It is common sense that all human beings need food in order to survive. However, survival without the enjoyment of life would be rather dull. Eating a delicious meal is always terrific, but it’s even better when that meal is one you’ve cooked yourself. Read these tips to find how to improve your cooking skills.

Always bake pie and tart crusts for longer than the recipe specifies for best results. Let the crust go beyond light tan to a deeper, golden shade. The darker color results when the sugar from the crust has started to caramelize and will have a much sweeter and crisper flavor.

When you decide to cook with skewers there are a few strategies to keep in mind. Twisted or square shaped metal skewers hold the food better than round ones will.

If you are preparing a meal for a boss or new date, cook something that you are familiar with. Don’t experiment with recipes or ingredients that you’ve never used before. This will allow you to cook with less stress.

To maintain the flavor and freshness of spices and herbs, make sure you keep them stored in someplace that is cool and dark. Heat, humidity, and light will all weaken your spices’ flavor. Spices and herbs that are ground usually retain their flavor for close to a year. Spices that are raw, or whole, can keep the original flavor for as long as five years, though it usually falls somewhere between three and five. If they are stored properly, they will stay fresh longer.

Many individuals enjoy cooking with apples when it is cooler outside, but if stored improperly, they will no longer be usable. 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. One rotten apple can actually spoil the whole bag so make sure you keep an eye your apples.

Get your ingredients squared away ahead of time. The prep work should be done before you even start cooking. Sometimes even when the prep work is done, the deadline for when the meal must be completed can still loom large and become stressful. Prep work helps take the stress out of meal planning and preparing.

For crispier French fries, let raw potatoes stand for 30 minutes in a cold pot of water. The soaking process will reinforce the vegetable fibers, and they will be better able to withstand heat when you fry them.

Cutting Yourself

When you are cooking, it is important to remember that a fresh ingredient is always better than a frozen or dried ingredient. Use fresh foods any time you can, as they bring out the best flavor of the dish, and can be real money-savers too.

Sharp knives will make cooking so much more efficient. The duller the knife, the more difficult your kitchen task will be. You are also in danger of cutting yourself if you choose a dull knife. The chance of accidentally cutting yourself while using a dull knife to cut steak is way higher than using a sharp knife to cut the same steak.

Mushrooms soak up water that you don’t want to be added to the recipe. Try using a clean, wet cloth and wiping them off instead.

Boiling and other long preparation methods tend to eliminate key nutrients in vegetables. Quick cooking methods should be used when cooking vegetables so that their nutritional value can stay in-tacked.

When you are making chicken stock, think in terms of high volume. Instead of making just what you need, make a huge pot so you have some to freeze and use later. There’s nothing better than homemade chicken stock as a flavorful base for casseroles, stews and soups. Once your stock is finished, cool it and put it in heavy freezer bags.

People mainly use plenty of apples in cooking during the winter and fall months, but if not stored properly they quickly go bad. Store them in your fridge or basement, in plastic bags that are loosely tied, as they tend to spoil in dry warm areas. Check your apples regularly. If one apple starts rotting, the whole bag will be spoiled.

To cook flavorful veggies that turn out well, use chicken broth. Chicken broth is a great way to add flavor to your vegetables while keeping them from sticking to your pan. Chicken broth costs very little, and can be bought at most any grocery store.

Fresh Basil

Never trash the leftovers after cooking a turkey for Thanksgiving or another meal. Take the leftovers, cut them up, put in a container and store in the freezer for future use. With enough leftover turkey, you can enjoy turkey sandwiches and salads for several weeks after the bird was cooked.

Lots of recipes for fresh basil? Get a sprout of fresh basil and place it in a glass. Make sure the stems are covered with water. It will remain fresh for a good amount of time just sitting on the kitchen counter! The basil can actually grow roots if you keep the water changed occasionally. Encourage growth by cutting or trimming the basil now and then, and you will be able to use fresh basil for a long time!

For the best cooking results, spices have to be replaced after six months. A lot of people keep spices too long, which makes them not taste very good. If you have spices that you don’t intend to use any time soon, give it as a gift to someone who will use it.

