What Is Umami?

Umami

It is said that humans can recognize five different tastes: bitter, salty, sour, sweet, and umami. This last taste, the most difficult to describe, is unknown to many people. That is why today, I will try to explain what Umami, the fifth taste, is.

In fact, its knowledge is relatively recent. However, the search for these flavor-enhancing foods was already a tradition even in ancient Rome where Garum, a fermented fish sauce rich in Umami, was used. The word Umami comes from the Japanese language and means tasty.

Umami is derived from two words, Umai (delicious) and mi (flavor), and has been used since the term was chosen by the Japanese Kikunae Ikeda to refer to foods when they have a delicious and pronounced or intense flavor.

The umami flavor was not identified in a strict sense until 1908 when the scientist Kikunae Ikeda of the Imperial University of Tokyo discovered that glutamate was responsible for the flavor that had the broth from the cooking of Kombu seaweed, whose flavor was different from the traditionally known flavors, sweet, sour, bitter and salty, calling Umami to the resulting flavor.

Subsequently, other foods were investigated, discovering this fifth flavor’s presence, such as bonito shavings or katsuobushi, in the first photo, or shiitake mushrooms, whose cooking also produces delicious broths very rich in Umami.

The fifth flavor was also discovered in many other foods, such as cheese, anchovies, ripe tomatoes, dried tomatoes, and many other ingredients such as soy sauce or cured ham.

Although there is one practically pure product Umami, Ajinomoto, or monosodium glutamate, many foods contain Umami. Umami powder, widely used in Asian cuisine, can be purchased in any store. Still, we are more interested in discovering which foods are rich in Umami to combine them and enhance our stews and other recipes. A good example would be cured ham.

How to enhance umami in our dishes?

Later, umami’s effects began to be analyzed, not so much for its own flavor but for the flavor that enhances other ingredients. Although many of us did not know what umami was, we were already using it unconsciously in many of our recipes. A mixture such as cheese and tomato (typical in pasta dishes) or enriching a broth with bones or a ham shank are ways to enhance each ingredient’s flavors by the use of umami flavor.

The umami powder manages to enhance the individual flavor of the other ingredients used. This happens for chemical reasons since foods containing glutamate combined with ribonucleotides cause their respective flavors to multiply.

The splash of anchovy sauce in the cooking of lentils with chorizo makes the flavor is greatly enhanced. The same happens with the combination of anchovies, cheese, and tomato in the Italian alla puttanesca sauce.

Our papillae perceive umami when we eat glutamate foods or with other compounds such as guanosine or inside in its derivatives inosinate or guanylate. The peculiarity is the perception of this “tasty” flavor and the balance it provides to other flavors since, for example, it lowers the sensation of bitterness. It enhances the sweetness, leaving the food more harmonized, more balanced, or more rounded.

As it is not a flavor in which we are “educated,” it is not easy to distinguish umami -as we do with sweet, bitter, sour, or salty- but it is easy to notice the effect it produces by getting a more intense flavor, which causes salivation and makes us feel that the dish has a special “touch.” So give yourself a chance, run to the nearest store, buy some umami powder, and include it in your favorite recipes; it’s a safe bet.

How to Create an Amazing Break Room

Break room

Many studies prove that allowing employees to take breaks during the workday increases their productivity. But, do you know how to design the ideal break room? Here are some important features to consider.

Have Many Food Options Available

When people are hungry, they are less productive. They may get headaches or be unable to focus. Having a lunchroom well stocked with food means your staff doesn’t have to worry about going hungry. Consider using services like a Pittsburgh area commissary to supply freshly made food, snacks and drinks available for sale in vending machines.

Create a Comfortable Place to Relax and Socialize

Design a room that is more like a home than an office. Long plush couches or reclining massage chairs give people a place to rejuvenate. Some employees may even sneak in a quick nap. By adding these more comfortable sitting areas in addition to your traditional tables and chairs, your staff will feel like they have stepped outside of the office.

Supply a Variety of Entertainment and Recreation

Some employees enjoy spending their lunchtime having fun. Provide a television and other exciting brain break activities such as darts, air hockey and foosball tables. For more active people, treadmills and ellipticals give them a chance to exercise. These activities allow people to gain the energy to push through the rest of the day.

Provide a Place to Recharge Electronics

Many people have a variety of gadgets to make work-life easier. Having a designated recharging station ensures employees can continue to use them throughout the day. A table away from food and drink, with multiple electrical outlets, is ideal.

Employers must make their staff a priority. One easy way to do this is by providing them with a well-thought-out break room. Follow these suggestions to create an area everyone wants to enjoy.…

Getting a Better Brew from Your Coffee Beans

How many different ways have you had your cup of coffee in the morning? Where do you shop for your coffee? Have you ever thought about shaking up your routine? Keep reading to find out your options, and start thinking outside of the box when it comes to your brew.

