HOW IT’S DONE: Recipe Substitutions Can Make Recipes Tastier and Healthier | News

TAHLEQUAH — Recipe substitutions are often unavoidable when it comes to cooking, but sometimes the substitutions are made for health reasons rather than due to unavailability of ingredients.

Heather Winn, family educator and consumer science educator with the Cherokee County OSU Extension office, said there are several key ways to replace meals.

“Most people make substitutions if they are preparing food or a meal and realize they are missing an ingredient. Many people are trying to eat healthier; therefore, they might make substitutions to make family favorite recipes healthier,” Winn said. “For example, (you can use) applesauce in place of butter or oil in a recipe. The substitution is an equal exchange, but you can use less of other liquids if the recipe also calls for water or milk.

Some common healthy recipe substitutions include replacing sour cream with yogurt, changing flour types, and, for baking, instead of butter or oil, using applesauce.

“Changing the type of flour takes some practice and you will often need to use more than one type of flour when modifying a recipe for someone with gluten intolerance,” Winn said. “There is gluten-free flour that is great, but if you try to mix the flour yourself it can be a challenge.”

Winn said cooking with herbs and spices helps reduce salt intake and also seasons meat and vegetables for better flavor. Winn thinks the appearance, change in texture and flavor may be the most problematic aspect of substitutions.

“If you change ingredients, don’t expect the food to taste the same as the original,” Winn said. “It might be almost the same, but most of the time there will be a slight difference. Sometimes in baking you will have to learn to adjust to get the right consistency of the food.

Winn said there’s really no limit to substitutions because substitution varies from person to person. Some substitutions may be easy to make, but others may not match individual tastes or how people prefer the consistency of their foods.

If a certain food needs to be replaced and the cook is having trouble finding a solution, Winn said a simple Google search or can do the trick. Most cookbooks also have a section dedicated to detailing substitutions and the ratios needed to make the substitution.

“Try a substitution; if you don’t like it, try another substitution,” Winn said. “Food substitutions are like other substitutions you make in life. Try it and if you like it, try again. If not, there are other substitutions to try.

Skyler Hammons writes for the Tahlequah Daily Press.

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