Cooking is one of those activities that anyone can participate in. Are you able to purchase food and follow directions? Does your kitchen have the basic necessities? If the answer to these two questions is yes, then you too can learn how to cook. These tips are here to help you improve your cooking skills and prepare great dishes.

Make sure to keep herbs and spices in an area that is cool and dim. Humidity, heat and light can all cause flavors to weaken thus making your foods not able to obtain their potential. Ground herbs and spices retain their flavor for 12 months under normal circumstances. Spices which are kept whole can retain their flavor for between three and five years. When stored in the correct place, they will keep their freshness for longer.

Bake pie and tart crusts for a longer time than you think is really necessary. Your crust should be a deep caramel as opposed to a light goldenrod. This golden color means that the sugar has caramelized, leaving a sweet flavor.

Sharp knives are an important component of any kitchen. Knives that have not been sharpened in a while can not only pose a threat to your health, but also a threat to smashing your food. Attempting to force a blunt blade through a tough root vegetable is much more likely to lead to an accident, than quickly dicing and slicing the same tough root vegetable with a sharp blade.

Popular French fried potato recipes suggest soaking the potatoes in water for 30 minutes before cooking them. Cold water will allow the sliced potato to retain its internal fibers, meaning that they are less likely to completely break down when cooked at a high heat.

Fresh foods are always a better choice than frozen or dried ones regardless of what type of food you are cooking. Try to use as many fresh ingredients as you can, because they will bring out a lot more flavor in your dish, and they can be a lot less expensive in the long run as well.

Garlic can add a tremendous amount of flavor to your food. However, when you are cutting and chopping fresh garlic, it can also leave its odor on your hands. After you have finished doing your prep work with the garlic, run your hands along the stainless steel interior of your sink. This will clean your hands, while preventing any odors from being transferred to the next food item you touch.

Do you ever find it difficult to determine how long you should grill your meat? Make sure you use quality meat thermometers to ascertain the internal temperature. If you have a thick slice of meat, one that is more than 1.5 inches in thickness, you may want to close the lid of the grill to have the meat cook faster.

Soy products and beans are a wonderful place to get protein if you need to add some to your diet. Most grocery stores stock these items. Tofu can be pan-fried with some seasonings, and makes a tasty meat alternative. The beans can be boiled with some herbs for a flavorful protein source.

When you are going to be cooking pumpkins, the first thing to do is to stand your pumpkin upright. Then you can cut in right down the middle so you have two halves. Put each half with the cut side facing down on their own baking sheet. Put a little water on the sheet and then bake the pumpkin halves for about an hour at 350 degrees.

This is a great way to increase the length of time the fruits stay fresh. Additionally, you’ll have access to fruits that aren’t currently in season.

Prepare your meal ahead of time so you can leave it sitting for a few minutes. This is a vital step in your cooking process, which can add a lot of flavor to your meal. It is very tempting to serve the meal from grill to tabletop. However, you will miss out on great food if you do. Always allow your meal to rest and cool down a little.

Cooking can be a hobby, a skill, and a profession. Take lots of advice from others who are good at cooking. It’s the best way you can learn. Try these tips out when you cook a meal for your family and watch their faces light up with joy when they realize how great your food tastes.

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