To be the best cook you can be, there are some crucial things you need to know. The following article presents some ideas to improve your cooking and make you handy in the kitchen. Read on and take note of these tips so that you can cultivate your cooking prowess.

Make sure to keep your spices and herbs sealed in airtight containers, protected in a dark, cool place. Their flavor will suffer if they are exposed to heat, humidity, and light. A lot of the time, you can expect an herb or a space to retain flavor for about a year. Though if you have whole spices, you will notice the flavors are strong for 3-5 years. When stored in the correct place, they will keep their freshness for longer.

There is a secret to thicken up your weak sauce. In a separate bowl, blend 1 Tbs of corn starch with 2 Tbs of water. Slowly add this mixture to your simmering sauce to thicken it up. The mixture should be added slowly and constantly stirred so that it doesn’t get too thick.

A little-known tip for cooking with oil is to introduce it into the pan from the side; this will allow the oil to heat on its way down. Your food will taste better, and you will not have a lull in the cooking process waiting for the oil to heat up.

Give pre-cut, raw potatoes a cold water bath for a half-hour prior to frying for crispier French fries. The fibers of raw cut potatoes that have been soaked in cold water prior to hitting the deep fryer, are stronger and can handle the heat better without breakage.

This trick can save you a ton of work and it can be used immediately. You need to mix 2 tablespoons filled with water and 1 tablespoon filled with corn starch in a bowl. Stir the mixture into simmering sauce to make the sauce thicker. Be sure to gradually stir in the solution, and frequently stir the sauce so that it does not become too thick.

One way to make mashed potatoes retain their taste but contain a little less fat and calories is to replace some of them with equal amounts of cauliflower. Since cauliflower is bland, it will mix right in with the potatoes along with the other ingredients. Cauliflower mixes easily with potatoes and will become hard to notice while reducing your intake of carbs.

When you are seasoning meats, try cooking a small piece first and testing it out, before making all of it. Meats such as meatballs, hamburgers and meatloaf need to be seasoned carefully. Once you add seasoning, it is not wise to cook all the meat. Try cooking a small patty first. If you are satisfied with the flavor you can move on to the rest of the batch, or, if the flavor is off, you can add more seasonings to get the flavor right.

Nutritional Value

Popular French fried potato recipes suggest soaking the potatoes in water for 30 minutes before cooking them. A cold water soak helps the potatoes stand up to the rigors of deep fat frying.

Cooking vegetables quickly improves their overall quality. If you slow cook your vegetables, they will lose their nutritional value. These cooking techniques will yield vegetables that are healthier and taste great as well. Only cook vegetables as much as you have to, in order to preserve their taste and nutritional value.

Are you partial to using fresh basil in your cooking? Put a bunch of fresh basil in a glass. Fill the glass just enough with water so that the stems can absorb it. Keep it on a kitchen counter so you remember to use it. Change the water every few days to keep it fresh, and you might even see your basil leaves sprouting some roots. Encourage new growth by occasionally pinching back or trimming your basil.

This seasoning not only goes well with meat, but it can also work with other foods. Add this seasoning to roasted pumpkin seeds for a great snack or to scrambled eggs for your breakfast. The interesting flavor will leave everyone wondering what the secret ingredient it.

You can prepare a lot prior to cooking to streamline your cooking process. Look over your recipe and determine which items can be prepared in advance and not spoil. Much of the preparations can be finished one day prior to cooking. This will enable you to enjoy the process of creating dishes that ordinarily would be a real task.

Garlic is a wonderful ingredient in recipes, but the smell is quite difficult to remove from your hands. After chopping garlic or other pungent foods, briskly rub your palms against the surface of your stainless steel sink. This handy trick cleanses your hands so the smell will not be transferred to what you are going to touch next.

If you are looking to lose weight, then you need to decrease the quantity of oil that you use when you cook. These products contain a lot of unnecessary fat. A great alternative to oils and butters is nonstick cooking sprays. These sprays give you a similar end result without the extra fat.

