Many of us would jump at the chance to become a great chef, but the process involved can be totally overwhelming. Cooking is so accessible because you can go at your own pace, and if you try applying these tips, you can be a master chef faster than the blink of an eye.

Keep your spices and herbs in a dark, cool place. When exposed to light and heat, spices will lose their sharpness and flavor. Most ground spices will keep their flavor for at least one year. Spices that are raw, or whole, can keep the original flavor for as long as five years, though it usually falls somewhere between three and five. If they are stored properly, they will stay fresh longer.

One thing that you can do is to bake a pie or tart crust longer to optimize quality. They need to be a golden caramel color rather than pale blonde. This golden color means that the sugar has caramelized, leaving a sweet flavor.

Make sure that you cut your meat extremely thin as well as on the bias for stir-fry. Getting the perfect cut can sometimes be a challenge. Take the meat out of the freezer once it firms up (not frozen) then cut at an angle of 45 degrees across the grainy part of the meat.

When you cook vegetables quickly over high heat, their quality is best. Though slow cooking is popular in some cultures, the process actually eliminates important nutrients and renders the vegetables tasteless. Using these techniques will mean putting healthier food on the table. Cooking vegetables as quickly as possible is key to preserving their nutrients.

If you want the cooking process to be both faster and easier, prepare as much as you can ahead of time. Check recipes to find out what can be prepared ahead of time without risking spoilage. You can make a lot of your preparations a day or more in advance. You can turn a fancy meal into a fast, fun meal that can be cooked in a flash!

When you need to store dry ingredients such as flour, or sugar in your kitchen, use airtight containers. Storing food in containers that are impermeable to air helps the food last longer, and keeps insects out. These can be bought at almost any store.

When you are preparing food that you must season, do it a little at a time instead of all at the beginning. Doing this helps the food get the most flavor and more out of the ingredients you used.

When serving salad to guests, leave the dressing on the side. The amount of dressing that people use on their salad will vary, so you should give them the option of adding their own dressing. Give them a choice of salad dressings.

If making dinner every night is becoming laborious, start preparing for it the night before. Try preparing any required sauces, prepping vegetables, or marinating meats the evening before the meal will be cooked. Doing so will decrease your stress levels and enable you to look forward to the actual cooking.

Don’t waste your turkey leftovers after Thanksgiving dinner. Simply chop and seal in a freezer safe container to store in the freezer. Freezing can add weeks to the life of your leftovers and turkey can be pulled out as desired, and thawed for sandwiches or shredded for salads.

Whether your desire to cook a meal for your family or impress a date, the ability to create great meals will always be an asset. Everyone, ranging from all races, genders, and sexes, sits down to eat food. This article will put you in the right path to becoming a great cook.

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