Learning to cook well is a vital skill, and you should invest the time to get good at at in order to care well for yourself and your friends and family. There are many rewards you receive from cooking, which include better health, improved social skills and saving money. The tips below will give you a ton of knowledge on cooking.

Give pie and tart crust a little longer baking time than you normally would for the best results. Let the crust go beyond light tan to a deeper, golden shade. That deeper color shows that the sugar has caramelized. This creates a crisp crust, which is also sweeter.

Spices need to be stored in a dark, cool area. Moisture, light and heat can affect the flavor of your spices. As a general rule, most of your ground herbs and spices will stay fresh for about a year if stored correctly. Whole spices might retain their flavors for three to five years. Keep spices fresh for the longest time possible by storing them correctly.

Consider adding oil to your pan’s side, rather than in the middle, so that your food is already heated when they come into contact. Your finished dishes will be enhanced and more flavorful if you do this.

Keep spices tucked away in cool, dry and dark areas. Spices will last longer when they are not exposed to warm temperatures and moist air. Try to find a cool, dark cupboard if you want to increase the flavor and lifespan of your favorite spices. Fresh spices can greatly enhance your meals, making this effort well worth your time.

If you are seasoning meat, cook a little piece of it to test the seasoning before cooking it all. Certain foods require very careful seasonings, especially dishes like meatballs, meatloaf and burgers. Do not cook all of the meat immediately after seasoning. Just cook a small piece formed into a patty. Once you have tasted your creation, make any adjustments needed to the seasoning.

The longer the cooking process, the more nutrients that you lose from most vegetables. If you want them to be healthier, try cooking them quickly by steaming or sauteing, or eat them raw!

Keep your kitchen knives sharp. Make sure your knife is not dull when you are cutting something, this is very dangerous. This is because if you are trying to cut using a dull knife you have to exert more force to make the same cut that you could easily make using a sharp knife.

To make your French fries crispier, let the raw potatoes soak for about half an hour in cold water prior to frying. Cold water will allow the sliced potato to retain its internal fibers, meaning that they are less likely to completely break down when cooked at a high heat.

For crispier French fries, put raw potatoes into cold water and let them sit there for about half an hour before frying. When potatoes are allowed to absorb cold water, the texture is able to withstand the extreme heat of cooking without breaking down and becoming mushy.

Vegetables that are cooked more quickly will be of higher quality. Slow cooking, and overcooking, vegetables will destroy their nutritional content and flavor. If you do this, it will provide you a vegetable that is higher in nutritious value. The less time you take to cook them, the better your vegetables will be.

When cooking vegetables, cook them as quickly as possible to keep their nutritional value. If you cook your vegetables for a long period of time, they might not be as nutritious. You have an added bonus, because these certain techniques make vegetables healthier in general. Cooking vegetables as quickly as possible is key to preserving their nutrients.

Fresh Basil

Would you like to cook with fresh basil? Place your basil into a large glass. Fill the container with enough water to cover the stems. Put it on top of your kitchen counter and it will be fresh for weeks! If you keep the water as fresh as you can, roots will start growing. Cut or trim basil occasionally so it grows more and you get fresh herbs every time.

Do you enjoy cooking with the flavors of fresh basil? Try putting a bunch of basil that is fresh inside a glass. Next, ensure the stems are covered with water. Store it on the counter of your kitchen; it will stay fresh for weeks. The basil can actually grow roots if you keep the water changed occasionally. Occasional pruning of the basil might instigate even more growth, which means you can have a steady supply of fresh basil even longer.

Save time and money by freezing leftover sauce in ice cube trays in the freezer. This will make reheating the sauce easy, as you can pull out as many cubes that you need for the next meal. Not to worry, it freezes well and is perfectly edible when stored this way.

Regardless of what you cook, it is always better to use fresh ingredients as opposed to those that are dried or frozen. Use fresh ingredients whenever possible, as they make the food more flavorful, and they may cost less over the long run.

Do you have a difficult time deciding how long you should grill your meat? You need to use a good meat thermometer so that you can be sure that the inside of the meat is cooked properly. If you are grilling a thicker piece of meat (over 1.5 inches), close your grill while cooking to save some time.

Mushrooms absorb large amounts of water, and this excess water will go into whatever you are cooking with. You should use a clean, wet cloth and wipe the mushroom off by hand.

Dry ground meat with a towel before you put it in the pan to remove excess moisture. Blot away the excess moisture on all ground meat before cooking. Any moisture left on the meat will be released when it’s cooked. This creates a sizzle on the surface of the meat. Searing of the meat will be inhibited and lead to steaming instead.

When you put flour or other baking needs away, put them in a vacuum seal holder. This is a good way to keep your food fresh and protect it from bacteria and bugs. You buy them pretty much anywhere and they are a beneficial asset.

Make sure you rinse onions that have been diced and blot them when you are preparing salsa that will not be used in 20 minutes. Fresh onions have sulfurous gas in them. This excessive gas can damage the flavor of fresh salsa. By rinsing the onions and blotting away the excess water, the gas is removed.

Consider drying your very own tomatoes. Start by slicing a ripe tomato one-half inch thick, or you can cut Roma tomatoes in half lengthwise. Put the tomatoes, cut-side up, onto a cooling rack and give them a light salting. The next step is to put the rack on an old cookie sheet and then place in an oven set at 190 degrees for at least 10 hours. Place them in the freezer in plastic bags. You can pack dried tomatoes in a jar stuffed with organic olive oil and your favorite freshly cut herbs. The tomatoes will need to be refrigerated and should be consumed within a couple of weeks.

A sharp knife is the cook’s bosom companion; spend the money for top-quality cutlery. Sharp utensils are safer and will save you a lot of time. Dull blades are the cause of more accidents than sharp blades.

Twice a year, you should buy all new spices. Quite often, spices pass their sell-by-date before you use them up, losing their flavor. 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.

Proper care for a wood cutting board. Wood is prone to warp or split when used as a cutting board. Food juices, plus the washing and drying process, will cause this damage. Don’t submerge the board in the sink when you clean it. Instead, use warm, soapy water and a sponge. Restore damaged boards by applying oil to it regularly, and be sure to use products specially designed for wood chopping boards. Let it dry for a while after oiling.

Dry ground meat with a towel before you put it in the pan to remove excess moisture. One good secret should always be blotting away at the built up moisture upon the meat’s surface. Leaving it can cause the liquid to release when cooking. The moisture will sizzle before your meat does. This makes it unlikely that the meat will sear properly.

Take the temperature of cooking meats with a thermometer. Each meat has minimum internal temperatures that are recommended so that it is safe to eat. Since bacteria is all around us, especially on meat, it is important that you cook your meat thoroughly to kill off this bacteria and therefore prevent you from getting sick.

If you are able to cook for yourself, it is very good for your family. Regardless of what type of food you like, cooking can enhance your life in so many ways. Takeaway foods will always have their place in moderation, but nothing will take the number one spot of a home-cooked feast.

Always use fresh seasonings and herbs in simple dishes. Applying dried herbs, such as oregano or basil, to your dish is fine as long as the dish contains many flavors and is complex. The flavor of dried herbs is more subtle and slightly different than the flavor of fresh ones. Consider planting your own herbs to guarantee a fresh and steady supply.

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