If you cooked with a sauce, save the leftover sauce in an ice cube tray that you can freeze. When you need sauce for another meal, you already have individual portions, ready to grab and reheat in a pan. This process doesn’t cause the sauce to go bad, so reheat with confidence!

Save the delicious taste of summer by drying tomatoes yourself. Simply cut them into 1/2 half inch slices, or cut lengthwise for Romas. Put them facing upwards onto a cooling rack and add a little salt. Then place that on a baking sheet and dry them in an oven that is 190 degrees for 10 hours. The dried tomatoes can be put in plastic bags and frozen. Another way to preserve your dried tomatoes is in olive oil, with herbs for added flavor, in a glass jar. Put this jar in the fridge and use it up in two weeks time.

To greatly enhance your chances of weight loss and a better diet, reduce the amount of oil you use in meal preparation. Most fats are brought into a diet through oil and butter. Using a nonstick spray is a good alternative as it has the same effects without all the calories.

For more flavorful dishes, make your own stock. You can cook it in large batches, pour the extra batches into plastic freezer bags, and then simply store them in the freezer. By doing this, you’ll always have homemade stock available whenever you are in the mood to cook soup. Creating your own stock can reduce preservatives in the concoction that you cook.

For a good pumpkin cooking method, make sure the pumpkin is upright, you then want to cut it directly down in half, in the middle. Take each half cut side down and place on different baking sheets. Sprinkle some water on each baking sheet to add moisture, then bake each pumpkin half in a 350-degrees fahrenheit oven for about 60 minutes.

Invest in good cutting utensils to use in the kitchen. It will help you to save time if you have cutting utensils that are not dull and it also adds safety to your kitchen because dull knives can cause you to cut yourself accidentally. Dull blades are the cause of more accidents than sharp blades.

After Thanksgiving or any other time you cook turkey, save the leftovers. It is smarter to divide up the meat and seal it in airtight containers that you freeze. This will help the turkey to stay fresh over the next few weeks so that you can make sandwiches with the leftovers.

Trussing is when you tie your turkey with string. This helps keep the bird’s legs and wings close to his body, helping it cook more consistently. The wings and tips of the bird would burn before the body of the bird was cooked if not trussed.

If you decide on using fresh herbs, gather them in bunches and snip the stems with scissors. This is perfect for flavorful herbs like dill and parsley. When cut in this way, these herbs will have a lighter, fresher appearance.

Make sure that you store your herbs and spices in a cool, dry, dark area. Spices will rapidly lose flavor if exposed to heat, light or humidity. Such close proximity to these three factors will cause your spices to lose their flavors.

When cooking, it is always a good idea to get a little creative. Following a recipe word for word and teaspoon for teaspoon is not always what cooking is about. In some cases by making little modifications to the recipe here and there will result in a dish that is tastier than if you had used the original recipe. That is the definition of a true cook!

If you are preparing a recipe with an unfamiliar fruit or vegetable, enhance your skills as a chef by taking a moment to educate yourself about it. With a bit of homework, you will learn a lot of new things to do with a new kind of food. By taking some time to educate yourself before starting anything new in the kitchen, it will certainly pay off in flavor and experience.

Add a little salt to your cutting board whenever you are slicing up some herbs. Doing this not only adds some flavor, but it also ensures that the herbs are right where they need to be, which is on the board. Don’t over-salt; save the extra salt for the dish itself. Applying salt to the board will allow the herbs to stick better and give the meat a bit more flavor.

Fruit works especially well on the grill. Thread sliced melon, peaches or nectarines on a skewer. Place them on a grill that has been cleaned until you see grill marks. Use the cooked fruit to top off a serving of grilled pound cake or a dish of ice cream.

As previously stated, there are some tips and tricks you should learn to cook well. Some of the tips that were found in this article can even help well-established cooks become better. Whichever camp you fall into, this article has hopefully nudged you a little closer to being a real cooking wizard.

Consider using ketchup to batter ingredients that you are going to fry. Ketchup is a tasty condiment when used for dipping finished foods, but you can also dip chicken, veggies, or other breaded foods into it before rolling them in breadcrumbs. Ketchup will add a spice and dynamic to foods that you never thought about before.

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