After purchasing coffee beans, wait until you’re ready to brew a pot of coffee before you grind them. As soon as coffee is ground, its flavor starts to dissipate. Don’t grind your beans before you brew if you want to drink good coffee.

Coffee in the freezer has a shelf life of only about three months. If it stays there longer, the quality will go down.

The best coffee makers actually extract the essence of the bean. Drip coffee makers do not do this. Find an inexpensive French press and taste the difference. A French press will extract the oils from the bean and put them in your cup as opposed to a drip coffee maker which will leave them in the filter.

If you are buying coffee from a drive-in window, always error on the side of caution to stay as protected as possible. Typically, when you are buying coffee in this form, it will be piping hot, as you will not want to burn your hands or other areas of your body.

To ensure that your coffee stays fresh as long as possible, avoid grinding all your beans at once. Once ground, heat and humidity will rob your coffee of the fragrant oils that provide much of its flavor. Instead, only grind the amount of coffee you will use for a day or two. Doing so will help you maximize the flavor of your beans.

Does your tap water tastes bad? It could influence the way your coffee tastes. If your tap water has an unpleasant taste, consider using bottled water to make coffee or get a filter installed on your tap. You will find that your coffee tastes much better if you use cleaner water.

Avoid using pre-flavored and packaged coffee beans. These beans are sprayed with extra oils that are very difficult to clean out of grinders and coffee machines. That oil stays in the machines and mixes with later batches causing strange-tasting coffee. They also tend to make the coffee smell better than it tastes.

Many people use bacon soda to keep smells from permeating refrigerators, but used coffee grounds have the same effect. Coffee acts like a natural sponge, and it will absorb any odors it comes in contact with. This is why you should place a small dish of them in your refrigerator to keep odors at bay.

Don’t let your coffee stay on the burner for any longer than 20 minutes after you have made it. By letting it sit there; you will find your coffee to have a harsh taste. Furthermore, leaving it on the burner for too long can burn both the pot and the coffee.

Oh, now you’re ready! Get to the store, or find that nice bag of brew online that you’ve been waiting to buy. It’s time to relax and enjoy your cup of morning joe. Remember what you’ve read, and take that excitement to the store on your next trip to buy coffee.…

Health Benefits of Different Types of Tea

Tea has been consumed for thousands of years for its healing properties, and there are also scientifically proven health benefits of drinking certain types of tea. Whether you’re already a tea enthusiast or you simply want to improve your health, here are some types of tea you may want to drink more of.

Herbal Teas

Herbal tea can be made from different parts of plants, like leaves, flowers, roots and fruit. Some of the most popular kinds include chamomile, mint and ginger. While there has been little research on herbal teas, many kinds are widely regarded as having health benefits. One example is chamomile, which is believed to be calming, improve sleep quality and have anti-inflammatory effects, among many other benefits. Because there are so many different kinds, you can buy herbal tea online for almost any condition you’re looking to treat.

Green Tea

Green tea is made from steamed leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant and is high in EGCG, a type of antioxidant. Because of this, green tea has been widely studied and has been found to improve many conditions. For example, it may slow the growth of some cancers, prevent clogging of the arteries and reduce risk of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, among many other science-backed benefits. However, unlike herbal teas, green tea contains caffeine, so be sure to factor this into your intake.

Black Tea

Black tea is similar to green tea because it’s made from the same plant, but it’s made from fermented leaves and is thus stronger in flavor. While green and black tea share many healing properties, black tea is unique in that it contains a type of antioxidant called theaflavins, which have their own benefits.  These include reducing inflammation, reducing cholesterol and promoting fat breakdown. Because black tea is more concentrated, it has an even higher caffeine content than green tea, so keep that in mind.

Many other types of tea not listed here have both proven and unproven claims of health benefits. As long as you do your research, you may find that tea is a great alternative medicine.…

All You Need To Learn About Coffee

Coffee is one of the world’s most popular drinks, and millions of people enjoy a cup of coffee every day. Brewing your own coffee right at home can be very satisfying while saving you money. If you want to brew a great cup of coffee in your own kitchen, keep reading for some great tips.

No matter how attached you are to your favorite blend, don’t be afraid to try a new variety. You don’t need to invest in a large bag to try out something new. Almost all brands will offer a single pot or sampler size to allow you to try out new flavors.

Do you want to impress your guests with great coffee? Self decorating lattes is fairly easy to do. Practicing flowers or leaves can leave your guests highly impressed. Experiment with milk and melted chocolate to practice techniques.

Here is a great trick to try if you use softened or distilled water to brew your coffee. Just add a small pinch of salt to the pot after brewing. This may sound crazy, but the salt will add a lot of extra flavor to the coffee! Believe it or not!

Do you like the coffee you make using your dripping machine? Better brews can be achieved by allowing your machine to get hot by running a water-only cycle. After heating the water and the machine, make your coffee by adding grounds. That is a great way to clean the machine, too.

