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Better ways to brew

When it comes to making iced tea, many of us let the sun do our work for us. Setting on our kitchen windowsill or deck rail a glass jar filled with water and tea bags may be a charming ritual, but tea experts say this is not the best method. The water never gets hot enough to extract flavors from the tea leaves, and the leaves remain in the jar too long, giving off bitter flavors.

So how do the pros do it? Some make an iced tea concentrate. For 1 quart: Place seven tea bags, 3 tablespoons loose tea, or 1 oversized iced tea bag in a 1-quart container. Bring 1 cup of cold water to a rolling boil and pour over tea. Stir, cover and let stand for 15 minutes. Add three cups of cold water and stir. Remove tea bags or strain loose tea. Serve over ice.

Storing/roasting garlic
Mincing garlic is such a time-consuming task, why not keep a supply on hand? Peel several heads of garlic, mince in a food processor, and refrigerate in an airtight jar filled with olive oil. You’ll have a supply of both chopped garlic and garlic-infused olive oil.

For spreadable garlic, split a head in half, drizzle with olive oil, wrap in aluminum foil, and roast in the oven at 375 F until soft, about 45 minutes.

No-slip drawers
If you are like me and determined to reduce clutter in the kitchen try this.

Storing sharp knives in a drawer makes for less-clustered counters and a safer kitchen. But with each pull of the drawer, sliding knives collide, dulling and damaging their finely honed edges. Artist’s drawingboard liner (available at art-supply stores) has a slightly rubbery surface and keeps sharp implements stationary and wipes clean easily. Using a ruler and a utility knife, cut a piece of liner to fit the bottom of the drawer, and anchor it in place with double- sided tape.

Susan Woody has been a food writer for more than 20 years and is a member of the Association of Food Journalists.

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