Sometimes your kitchen can feel like an office. You can change that feeling by turning cooking into a hobby. This turns the kitchen into a place of fun and experimentation, which results in wonderful meals and time well-spent. Here are some tips to get you started.

Keep your herbs in a place that is both dark and cool. Herbs and spices can quickly lose their flavor if exposed to continuous light or heat. Generally, ground spices and herbs keep most of their flavor for a year. Whole spices, on the other hand, can retain their freshness for 36-60 months. If they are stored properly, they will stay fresh longer.

If you can, do all the preparing of the meal’s ingredients in advance. It is essential to have all prep work finished before it’s time to begin cooking. Cooking with a deadline to meet can become stressful. Try to complete your preparations, so you can avoid scrambling later on.

Store your spices in a cool, dark place. When spices are exposed to light and heat, they lose their flavor and it reduces their storage life. Spices stored in a cool, dark location will taste better and last longer. This will help every meal that you prepare taste better.

Do not throw away the product of your hard work. Start with 1 tablespoon and add more cornstarch until you reach the desired consistency. Stir the solution into the simmering thin sauce to make it thicker. Make sure you stir your sauce and stop pouring the mix once your sauce looks better.

Keep flour, sugar and other items for baking in tins with seals that keep the air out. Airtight containers keep your food fresh and protect it from bugs and bacterias. You can find them at many stores, and they are well worth their inexpensive price.

When simmering or boiling vegetables, try adding chicken broth. Chicken broth adds flavor to vegetables and prevents them from getting stuck to the bottom of the pan. Chicken broth can be found at almost all local grocery stores at a very cheap price.

Be sure to soak your wooden skewers in water for at least 30 minutes before using. This helps them avoid burning when you cook. Instead of cooking food on a single skewer, opt for two parallel skewers. This prevents the ingredients from sliding off into the fire.

Get only the freshest garlic from the grocery store when you’re preparing a recipe that calls for it. Fresh garlic has a sweeter taste. Garlic is fresh when it is firm, unbruised and has not shriveled up.

Many herbs and veggies make odors on your cutting board no matter how many times you clean it. Use a permanent pen to make a mark so you know which side you are using.

Organization is key to cooking efficiently and not letting anything burn. Just like with anything you do, the more organized you are, the more productive you will be. A lack of organization in your kitchen work areas can cause you to lose focus, among other things, and can easily result in wasted time, money, and food.

Allow your cooked food to sit a bit before it is served. It is a new idea to many, but allowing your food to rest can be quite beneficial. If you are hungry or in a hurry, you will be tempted to eat the very moment your meal is ready. However, you will miss out on great food if you do. Let your meal sit and cool off for a couple minutes before serving.

You can reduce your stress level by doing your prep work for an important meal the day or night before the event. Gather all your ingredients together, chop what needs to be chopped, measure out all the required herbs and spices and make sure you have everything that you need on hand. The next day when you have to cook your meal, all you need to think about is assembling and cooking the dish.

If you’d like to boost the flavors in your pasta sauce, it’s important to save the water you use to cook the pasta itself. Set aside a small amount of the water, about one quarter cup. When you are going to mix your pasta and sauce together, add some of the saved water. Your sauce will be thicker and creamier due to the starch provided by the water from the pasta.

Make all necessary preparations for whatever you are planning on cooking before you start cooking. You will save gas or electricity, and you will be able to focus on one thing at a time.

There are much better ways to heat tortillas. The first way is to have a preheated oven, at 350 degrees, and bake the tortillas to your liking. Another option is to place the tortillas directly on the flame of a gas stove top. You’re tortilla will be tastier if you cook it that way.

It is important to cook your meat properly, so always have a meat thermometer on hand. All types of meat should be cooked to a specific, minimum internal temperature before it can be safely consumed. Bacteria thrive on meats, and unless the meat is properly and thoroughly cooked, these bacteria can remain and cause you sickness if consumed.

Apply the advice from this article to inspire you the next time you are in the kitchen. Create artful dishes that your whole family can enjoy at the dinner table. Cooking as a hobby can enrich not only your diet but your life as well. The kitchen should be the heart of the home.

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