If you are just getting started learning how to cook, remember that everyone must start with the basics. Cooking does not come naturally to everyone. Everyone can learn to cook, though. There are some crucial things you need to know so that you can cook well. These tips will guide you through the process of improving your cooking skills.

Keep your spices and herbs in a dark, cool place. When exposed to light and heat, spices will lose their sharpness and flavor. As a general rule, keep your ground spices no more than one year. Whole spices can stay fresh for up to five years. Storing your spices properly can help you achieve a longer shelf-life for your spices.

The prep work comes first. This is why it’s called prep work, because this is what you want to have done before you begin cooking. Sometimes even when the prep work is done, the deadline for when the meal must be completed can still loom large and become stressful. Try and prepare your ingredients ahead of time to avoid unnecessary stress.

If you are just beginning your adventure with home cooking, look online, at a bookstore, or at the library for a cookbook that has simple, easy recipes that you’ll take pleasure in both preparing and eating. Try some recipes and be patient as you develop your skills.

Keep spices in a dark and cool place. When spices are exposed to light and heat, they lose their flavor and it reduces their storage life. Keep spices fresh by storing them away from light and humidity. Fresh spices offer better taste profiles than stale ones.

A good tip when using cooking oil is to put some on the sides of the pan while cooking. This way, it will already be hot when it gets near the food. This will make your food more flavorful when it is ready to serve.

Do you ever hesitate to toss moldy food? You may wonder if it’s okay to salvage them by trimming away the moldy parts. Sadly half rotten fruit is something you can never really save. These foods can cause you to become ill, as mold goes much deeper than the eye can see.

To reduce the calories and fat of mashed potatoes, and to avoid sacrificing taste or texture, replace some potatoes with the same amount of cauliflower. Cauliflower tends to have a bland taste, so this will blend nicely with the potatoes, and will pick up other ingredients, as well. Additionally, mashed cauliflower has the same texture and color as mashed potatoes, so no one will know that you’ve boosted the veggie content of the dish while removing calories.

Do you enjoy preparing dishes that contain fresh basil? Store the basil within a glass. Then cover the stems of the basil with water. This way it will stay fresh for days, even weeks, right on your countertop! If you are sure to add fresh water, your basil will even form roots and become a plant. Trim your basil plants back a bit to encourage new growth, and keep enjoying your basil for a long time.

No matter what you are cooking, fresh ingredients are always much better than dried or frozen ingredients. Whenever possible, incorporate fresh ingredients; they enhance the flavor of other ingredients and may even be less expensive.

When you do this, the mushroom will become absorbent and soak up the water. Instead, get a wet, clean cloth and wipe off the mushroom by hand.

Garlic may be a tasty addition to your meals, but the smell that stays on your hands is a bit of a downside. An easy way to remove the smell is to rub your hands on a stainless steel surface like your sink. Not only will your hands smell better, but the next food you touch won’t have a garlicky smell.

When you make chicken stock, a good piece of advice is to make it in a big quantity. Making more than you need in a large pot can allow you to have some left over to store in the freezer for later use. Many great recipes including soups, casseroles and stews call for a base of chicken stock. To preserve your stock for future use, just simply make sure that it is stored in heavy duty freezer bags and frozen solid. This way the stock should keep for several months or so.

Everyone might not be born with the talent for cooking, but if you can learn and follow a recipe, you can indeed turn into an amateur chef. Learning how to cook is not as hard as you think. Follow these simple tips to get started.

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