Learning to cook is an extremely useful life skill, as well as an asset to anyone. Food prepared in your own kitchen is healthier, more tasty and lighter on your wallet.

There are a few things you need to know if you are considering cooking with skewers. If you are using metal skewers, the square or twisted kind are much better than round ones for holding food in place.

For a delicious take on pie crusts, bake them for longer than the recipe calls for. Your crust should be a deep caramel as opposed to a light goldenrod. The color on your pie signifies that the caramelizing process is complete in your crust, yielding a scrumptious dessert.

Protect your spice and herb collection by storing your jars at room temperature in a dark place. Moisture, light and heat can affect the flavor of your spices. Another little known fact is that ground spices tend to lose their flavor quicker than whole spices. You may retain your spice’s flavor for about 5 years. If you store them correctly, they will stay fresh for an even longer period of time.

There is a great trick to thicken up your sauce so it isn’t wasted. In a bowl, combine a tablespoon of cornstarch with two tablespoons of water. Stir the mixture into the thin sauce and it will get thicker. Be sure to slowly add the starch solution to your sauce until you achieve the desired thickness.

When making a stir-fry meal, meat should always be thinly sliced, and cut on the bias. This may take some patience and it can be a bit time-consuming. Remove the meat before it is frozen, but still firm, and slice it at 45 degrees against the grain.

You should try a small portion of the meat you are cooking when seasoning meats. Take care when seasoning foods like hamburgers, meatloaf or meatballs. Therefore, you should never cook the whole cut of meat after seasoning it. Section off a small bit and cook it. Then, you can cook the rest of it, or adjust your seasonings as needed.

To make slicing meat into thin strips a little easier, partially freeze it. This is perfect for meals that require really thin meat such as Chinese or Thai dishes. If the meat is partially frozen, a sharp knife will create perfect thin strips, as it will be less likely to tear or stretch the meat fibers. For the most even cooking, you should let the strips thaw before you cook them.

Apples are very popular in cooking in fall and winter, but the spoilage rate is high if they are not stored correctly. Apples will be ruined if they are stored in a warm place, make sure you store them in the fridge or in a cool place. Quickly remove any apples that are rotting, because they will cause the other apples to spoil quicker.

If you are having guests over for dinner, cook a meal you are confident making. Don’t try to create a new dish when you’re not experienced in cooking it already. This can make cooking less of a chore.

Popular French fried potato recipes suggest soaking the potatoes in water for 30 minutes before cooking them. When you soak sliced potatoes in cold water, it strengthens their fibers, so that they can stand up to the heat when being deep fried.

This seasoning can be used with various foods other than meat. It can add flavor to all manner of foodstuffs, such as scrambled eggs. You will have everyone asking what the secret spice is!

Vegetables that are cooked more quickly will be of higher quality. Though slow cooking is popular in some cultures, the process actually eliminates important nutrients and renders the vegetables tasteless. These cooking techniques will yield vegetables that are healthier and taste great as well. Adapting the principle of faster cooking times is a crucial element in serving better quality vegetables to your family and friends.

Soak wooden skewers before cooking with them. They need to sit in water for about half an hour before they are used. By soaking, you can prevent the skewers from burning while cooking your food. To prevent food from falling from the skewers, use two parallel skewers rather than just one.

When burgers and other foods become stuck to the grill grates, it can be hard to loosen them without damaging the food. Because of this, you should use vegetable oil to brush the grill prior to cooking so that you can prevent the meat from sticking.

To keep your dried herbs and spices flavorful, keep your spice rack tucked away somewhere cool and dark. Herbs and spices stored above the range or in direct sunlight will degrade their flavors.

Chicken Stock

Make sure that you do not dispose of any leftovers after your Thanksgiving dinner. Cut the leftover meat and put it away in airtight containers. The turkey will stay fresh for several weeks, and you can use it for sandwiches or salads.

When you are making chicken stock, think in terms of high volume. Plan on preparing a large pot of stock in order to freeze it for storing. You can use your homemade chicken stock for soups, casseroles and stews. Put the stock into freezer bags and put it in your freezer.

Make sure you thoroughly clean your utensils before starting to cook. If there is food leftover after washing, this could ruin whatever you are going to cook. Failure to clean utensils properly could also spread food borne illness.

If you have a recipe that requires water or milk, you can change out the liquids to create a whole new flavor. Juices, beef broth, or vegetable broth can all be used as a substitute for water. Some great replacements for milk are sour cream, yogurt and buttermilk. Adding different and interesting liquids to a recipe can help the dish become more interesting and nutritious.

Think about making your own stock for more flavor. Make a lot at once, so that you can divide it into batches and store it in the freezer. This ensures you will have tasty, homemade stock available when you need it for soups, stews and many other dishes. An enormous benefit of cooking your own soup stock or broth is that you know and control the ingredients in the stock.

Try drying your own fresh tomatoes. Prepare by cutting ripe tomatoes into half-inch-thick slices or slicing Roma tomatoes in half down their long axis. Place the resulting tomato pieces on a rack, then salt their exposed flesh lightly. After placing the rack atop a cookie sheet, allow the tomatoes to dry for 10 hours in an oven at 190 degrees. Place them in the freezer in plastic bags. For flavored olive oil add some dried tomatoes and fresh herbs in a good quality extra virgin olive oil and store out of direct sunlight. The tomatoes will need to be refrigerated and should be consumed within a couple of weeks.

When cooking, make it a habit to wash up dishes as you are using them. Fill one section of your sink with soapy hot water, and use the other side for rinsing. It’s easier to wash cooking utensils right after their use.

If you prefer to use spices and herbs, make sure they are stored in a cool, dark place, so their freshness and flavor is preserved. If your spice collection is exposed to too much heat or light, it will break down the flavors.

An excellent suggestion is to purchase solid cutting utensils for use in your kitchen. Dull knives make everything take longer and are also more dangerous. Dull knives cause more accidents than sharp ones.

Make homemade stock to create tastier dishes. Extra stock can be stored in the freezer and used later. Doing so will give you the best stock for any dish that calls for it. Making the stock yourself will allow you to know that you are using a stock that is not loaded with preservatives.

A meat thermometer should be used to check that the meats have been properly cooked. Follow the recommended guidelines for the correct internal temperature for each kind of meat. Bacteria can easily survive in meat, so unless it is thoroughly cooked, this bacteria can stay in the meat and make you ill.

When you follow this advice, cooking homemade food will come easy to you. As you improve on your skills, you will see how fun, and relatively inexpensive, cooking for yourself or your family can be. Eating good home cooking will create a healthy and happy style of living for yourself and those around you. So take advantage of the information provided here and start creating great tasting meals in your own kitchen.

Not all potatoes are the same, and if you substitute one type of potato for another, your dish may not come out like you expected. Different potatoes have different tastes and textures, making them ideal for some very different recipes. When cooking those foods, try using fluffier potatoes, including Russets.

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