Most people simply view cooking as a means to an end. But for many, cooking is an enjoyable hobby, something to look forward to. Cooking can be used as a tool to get you and your family healthier. The best cooks are always expanding their knowledge and skill set, and this article is going provide you with some advice which could help you to improve your own cooking.

Spices should be stored in an area with little light and low temperatures, like a pantry. Exposing spices to heat, humidity, and light will shorten their lifespan. You can preserve the flavor and freshness of your spices by storing them in a dark, cool spot. Using fresh spices will make your food taste better.

If you are seasoning meat, cook a little piece of it to test the seasoning before cooking it all. Foods such as meatballs, meatloaf and hamburgers too all require delicate seasoning. Once you add seasoning, it is not wise to cook all the meat. Cook a small portion first to sample. The aroma of the food as it cooks will also give you a clue to the amount of seasoning you need to add.

Keep your kitchen knives sharp. It is difficult to cut ingredients using dull knives and they are also dangerous to use as well. If you are putting too much pressure onto the knife due to its dullness, the likelihood of having an accident is increased.

Always cook what you know whenever you are cooking for someone special. Don’t experiment with recipes or ingredients that you’ve never used before. Cooking will become less stressful.

Apples are used a great deal to cook in the winter and fall months, however it is important to store them properly to prevent spoiling. Apples need to be kept loosely in plastic bags while in your refrigerator or basement because they rot in dry, warm air. Be warned, there is a reason for the old adage about the rotten apple! If you fail to quickly discard spoiled apples, the rest will quickly spoil as well.

To make your French fries crispier, let the raw potatoes soak for about half an hour in cold water prior to frying. Vegetables fibers can breakdown under high heat conditions. Soaking reinforces these fibers to produce better results.

To eat healthier and get rid of unwanted weight, it is important to use less oil when you cook. These types of foods contain many unnecessary fats you can live without. A good alternative to using butter and oil is to use a low-fat cooking spray. Even better, you can use nonstick pans and eliminate oil altogether.

Skewers should always be soaked in cold water for a minimum of 30 minutes before they are used in cooking. This keeps them from burning up while the food is cooking on them. You can prevent food from sliding off skewers by using parallel skewers for twice the support of the food.

Substitute water for other more flavorful liquids, in order to spice up your meals. Broth is a great substitute for water, and milk adds delicious flavor and extra nutrition to soups and stews. If a recipe calls for milk, try using buttermilk, yogurt or sour cream. Using different liquids can add nutritional content to certain dishes and improve their flavor.

To avoid getting overwhelmed when preparing a dinner, make preparations a day in advance. You can marinate the meat, make sauces, grate cheese and cut up veggies before retiring for the evening. You’ll be less stressed when cooking the following day.

Some ingredients can leave a rather strong odor on your cutting board. Put a waterproof mark on the end of the cutting board so you’ll know which side to use.

If you are planning a complex meal, reduce your stress by doing the prep the night before. There are a lot of things you can do ahead of time like chopping vegetables, measuring seasonings and gathering all the utensils you will need. Also verify that you aren’t missing any ingredients. When it comes time to cook, all you will have to worry about is assembly and cook time.

Be creative in your cooking. It is not always about following a recipe letter for letter. By adjusting the amounts of various ingredients, you can change the taste slightly, and improve upon the original recipe. That is the definition of a true cook!

Again, good cooks are always looking for new ideas. Joy that comes from cooking comes not just from preparing a meal, but also from learning about various foods, and acquiring new cooking skills and techniques. In addition, it provides you with the pleasure of teaching others the wonderful things you have learned. Not only is cooking a learned skill, it is also a gift you can share with others.

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