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Frequently Asked Questions about Salads
Every day, the Allrecipes staff answer lots of email from cooks like you in the Allrecipes community. For a glimpse of this dynamic exchange of ideas and tips, and for answers to questions about food that you may have had yourself, please have a look at this FAQ! You can also browse all the articles about salads in our Cooking Basics section!

If you still have questions, take a look at a FAQ for another cookbook.

Q. What is arugula?

A. Also called rocket, roquette, rugula and rucola, arugula is a slightly bitter, aromatic salad green with a peppery mustard flavor. Though it has long been extremely popular with Italians, American palates often find its flavor too assertive. Arugula (which resembles radish leaves) can be found in specialty produce markets and in some supermarkets. It's sold in small bunches with roots attached. The leaves should be bright green and fresh looking. Arugula is very perishable and should be tightly wrapped in a plastic bag and refrigerated for no more than 2 days. Its leaves hold a tremendous amount of grit and must be thoroughly washed just before using. Arugula makes a lively addition to salads, soups and sautéed vegetable dishes. It's a rich source of iron as well as vitamins A and C.

More definitions for cooking terms can be found in the Encyclopedia.

Q. What is the secret to making a good, homemade vinaigrette?

A. Start with two parts oil for every one part vinegar. Taste, and adjust the proportions to satisfy your taste buds. Extra-virgin olive oil, toasted sesame oil, hazelnut oil, and walnut oil are all power-players in the world of taste, and you can get by with using much less oil while still adding superior flavor if you choose a bold one. To add that all-important zing to the dressing, try cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar, raspberry vinegar, or even lime or lemon juice. Whatever you use as the basis of your dressing, be sure to round it out with salt and pepper, and perhaps a dash of red pepper flakes, a little bit of crushed garlic, a dab of mustard, or anything else you think will make your vinaigrette distinctly divine.

To read more about making your own fantastic salad dressings, read our Cooking Basics article, Salad Days are Here!

Looking for salad dressing recipes?

Q. How can I prevent the fruit in my gelatin salad from sinking to the bottom of the mold?

A. Add texture, flavor and visual appeal to any gelatin dessert by mixing in fruit, vegetables, nuts or marshmallows. Some of these things like to float, and some like to sink. However, it's possible to tame those morsels and make them stay put. Patience is the key! You must wait until the gelatin is semi-firm - about the consistency of cold egg whites -- before pushing in the fruit. It will stay right where you put it, waiting in suspended animation to be slurped up by your enthusiastic dinner guests.

Everything you ever wanted to know about gelatin salads can be found in our Cooking Basics article, The Jiggling Joy of Gelatin Salads.

Q. What kind of salad can I make in the winter?

A. When deciding upon what type of salad to make, it's best to use produce that is as fresh and seasonal as possible. Whether your ingredients are picked from your garden or bought from the market, foods that are harvested closest to home will offer the best value for your money, palate, and health. A few seasonal salad ingredients to look for in markets around your home include fruits such as apples, pears, cranberries and grapes; or vegetables such as fennel, cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli.

Our feature on Super Duper Fall and Winter Salads is chock full of winter salad ideas. Take a peek at our other salad articles for even more recipes, meal ideas and cooking advice.

Q. Can I grow my own sprouts?

A. To grow your own sprouts, all you need is a mason-type jar, a piece of cheesecloth or other breathable fabric, and the seeds, beans, grains, or nuts you wish to sprout. If you don't have a mason jar, any other jar will do; just make sure it's totally clean first. Also, without a mason jar lid, you'll need a rubber band to hold the cheesecloth tight over the jar. Seeds used for sprouting can be found at either a grocery or health food store, or through an online distributor -- try a search for 'sprout seed' using your favorite search engine; this should bring up a bunch of online sprouting seed retailers.

Tips for growing your own sprouts can be found in our Cooking Basics article, Sprouts!

Q. I want to take pasta salad to a picnic. Is this safe?

A. Pasta salad made with dairy produc will give you a reliable framework for successful recipe scaling: It offers detailed guidelines for recipe scaling and easy instructions for using the handy recipe scaling tool on our site. You can always find this tool and a link to our recipe scaling tips from any recipe at

More Answers to Common Questions
You may want to see our Q. I often find myself adjusting recipes in order to make enough for my family, but it doesn't quite work for some recipes. Do you have any advice for me?

A. Changing recipes in order to make more or less servings is called "recipe scaling." Whenever you alter the amounts of ingredients for a given recipe, you may also need to adjust the cooking temperature, cooking time, pan size and seasonings. But for food chemistry reasons, recipe scaling simply does not work well for some dishes: delicate foods such as soufflés, baked items requiring yeast such as breads, and recipes for a single large item that is meant to be later divided into smaller portions such as cakes, pies, breads and whole turkey.

Our Recipe Scaling Pagef/convert/conversions.asp" class="wnlink">Measurement Conversions page for answers to any of your measurement-related questions. For even more recipes, meal ideas and cooking advice, visit the Cooking Basics area of Allrecipes. If you still have questions or would like to share some feedback with the staff here at Allrecipes, please send us your question via the Feedback Page. We’ll be sure to get back to you as soon as we can!



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