Culinary Terms I-J


Ice Bath

A mixture of ice and water used to chill a food or beverage rapidly.

Iceberg Lettuce

A variety of crisp head lettuce with a compact spherical head of pale green leaves that become whitish-yellow toward the center; developed in the United States at the end of the 19th century.

Ice Chipper

A metal ice-carving tool resembling a small rake; it has a 2-in. wide band with six 1-in. long spikes.

Ice Cream

A rich, frozen dessert made with dairy products, sugar, eggs and various flavorings; the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) requires products labeled ice cream to contain at least 10% milkfat and 20% milk solids.

Iced Coffee

A beverage of coffee, a sweetener and milk or cream; served chilled with ice in a glass.

Ice Milk

A frozen dessert made with dairy products, sugar, eggs and flavoring; similar to ice cream but made with less milkfat, sugar and milk solids.


A sweet covering or filling such as buttercream or ganache; used for cakes and pastries; also known as frosting.

Icing Stencil

A flat plastic disk with words and/or designs cut out of it; it is pressed onto the cake top, leaving an indention that provides a pattern to be followed when squeezing icing from a pastry bag.

Imitation Cheese

A dense, rubbery, cheeselike food product made from dairy by-products and soy products mixed with emulsifiers, flavoring agents and enzymes; it tends to have little flavor other than salty.

Immersion Blender

A small, narrow, handheld blender with a rotary blade at one end; portable, it has variable speeds and can be immersed directly into a pot; whisk attachments are available.

Individually Quick Frozen (IQF)

A preservation method in which each individual item of food (e.g., a slice of fruit, berry or fish) is rapidly frozen before packaging; IQF foods are not packaged with syrup or sauce.

Induction Cooking

A cooking method that uses a special coil placed below the stove top’s surface in combination with specially designed cookware to generate heat rapidly with an alternating magnetic field.

Infrared Cooking

A heating method that uses an electric or ceramic element heated to such a high temperature that it gives off waves of radiant heat that cook the food.


To steep a seasoning or food in a hot liquid until the liquid absorbs the item’s flavor.

Injected Meat

A cut of meat that has had a curing solution introduced throughout it by injection or pumping; also known as pumped meat.

In Season

A menu term indicating that the product is readily available in its fresh state.


A processed food or a food from which water has been removed; it is ready to use or consume once rehydrated with the appropriate amount of hot or cold water or other liquid.

Instant Coffee

1. A powdered soluble extract made by heat-drying freshly brewed coffee.
2. The reconstituted beverage, usually hot, made from the extract.

Instant Read Thermometer

A thermometer used to measure the internal temperature of foods; the stem is inserted in the food, producing an instant temperature readout.

In The Rough

A lobster cooked whole and served in the shell, usually outdoors.


1. A trace mineral principally used as a component of the thyroid hormone thyroxine that helps regulate growth, development and metabolic rate; significant sources include iodized salt, fish, shellfish and many plant foods.
2. A food additive used as a nutrient supplement, principally in table salt.

Iodized Salt

Table salt (sodium chloride) containing potassium iodide, a source of the essential nutrient iodine.


A trace mineral principally used for forming hemoglobin and myoglobin and to assist energy utilization; significant sources include red meat, fish, shellfish, eggs, legumes and dried fruits as well as foods to which iron has been added as a nutrient supplement.

Italian Bread

An American term for a variety of chewy, hard-crusted yeast breads made with flour, water, yeast and salt.

Italian Buttercream

A creamy frosting made by beating softened butter into cooled Italian meringue; also known as meringue buttercream.

Italian Dressing

A salad dressing consisting of olive oil and wine vinegar or lemon juice and seasoned with oregano, basil, dill, garlic and fennel.

Italian Meringue

A fluffy, shiny meringue made by slowly beating hot sugar syrup into whipped egg whites; when used as a cake frosting, known as boiled icing.

Italian Parsley

A variety of parsley with flat, darker green leaves and a stronger, coarser flavor than curly parsley; generally used fresh as a flavoring; also known as flat-leaf parsley.

Italian Sausage

A style of pork sausages seasoned with garlic and fennel seeds; available in medium-sized links, there are two principal types: hot (flavored with red chiles) and sweet (without the chiles).

Jalapeno (hah-lah-PEH-nyoh)

A short, tapering chile with a thick flesh, a moderately hot, green vegetal flavor and a dark green color (a red version is also available; it is a green chile that has been allowed to ripen); available fresh or canned and named for the Mexican city of Jalapa.


A fruit gel made from fruit pulp and sugar.