If you like a delicate flavor in your coffee, try adding some right to the pot while it’s brewing. A pinch of cinnamon or a few drops of vanilla will add flavor to the brew. Flavoring your coffee this way will keep the flavor from being too overwhelming, and you won’t need cream or milk.

If you want the best iced coffee that you have ever had, you need to brew the coffee cold. If you do try to make hot coffee cold, you can end up with a pretty awful brew. If you start your brewing right before bedtime, you will have delicious iced coffee for your morning commute.

For those individuals who do not want to consume caffeinated drinks, but love the flavor of coffee, they can enjoy decaffeinated coffee. Some people do not have a problem with a little caffeine, and half-caffeine coffee is a good choice for them. There is no appreciable difference in the flavor between full and half-caffeine coffee.

If you want to be treated to a different flavor of coffee every morning, but you do not have the funds to make the daily trip to a cafe, you should try buying coffee creamer that has the flavors you want. They are not very expensive and you can use a different one every day to mix things up a bit.

The more you know about coffee, the better able you will be to brew a delicious cup right in your own kitchen. It is not that hard to turn out pot after pot of amazing coffee once you know the secrets. Just remember the tips from this article and soon you will enjoy quality coffee every time!…

Unique Ways to Surprise Your Loved One

Are you looking for a fun, interesting, or unique way to show a loved one that you care about them? Here are a few ideas to consider.

Take them On a Surprise Picnic

Picnics are fun. A surprise one is even better. Pack up your loved one’s favorite lunch, something to drink, and a comfortable blanket. Don’t forget dessert! Then, either ask your loved one to come with you or meet you at a local park.

Send Something

If your loved one is far away, send them something. Whether that’s flowers, a fruit basket, or cookie delivery Atlanta, a surprise delivery can really make someone’s day. Whatever you send, make sure you have your loved one’s interests in mind.

Make Their Favorite Treat

Does your loved one have a sweet tooth? Rather than purchasing their favorite treat from the local store, make it yourself. Even if you’re not much of a baker, putting in the effort says a lot. Look for a recipe or watch a tutorial video online. Package the treat in a decorative box for an extra special touch.

Plan a Special Getaway

If you have a long weekend coming up, consider planning a surprise getaway. You don’t have to go very far. Even just traveling to the next state (or even a few towns over) allows you to explore a new place with your loved one. If you can’t get away for an entire weekend, plan a special day trip to the city, a nearby theme park, museum, or the zoo. Just don’t let your loved one know where you’re going until you get there.

There are thousands of ways to show your loved one just how much he or she means to you. Think about the things that make that person happy and you’re sure to find the best way to express how you feel.…

Enjoy A Great Cup Of Joe. Read These Coffee Tips.

Coffee truly is among life’s great pleasures for countless individuals the world over. However, thorough coffee know-how and expertise is not something possessed by everyone. By reviewing the information below, it is possible to gain the coffee fluency necessary to maximize just about anyone’s enjoyment of this extremely ubiquitous beverage.

You should make sure to clean your coffee pot every time you use it so that any residual flavors do not tarnish the taste of it. There are oils that will stick to the coffee pot over time. Many people do not notice the difference, but true coffee lovers will be able to tell right away.

There have been many studies about whether or not coffee is healthy or harmful. Some state that the caffeine in coffee can be harmful unless it is consumed in moderation. Other studies seem to indicate that coffee can work as an antioxidant, and can actually help prevent some diseases such as cancer.

Do not use tap water when you are making coffee unless your faucet is fitted with a device that will filter out all of the impurities. There are many people that have no problem with tap water, but the reality is that tap water that tastes bad will make your coffee taste just as bad.

You can re-use your coffee grounds for many items. Coffee grounds are great for getting rid of smells like garlic and onion on your hands. You can also use them on dishes that refuse to get clean with regular washing. Coffee grounds can even be used in the garden to take care of pests that threaten your plants.

Avoid storing your coffee in the freezer. The extreme temperatures of the freezer will destroy the oils in the coffee. Instead, drink what you have or buy smaller amounts of coffee. If you do not buy too much coffee, you will not need to worry about storing it for an extended period of time.

Make sure that you always refrain from putting coffee beans in the freezer or refrigerator. When these beans are placed in areas that contain food, it will absorb the smells of the food and take away from the coffee taste. This will ruin the quality of your coffee, as you should always separate beans from other nourishments.

Coffee tastes better when you use fresh coffee beans. When buying whole beans, be sure to check the expiration and roasting dates. Rather than purchasing coffee beans at a grocery store, consider a coffee shop or other specialty store.

If your morning coffee tastes “off”, remember an unpleasant taste in your water will make an unpleasant taste in your coffee. Taste your tap water, and if the flavor is also off, it may be time to invest in a filter. Or you can brew your coffee with bottled water.

There is no denying the important role coffee plays in the lives of an astounding number of people. Coffee novices and long-time fans alike can benefit from a bit of additional learning on the subject. The piece above hopefully provided just the sort of information necessary to enhance anyone’s coffee drinking experience.…