Even if your only cooking task is feeding your household, there is plenty that you can learn to improve your cooking talents. Learning the best ways to prepare different kinds of foods can turn your cooking from average to spectacular. Get together a repertoire of your favorite tips and you’ll be a huge success in the kitchen.
Always keep your spices away from light in a cool place. The shelf life of spices is greatly reduced if they are exposed to heat, humidity, or light. When spices are stored in an adequately dark and cool area, they tend to retain their taste and shelf life for greater periods of time. Keeping your spices fresh can improve the taste of every recipe you prepare.
To maintain the flavor and freshness of spices and herbs, make sure you keep them stored in someplace that is cool and dark. Humidity and heat, in addition to light, will cause spices and herbs to lose their flavor. As a general rule, most of your ground herbs and spices will stay fresh for about a year if stored correctly. Spices that come in the whole form will keep their flavor for around 3-5 years. The freshness can last longer if they are stored correctly.
When trying out a new marinade or seasoning, test it on a small piece of meat before you cook the entire meal. It’s hard to correct overly seasoned meat but spices can always be added. Do not try and cook the whole piece of meat right after adding seasoning. Rather, cook a small portion first. You are then able to decide whether to cook the rest of the meat that way, or adjust your seasoning accordingly.
You can start cooking simple meals out of a cookbook you can borrow from the library. That way you can try different meals that you can prepare and when you are done you can take it back. Be as patient as you can be when you are learning how to cook.
A must when cooking is the availability of sharp knives. Dull knives don’t get the job done, but in addition, are actually dangerous. You have a much higher chance of cutting yourself because you will probably have to force the knife through your food, instead of having to gently cut it.
You need to prepare to cook a meal before you can actually cook it. You need to have the ingredients readily available. Get everything set to cook the next day. Determine if you have you got the right utensils, etc. This can seriously reduce stress and anxiety levels.
When making food for someone whom you want to impress, stick to a familiar dish that you are confident preparing. Avoid trying to cook something new. This can lessen the stress of your cooking.
A good cooking tip when you use oil is to put it on the sides of the pan so it gets real hot by the time it hits the food. This will enhance the flavors of the food.
Do you cook often with fresh basil? Place a fresh bunch of basil in a jar or glass. Add water until the stems are covered. Put it on top of your kitchen counter and it will be fresh for weeks! If you provide the basil with fresh water, it will eventually root in the water and sprout a new plant. Also trim the basil every now and then to facilitate growth. Enjoy fresh basil on a regular basis.
Add cauliflower to your mashes potatoes to make this dish healthier and tastier. Their bland flavor blends effortlessly with the potatoes while taking flavor from the other ingredients. Cauliflower has the same texture and color as mashed potatoes, so the dish will be transformed into one that has more vegetables and fewer calories.
Do you have trouble deciding how long to grill your meat? Use a good meat thermometer (a digital one is more accurate) so that you can ensure the inside is cooked correctly. If you are grilling meat that exceeds a thickness of 1.5 inches, closing your grill’s lid can make better use of the heat and cook through the meat faster.
If you are going to be making chicken stock, it is best to go big or not at all. Fill a large pot of stock and freeze it for later. There are a variety of recipes that call for chicken stock, so having it on hand is always a good idea. Once your stock is cooked, let the leftovers reach room temperature, then portion them into freezer bags.
When you cook vegetables quickly over high heat, their quality is best. Using a slow cooking method is sometimes suggested, but the results are less nutritious and don’t taste as good. Speed cooking vegetables also retains the best texture and nutrition. Cooking vegetables as quickly as possible is key to preserving their nutrients.
Add some chicken broth to your pan when cooking vegetables. Try cooking your veggies in chicken broth. It adds a nice flavor, and the veggies will not stick to the pan. Chicken broth is easily purchased at almost every supermarket, and is quite inexpensive.
Replace the standby liquids of milk and water in recipes to mix things up. For instance, you can use broth, stock, juice or a bit of wine to replace the water in a recipe. Use yogurt, buttermilk or sour cream in place of milk. A good method for increasing your nutritional intake is by increasing the amount of liquids you drink throughout the day.
For a high-protein diet, meat isn’t the only source available. Tofu, lentils and beans are great protein substitutes. You can find these ingredients easily and incorporate them to many different recipes. Tofu can be fried in a pan with just a few seasonings. It is a tasty and healthy meat alternative. Beans boiled with herbs is a flavorful source of protein.
Consider drying your very own tomatoes. Prepare by cutting ripe tomatoes into half-inch-thick slices or slicing Roma tomatoes in half down their long axis. You should place them on cooling rack, and salt them lightly with the cut side up. The rack should then be placed on a baking sheet in an oven set to 190 degrees for no more than 10 hours. The tomatoes can then be placed in plastic bags and stored in the freezer. Dried tomatoes can be placed into a jar that is filled with fresh herbs and olive oil. The tomatoes will need to be refrigerated and should be consumed within a couple of weeks.