It can also be used on other foods, rather than just on meat. Sprinkle it on top of roasted sunflower or pumpkin seeds for a snack, or use the seasoning to top scrambled eggs. No one will know how you made that tasty food!

Clean cooking utensils are an absolute necessity when you start any cooking project. If there is food leftover after washing, this could ruin whatever you are going to cook. This can be costly because it might allow for bacteria to spread.

If you want a healthier diet, use less oil when you cook. Oil and butter both have fat that is often unnecessary. A great alternative to oils and butters is nonstick cooking sprays. These sprays give you a similar end result without the extra fat.

You can chop fresh herbs quickly by bundling them together in bunches and cutting them with scissors. The herbs will be lighter and fluffier this way, and will not be as wet as they would be if you chopped them.

That way, fruit can stay crisp and fresh all year. Plus, you will have fruits which are not available during certain periods of the year.

When baking a cake, be sure not to over or under cook it. Though recommended cooking times are a great guideline for novice cake bakers, they can be misleading, because factors such as elevation can impact the actual cook time of the cake. A good way to judge whether a cake is finished is by sticking a toothpick into the center of the cake. The cake is finished if the toothpick comes out completely clean. If it does not, and has some batter on it, it needs to be cooked longer.

Whenever you season your food, try seasoning it slowly rather than all at once. You can be sure that you are not cooking away the extra flavoring, but instead are making the desired impact that you want your spices to have.

A good way to cook is with brine. Let poultry soak in brine for one hour before you prepare it for more flavor.

Cooking Oil

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 is melted, put it in the freezer for several minutes until it hardens, or put the prepared dough in the refrigerator. When you use chilled dough, it will not spread as far on the cookie sheet.

Measure your cooking oil! Determining the exact amount of cooking oil to use rather than just dumping it on your food helps you regulate the quantity of fat in each dish. This way, you know exactly how much fat you are adding to your dish.

Making fried rice or stir fry is an excellent way to use up all the leftovers in your fridge. Dryer rice that has been cooked previously is preferred, but freshly cooked rice can be used if you simply reduce the amount of water to make it a good consistency for frying. Fry your vegetables and meat in oil, then toss them with your prepared rice and season the whole dish with garlic, ginger and soy sauce.

Don’t mix unfamiliar wine into your food. If you cook with an unfamiliar wine, you run the risk of disliking the taste of the wine and having it ruin your food. There is wine available that was made specifically for cooking.

Sometimes cooking can be stressful, especially if you are taking responsibility for the food at a large or momentous family occasion. Prep work can be done up to 24 hours before you start cooking. You can get all the equipment you need out, store perishable items together in the fridge, and put the nonperishable ingredients on a spare counter. You may even be able to measure out some of your ingredients ahead of time.

Make your own dried tomatoes. Dry your own by slicing ripe tomatoes 1/2″ thick, or cut Romas in half, lengthwise. Set them on a rack cut side up and sprinkle lightly with salt. Next, position a full rack on a baking sheet in an oven preheated to 190 degrees. Dry for approximately 10 hours. You can store your dried tomatoes in your freezer. Another option is to place the tomatoes in a jar and cover them with fresh herbs and olive oil. Kept in the refrigerator, these tomatoes will keep for a couple of weeks.

Rub your hands on stainless steel prior to washing them to eliminate odors of onions, garlic, fish and other strong ingredients. The stainless steel will help to remove the offending odor restoring your hands’ freshness. You can find stainless steel on your kitchen sink basin, on cutlery or even in specially designed stainless-steel soap bars.

Obtaining skills in the kitchen and utilizing them can be just as enjoyable as eating. Use these tips in your day to day life and improvise on them for added benefits. Your friends and family will enjoy your new hobby as much as you do.

Fruit works fabulously on a grill. Skewer sliced nectarines, melon, and peaches for a healthy treat. Cook them on a cleaned grill until you see the grill marks. Serve the fruit atop ice cream or a grilled cake.

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