Sometimes your kitchen can feel like an office. You can change that by making a hobby out of cooking. Your kitchen is like an oasis, and everyone knows that when you spend some time in there, the result is going to be a delectable dish for all to enjoy. The following tips can give you a start toward becoming an excellent cook.

Herbs and spices should be stored in an area of your kitchen that is cool and dark. Your spices and herbs will lose some of their flavor when exposed to light, humidity and heat. Usually herbs and ground spices tend to stay fresh for about a year. Whole spices might retain their flavors for three to five years. If spices are stored properly there is a better chance that they will stay fresher for a longer period of time

Always keep your spices away from light in a cool place. Shelf life can be significantly decreased for those spices which have been exposed to too much light, dampness and heat. Keeping your spices in a cooler space with little light will enhance their flavor and shelf life. Using fresh spices makes meals even more delicious.

By completing some food preparation ahead of time you can simplify your cooking process. Look at your recipe and decide which steps you can do in advance without worry of food spoilage. Do the prep work the day before. This is a great time saver, and can make that complex recipe into something that is quick and fun.

Burger patties often stick to the frying pan or grill during cooking and fall apart when you try to flip them. You can use a brush to apply some vegetable oil to the grill and make it to where nothing will stick to it.

When you put flour or other baking needs away, put them in a vacuum seal holder. Airtight containers are advantageous for several reasons. They prevent air exposure from lessening the freshness of your foods, and they also keep the bugs out. You can purchase them at many places, and they are well worth the money.

When cooking with garlic, use the freshest bulbs you can find. Garlic that is fresh is sweeter than garlic that is not. Fresh garlic is firm, not shriveled or soft.

The stress of making dinner can be alleviated by prepping certain ingredients the night before. You can marinate the meat, make a sauce and cut up some vegetables and onions before going to bed. This will help you to feel less stressed when you have to cook the following day.

Try drying your own fresh tomatoes. Cut Romas tomatoes in lengthwise halves, or slice ripe regular tomatoes into half inch slices for drying. Place the resulting tomato pieces on a rack, then salt their exposed flesh lightly. The rack should then be placed on a baking sheet in an oven set to 190 degrees for no more than 10 hours. Finally, place your dried tomatoes in freezer safe bags and store in the freezer. You can store dried tomatoes in an olive oil filled jar. Add fresh herbs for seasoning. Put this jar in the fridge and use it up in two weeks time.

Do not forget to replace your spices twice a year. The flavor of spices diminishes if they sit around for too long. 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.

To minimize the effort involved with cooking, clean the dishes you use as you move throughout the cooking process. For a lot of people, the worst part of cooking is the cleaning up. It’s easier to wash bowls after they have just been used, and they’ll be available for you to use again if you need them.

Be creative in your cooking. Use recipes as guidelines rather than step-by-step instructions. You can add a little of one thing, or take out something else, to suit your tastes and enhance the recipe. Now that is a real cook!

For an improvement to your pasta sauce, save some of the water used to cook the pasta. Save about one quarter cup of this water. The water should be added to the sauce and pasta mixture. The starch from the pasta water will add body and a “creaminess” to your sauce through amalgamation.

Mold these ideas into your own methods and meals and feel free to experiment whenever possible. Take the time to learn how to cook, and your family should truly enjoy gathering around the dinner table every day. The process of cooking can contribute largely to your overall health and nutrition as well as your lifestyle. Make eating a pleasure instead of a necessity.

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