When purchasing recipe ingredients, always carefully read the label. Most common cooking supplies have hidden ingredients that are unhealthy. By reading the labels, you can check to see if the product contains sugars or sodium in high amounts. Sugars and sodium can be detrimental to your health if over consumed.
The odors of many spices and vegetables will stay on your cutting board and will be impervious to soap. This can save you from eating garlic strawberries.
Doing so will give you fresh fruit year round. You will also have fruit handy that is not normally available during that season.
Do not forget to replace your spices twice a year. When spices are stored for too long, their flavor degrades, resulting in a less potent spice. So, make sure that when you buy new spices go ahead and give half to either a friend or family member if you feel you aren’t going to use all of it soon.
When seasoning your food, add the seasonings gradually rather than dumping it all in at once. This adds a more subtle and deep flavor to your food and enhances the flavors of other ingredients to the utmost.
Buy your garlic as fresh as possible for any dish that needs the flavorful ingredient. When garlic is fresher, it will not taste as bitter. Fresh garlic is firm and lacks bruises.
It is very important to make sure your cooking utensils are clean before you start cooking. If old, leftover food is stuck on your cooking utensils, it could ruin the meal you are making. This is especially bad when bacteria is remaining on the utensil.
Leaving the bone in a roast will help if you have a limited amount of time. The meat will cook more quickly due to the heat transfer into the roaster caused by the bone. Once cooked, carve the bone out and serve the meat as normal.
Organization while cooking is necessary in order to avoid disasters, like under done or burnt food. A cooking station that is well-organized is more productive. Being disorganized can make it quite easy to make it impossible to find things when you need them, which makes you miss out on the goodies that you could be indulging in.
You should never throw away your leftover Thanksgiving turkey. Freeze cut turkey in a tightly sealed container. Leftover turkey can be used for enchiladas, pot pie, sandwiches and salads.
Homemade stock adds lots of flavor. If you make huge amounts of stock at once, you can put the excess in the freezer using resealable bags. Doing so will give you the best stock for any dish that calls for it. When you create the stock that will be used in your food, you can ensure the quality and avoid unnecessary additives and preservatives.
Wash your dishes as you go when cooking a meal. Fill one side of your sink with hot soapy water and the other with clean rinse water. Utensils and mixing bowls are easy to rinse off right after being used and will be nice and clean for the next ingredient in your meal.
The night before you are scheduled to prepare a large, multi-course meal, complete as much prep work as possible. Locate the ingredients, cut up and measure herbs and spices and look through your cupboards to make sure you have what you need. When the time comes to prepare the meal, you will now only need to assemble the ingredients and cook it.
Be creative in your cooking. Don’t always stick to the exact recipe. Add things to flavor and shake up the recipe to make it your own. Then you can consider yourself a real cook!
Your spices and cooking herbs will last longer if stored in a dry, cool, and dark place. Flavor loss occurs when they are exposed to heat, light and humidity. Being so close to the heat will only cause the flavors of your spices to fade.
An excellent suggestion is to purchase solid cutting utensils for use in your kitchen. Nobody wants to use dull knives, as they can take over twice the time to chop up ingredients, and they are more dangerous than sharp ones. A greater number of accidents occur because of dull utensils. Therefore, purchasing sharper ones decreases the chance of injury.
To ensure that your shells stay firm when making twice baked potatoes or loaded potato skins, use thick-skinned potatoes, such as russets. Red potatoes are too thin-skinned to hold up to a dense filling.
When sauteing food, avoid over-filling the pan. The moisture that the extra food volume adds will cause the food to steam, which means it won’t be as crispy as intended. Pay attention to the temperature and keep it low.
When you are creaming together butter and sugar to make cookies, make sure you have softened butter, but you don’t want it melted. If the butter has already been melted, place the butter in the freezer to harden for a couple of minutes. You can also use the melted butter in the dough and then place the mixed dough in the refrigerator. Chilled dough will result in smaller and thicker cookies.
You should always use nylon, silicone or rubber cooking utensils when using nonstick cookware. Spoons that are constructed of metal or wood can scratch your delicate pans, ruining the coating and even allowing it to get in the food you’re preparing. This can ruin your recipes, and may even be dangerous if you eat some.
Apply the tips from this article to help guide you towards having a better handle on cooking. With improved culinary skills, not only will you eat better, the people around you will eat better as well. You may be the next Julia Child.
Even though leafy greens are healthy, they are hard to cook. The stems are very dough and difficult to remove. To ease this process, simply fold the greens in half and use your hands to break the stem off. Cut the stem with a knife. Either way you do it, when the leaf is unfolded, you are left with a green with no stem.