings, butter or prepared marinade over food while cooking. (ie. turkey, steak, poultry, or any baked, roasted, barbecued or grilled food) This can be done with a spoon, basting brush, suction squirter or tied bundle of herbs. (ie. rosemary branches)

Boil:  Heat liquid until bubbles rise continuously and break on surface. A rolling boil is when bubbles for rapidly and continue even when stirring.

Cool:  Allow to cool to room temperature.

Marinate:  Let food soak in a prepared liquid to add flavor and tenderize.

Sear:  Cooking food over high heat to brown quickly and seal in juices. Heat is then reduced for the remainder of cooking time. (ie. barbecued and grilled foods, roasts)
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Skim:  Removing foam or fat from top of cooked liquid mixture or removing any unwanted food parts that float to the surface.

Recipe Preparation Terminology

Chop:  Cut into pieces with a knife or other sharp tool.

Crush:  Press to extract juice. (ie. garlic press, side of knife, mallet)

Cube:  Cut into small cubes larger than 1/2 inch.

Dice:  Cut into small cubes less than 1/2 inch.

Grate:  Cut into little bits using small-holed grater.

Julienne:  Cut into strips or match-like sticks.

Minced:  Cut meat or vegetables into very small pieces
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Pare:  Cut off skin or outer cover with a knife or sharp tool. (ie. potatoes)

Peel:  Take off outer covering. (ie. oranges)

Shred:  Cut into thin pieces using large holed grater. (ie. cheese, hash browns)

Sift:  Putting dry ingredient through a fine screen to break-up any clumps. (ie. flour)

Snip:  Cut into small pieces with scissors or snips. (ie. parsley)

Terms For Mixing Recipe Ingredients

Beat:  Mix vigorously with a spoon, whip or beater until mixture is smooth.

Blend:  Mix all ingredients thoroughly until smooth and uniform.

Cut-in:  Mix in solid fat or butter into dry mixture by chopping in with knife or a pastry type blender.

Fold:  Combine ingredients lightly by cutting vertically through mixture and then folding in sides using a spatula or other flat utensil.

Mix:  Combine ingredients evenly using any method.

Toss:  Mix ingredients lightly with a tumbling action or lifting sides and letting fall to center. (ie. salads)

Whip:  Beat vigorously to add air to mixture.

Freezing, Preserving & Canning Food

Blanch:  Quick partial cooking of vegetables in rapidly boiling water before freezing to stop enzyme action that causes ripening and to stabilize vitamin content.

Canning Salt:  Regular table salt without iodine and anti-caking additives. Sometimes called pickling salt.

Citric Acid:  A form of acid that can be added to canned foods to increase the acidity of low-acid products. Also used to improve flavor and retain color in preserved foods.

Enzymes:  Proteins in food which cause or accelerate many flavors, color and nutritional changes in food especially from slicing, crushing and bruising. Blanching and hot packing methods destroy enzymes and preserve food quality.

Exhausting:  Removing air from within and around food and from canning jars. Venting of pressure and air from pressure canners.

Hot Pack:  Heat fruits in juice, water, steam or syrup before packing. Usually over high heat to create a rolling boil.

pH:  measure of acidity; the lower its value, the more acid the food. The acidity level in foods can be increased by adding lemon juice, citric acid, or vinegar.

Pressure Canner Processing:  Cooking or processing filled canning jars in a closed pressurized canner.

Raw Pack:  Put cold raw fruits in jars and cover with boiling hot sugar syrup. For tomatoes, press down so they are covered in their own juices; add no liquid.

Rolling Boil:  A boil that does not stop when mixture is stirred.

Water-Bath Processing:  Cooking filled canning jars covered in boiling water for a specific time period. Sometimes called Boiling Water Processing or Water-Bath Method.

Canning Utensils

Bubbler:  Knife or spatula-like tool for removing air bubbles from canning jars.

Jar Lifter:  Special tool for removing hot jars from canner.

Jar Funnel:  Short, wide-necked funnel used for pouring or packing of small food items into canning jars.

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