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Kitchen Queries

Welcome to Kitchen Queries, where the nigella.com team will answer your cooking or food related questions.  We’d love you to submit some of your recipe problems, dilemmas or queries for us to get our teeth into!

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  • Storing Muscavado Sugar

    I had some muscovado sugar which turned hard. I have managed to moisten the sugar using a damp cloth over a basin, but how do I store it and also keep it moist?

    From the nigella team:

    Muscovado sugar is moist, soft sugar that comes in dark brown and light brown forms (for the US the equivalent is dark brown or light brown sugar). It is used in baking and for sprinkling and Nigella uses it in her Caribbean Creams recipe as it melts easily. If the moisture from the sugar evaporates then the sugar crystals stick together and form hard lumps. To avoid this it is best to try and keep the sugar in an airtight container and in a cool, dark place. It can also help to seal the sugar in a reselable bag before putting it into the container, especially in the winter in centrally heated houses.

    Some people recommend tricks such as using a slice of bread or a special teracotta disc, but we have not tried these ourselves and prefer to prevent the sugar drying our by correct storage.

    If the sugar has already dried out then you can put it in a bowl and cover it with a damp clean cloth or paper towel. Cover the bowl tightly with clingfilm (plastic wrap) and leave to stand until the sugar softens (this can take a day). A quicker version is to microwave the bowl of sugar in 10 second bursts and stir it with a fork in between, until the sugar has softened. If you do this make some small holes in the clingfilm first.

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