When you start learning how to cook, it is important to understand that you must start somewhere. Not everyone knows how to cook naturally. But, anyone has the power to learn how to cook. There are a few important pieces of information that will make you become a better cook. In this article, we will offer you good advice to get you started.

If you keep herbs and spices handy, make sure you are keeping them in a dark, cool area. Humidity, light and heat can cause your spices and herbs to lose their flavor. In general, herbs and spices that are ground will retain their flavor for up to one year. Spices that are not ground can keep their flavors for 3 to 5 years. Proper storage can extend their shelf life even longer.

You want to make certain you have the prep work done ahead of time. This is why it’s called prep work, because this is what you want to have done before you begin cooking. Cooking can get stressful when you’re working to deadline. Get everything prepared at least a day ahead of time.

Pie crusts and tart crusts should be cook a bit past the point that you think they should be cooked. They need to be a golden caramel color rather than pale blonde. When the crust is a golden color then you know the sugar has caramalized and you will have a sweet and crispy result.

Have you ever needed to throw away moldy fruit and felt guilty about it? Are you tempted to just cut off the moldy part and save the rest for your meal? Half-rotten fruit is not save worthy. There is no way to use this food without compromising your health. Mold grows inward to places that you can’t even see and can make you sick so throw moldy fruit in the garbage.

It is a good practice to place cut potatoes in a bath of cold water for about half and hour, before frying in order to get crispy fries. When your potatoes soak up cold fluids, their fibers are reinforced. This means that they will hold up better to the heat necessary for the frying process.

Sometimes when someone’s grilling a hamburger, it will get stuck to the grill which makes it difficult to get off the grill. Try brushing the grill using vegetable oil prior to cooking so you can avoid sticking.

Take a look at the nutrition facts when you buy ingredients to cook with. You will often find unhealthy ingredients in one of your cooking essentials. You must make sure that your ingredients are not high in either sodium or sugar because these may cause health problems if consumed in large amounts.

If you are preparing a recipe that calls for milk or water, try substituting with an alternate liquid to add new flavor to your meals. For example, you might try chicken broth or beef broth instead of water in a meat dish. You might even try fruit juice when cooking certain veggies. Sour cream, buttermilk and yogurt make good milk substitutes. Changing up the liquids in your recipes can add nutrition, while livening up a standby dish.

Any food that needs seasoning should have the seasoning added while the food is being cooked. Depending on the type of food, this can be an excellent way to improve the flavor and extend the seasoning.

Get the most from garlic by buying only the freshest bulbs you can find. Fresh garlic has a sweeter taste. If your garlic is not shriveled up or soft and has a nice and firm skin, your garlic is fresh.

Protect your investment in herbs and spices by storing them correctly – in a cool, dark space. Herbs and spices stored above the range or in direct sunlight will degrade their flavors.

Replace your spices every six months at the very least. When spices are stored for too long, their flavor degrades, resulting in a less potent spice. If you don’t use a spice very often, and it will go bad before you have to replace it, give some to family and friends.

You may never become a professional chef, but by following some simple directions, you will become a good cook in no time at all. Cooking is not as difficult as it first seems. If you apply the tips you have learned here, you’ll be unstoppable.

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