Jambalaya (juhn-buh-LI-yah)

A Creole dish of ham, shrimp, crayfish and/or sausage cooked with rice, tomatoes, green peppers, onions and seasonings.

Jarlsberg (YAHRLZ-behrg)

A Norwegian Emmental-style cheese made from cow’s milk; it has a pale yellow interior with large holes and a delicate, sweet, nutty flavor.

Jars, Mason

Glass containers with threaded necks made especially for home canning, pickling and preserving; they range in size from 4 oz. to 1/2 gallon; most brands use two-part self-sealing lids; tapered Mason jars, larger at the mouth than at the base, can be used for freezing and canning.

Jasmine Flowers

The aromatic white to pale yellow flowers of several jasmine shrubs or vines that can be used in fruit salads or as flavoring for ice creams, sorbets and tisanes.

Jasmine Rice

A young, tender rice with a strong flowerlike aroma and a delicate flavor; used in Thai and Vietnamese cuisines.

Jasmine Tea

A blend of Chinese black and green teas scented with jasmine petals; the beverage is light and fragrant and best served without milk or lemon.


1. A clear, shiny mixture of cooked fruit juice and sugar thickened with pectin; its texture is soft but firm enough to hold its shape when unmolded; used as a spread for bread or a glaze on pastries.
2. British for any gelatin dessert.

Jelly Roll Cake

A thin sheet of sponge cake spread with jam, jelly or other fillings, then rolled up; the cake is cut crosswise into pinwheel slices.

Jelly Roll Pan

A rectangular baking sheet with 1-in. deep sides; used for baking a thin cake.


Thin strips of meat, usually beef or turkey, dried in the sun or an oven; they typically have a salty flavor and a tough, chewy texture.

Jerusalem Artichoke

Not related to the artichoke, this member of the sunflower family has a lumpy, multipronged, brown-skinned tuber that has a crunchy texture and a nutty, sweet flavor; it can be eaten raw, cooked or pickled; also known as a girasol and sunchoke.

Jicama (HEE-kah-mah)

A legume that grows underground as a tuber; this large, bulbous root vegetable has a brown skin, a white flesh, a crisp, crunchy texture, and a sweet, nutty flavor; peeled, it is eaten raw or cooked; also known as ahipa, Mexican potato and yam bean.


1. A standard 1.5-fl. oz. measure used for mixed drink recipes, usually for the amount of liquor; also known as a shot.
2. The glass, metal, plastic or ceramic vessel used to measure this amount.
3. A whiskey glass of this size.


Johannisberg Riesling (yoh-HAHN-ihss-berk)

1. The true Riesling wine grape grown in Germany; the name is used in California to distinguish this grape from other varieties that are not true Rieslings; also known as White Riesling (especially in Oregon and other states).
2. A white wine made from this grape; generally fruity, it can range from light and crisp to full bodied and rich.


1. A griddle cake made of cornmeal, salt and boiling water or cold milk; also known as a hoecake.
2. A Caribbean breakfast food made from flour, water, salt and baking powder, shaped into balls and fried.

Jonathan Apple

An all-purpose apple native to North America with a bright red skin, a tender flesh and a sweet-tart flavor.

Jug Wine

A wine, usually an inexpensive table wine of no particular character, sold in a large bottle such as a magnum or Jeroboam.


1. To extract the juice of a fruit or vegetable.
2. The liquid released or squeezed from any raw food, whether animal or vegetable, but particularly fruit.
3. The blood and other liquids that run from meat or poultry during cooking.
4. The liquid surrounding the flesh of certain shellfish, such as an oyster, when first opened; also known as liquor.


1. A cocktail made from gin, rum or a distilled spirit and sometimes flavored with citrus juice.
2. A cocktail made from bourbon, sugar and mint served with finely crushed ice; also known as a Mint Julep.

Julienne (ju-lee-en)

1. To cut a food into a julienne shape.
2. Foods cut into a matchstick shape of approximately 1/8 X 1/8 X 1/2 in.
3. A garnish of foods cut in such a shape.

Juniper Berry

The dried, aromatic, blue-black berry of an evergreen bush; used to flavor gin and savory dishes; also known as a box huckleberry.

Jun Jing (june geeng)

Chinese for dragon well and used to describe a very fine green tea from Chinkiang province; the beverage is lightly colored and freshly flavored.

Jus (zhoo)

French for juice.

Jus Lie (zhoo lee-ay)

A sauce made by thickening brown stock with cornstarch or similar starch and often used like a demi-glaze, especially to produce small sauces; also known as fond lie.