Humans need food for survival; that’s not a secret. However, food can do so much more than simply help us to survive. Cooking a great meal can be even more rewarding than eating a good meal. Here are some tips that will kick your cooking skills up a notch.

If you are just starting out with cooking, consider doing your research at your local library. There are plenty of cookbooks with simple recipes available. Work your way through a few different recipes, but do not allow yourself to become discouraged during the learning process.

Use sharp knives to prepare your favorite meals. Dull knives make it harder to cut and are more dangerous to use. 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.

Prepare dishes that you’re an expert at when you’re cooking for someone important in your life, such as a supervisor or a new partner. That would be a bad time to experiment with the unknown, whether it is an untried recipe or ingredient. Preparing a meal that you are comfortable with can really help to reduce your stress level.

Have you felt sorry for tossing moldy fruit away? Is it possible to simply cut out the moldy, rotten part of the fruit? Fruit that is rotting cannot be safely eaten. Discard them, as mold goes deeper than the eye can see and can make you quite ill.

For crispier French fries, let raw potatoes stand for 30 minutes in a cold pot of water. Doing this increases the strength of the fiber in the potatoes, which means that they don’t break down as quickly during the deep frying phase.

You can reduce the fat and calorie content of regular mashed potatoes by substituting part of the potatoes with mashed cauliflower. This won’t affect the taste but it adds a handful of nutrition. You will not even taste the cauliflower in with the potatoes, because it is so bland. Cauliflower is also the same texture and color of potatoes when mashed so it’s a great way to add more veggies, while lowering calories from classic mashed potatoes.

Do you enjoy the flavor of fresh basil? Try placing clumps of fresh basil into a clear, glass container. Next, fill the glass so that the stems are fully submerged. This will allow it to stay fresh for weeks! The basil will grow roots if you occasionally change the water. Also trim the basil every now and then to facilitate growth. Enjoy fresh basil on a regular basis.

If you want the cooking process to be both faster and easier, prepare as much as you can ahead of time. Examine recipes and identify which preparations can take place well in advance without risking spoilage. You can prepare a lot of food the day prior to actually cooking. This is a great time saver, and can make that complex recipe into something that is quick and fun.

While garlic is excellent for cooking, it can also be absorbed into your hands. An easy way to remove the smell is to rub your hands on a stainless steel surface like your sink. This will clean your hands and keep the smells from permeating whatever food you are handling next.

Sometimes when someone’s grilling a hamburger, it will get stuck to the grill which makes it difficult to get off the grill. Because of this, you should use vegetable oil to brush the grill prior to cooking so that you can prevent the meat from sticking.

When serving salad to guests, always offer the dressing on the side rather than pouring it directly on the salad. Some people prefer more dressing than others; let guests pour their own dressing. You should also provide a large variety of dressings to serve your guests.

If you love to use herbs and spices, make sure you keep them in a dark, cool place to keep them fresh. Storing these items in warm locations will lead them to lose their flavor quicker.

Learning how to cook is as much fun as eating. Try out a few of the tips provided here and you’ll be on your way to enjoying your cooking experience even more. Your skills will get better and people will bug you to cook for them!

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