It’s common knowledge that people require food to sustain life. However, who really wants to just survive? Cooking a great meal can be even more rewarding than eating a good meal. Here are a few tips to take your cooking skills to the next level.

You should keep your spices and herbs in a space that is cool and away from light. Many factors can cause herbs and spices to lose their flavor, especially humidity and light. Herbs and ground spices usually retain their flavor up to a year. Whole spices can keep their flavor for up to five years. They can remain fresh longer if stored properly.

When preparing stir-fry meals, cut the meat on the bias and keep it thin. There’s a trick to this, and it can take a little time. When the meat is firm, not frozen, slice it across the grain at an angle of 45 degrees.

Before frying raw potatoes, allow them to soak for half an hour in a bowl of cold water; this will result in crispier fries. 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.

Quickly cooking veggies is preferable to slow-cooking methods. If you slow cook vegetables they will lose nutritional value and taste. These quick cooking techniques will produce generally, healthier vegetable sides. Only cook vegetables as much as you have to, in order to preserve their taste and nutritional value.

Are you going to prepare food with fresh basil? Keep a fresh-cut bunch of basil inside a glass. Make sure the basil’s stems are covered in water. Put it on the counter of your kitchen in order to maintain its freshness for many weeks. Refresh the water quite often, and you will notice that the basil starts to grow roots. If you keep the basil trimmed regularly, this will promote growth and allow a decent supply of basil on an ongoing basis.

Doing this means your fruit will always be fresh. Another great benefit is that you will have certain fruits on their off season.

When making a meal that needs milk or water, try a different substitute to make the dish taste different. When a recipe calls for water, you can try chicken or beef broths. You may even want to try something like juice. Use yogurt, buttermilk or sour cream in place of milk. Mixing up the base of your sauces and soups is a great way to liven up old recipes.

Put spices in a cold dark area to preserve their freshness and flavor. When you keep them in cabinets or in warmer areas, they tend to lose flavor.

After you have eaten a turkey dinner, keep any leftovers of the meat. Instead, cut them into smaller pieces, and put in some airtight containers that will go in the freezer. Turkey will stay fresh for a couple weeks and you can use it in sandwiches or a salad.

Replace and refresh your spices twice a year. The flavor of spices diminishes if they sit around for too long. If you purchase a new spice but doubt you can use it before the flavor dries up, share some of it with a fellow cook.

It’s vital that you ensure that the utensils you cook with are clean prior to cooking. Any food particles left on a utensil could get into the food your are cooking, ruining the taste. This can also spread harmful bacteria.

Homemade stock can add flavor to many dishes. Making a large amount allows you to store some in the freezer for future meals. By doing this, you’ll always have homemade stock available whenever you are in the mood to cook soup. Creating your own stock allows you to avoid preservatives.

For the perfect sandwich, you should take the extra time to evenly spread mayonnaise over the entire surface of the bread. Don’t just plop the mayo in the center because you are pressed for time. When the mayo reaches every corner of the bread, each bite of the sandwich tastes just as wonderful as the last.

A good kitchen requires good knives. Sharp knives are less time consuming, easier, and safer to use. Dull knives actually cause more cut fingers and accidents than sharper ones.

See to it that your herbs are stored in a dry, cool and dark area. Being exposed to humidity, heat, and light will cause your spices and cooking herbs to lose some of their potency. This will overexpose your spices to heat and cause them to lose flavor.

You need to be careful not to overcook or under cook a cake. Box times are more of guidelines than the actual time a cake should be baked. This is due to various factors that can make a difference, such as elevation. To be sure, test your cake by inserting a toothpick in the cake’s middle. If it is covered in batter, your cake is not done yet. Wait until the toothpick comes out clean.

Here are some new tricks to try with oysters. Just because oysters are eaten raw usually most of the time, doesn’t mean that’s the only great way to fix them up. Place oysters that have already been opened in a broiler pan. Cover them with a small amount of cream. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and pepper and broil until oysters bubble. You could also try sauteing the oysters. Use a small amount of seasoned flour to dredge the oysters, then fry them for 2 minutes. You can also make a baked oyster dish, keeping them in the shells. Put them into a casserole dish and then add some butter and breadcrumbs over the top. Put in the oven and bake for five minutes at 425 degrees. When they are bubbling, you can serve them fresh from the oven with some bread.

Learning how to cook and making delicious dishes can be just as much fun as eating. You should not only learn basic cooking tips, but make them your own. Experiment. Change the tips you read in this article to make them work for you. Not only will you see an improvement in your cooking skills, but you will impress your loved ones.

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