Cooking Made Easy With These Basic Strategies

You need a few basic fundamentals to be a better cook. This article is full of helpful advice for all kinds of cooks. These tips can help you find out what steps you should take.

Spices and herbs should be stored in a dark and cool area. Moisture, light and heat can affect the flavor of your spices. Generally speaking, spices that have been ground will keep their flavor for about one year. You may retain your spice’s flavor for about 5 years. If you keep these properly stored, they can sometimes stay fresh for an even longer period of time.

Learn to use your hands when cooking (after washing them thoroughly first of course!). Hands are the most sensitive yet versatile cooking utensil you will own. They can be used for mixing, measuring and testing whether a product is cooked enough. A cake, for example, will show that it is done by springing back when touched lightly with a finger on its top.

When sauteing ingredients in a fry pan ensure that you don’t overcrowd the pan with too much food. Trying to cook too much at once will only lower the temperature of the pan and lead to steaming instead of browning. It is wiser to saute the ingredients in two separate batches, if necessary, and this will maintain the quality of cooking.

It is extremely embarrassing to have lumps in your gravy. It happens to everybody from the beginner cook to the master chef. There is a simple trick you can use to eliminate them. Drain the gravy through a fine strainer and discard the lumps. This technique can be used for other sauces or soups too.

Flouring the baking pan is called for by lots of recipes. It is necessary for the baking, but leaves an unattractive white coating on the side of the cake. Change the recipe a little and use dry cake mix instead of flour. The unattractive white residue from the side of the cake will disappear.

If you are making pastries, you should try to maximize the accuracy of your measurements as it is a very exact science. By adding one gram too much or too less, you are going to put the taste of your pastry in jeopardy. Always try to be precise when baking.

One fun part of learning to cook is showing off your new-found skills. If you are cooking for someone special, though, leave the experimentation for another day. Do not try new recipes or new ingredients (or, worse, both at the same time) when you are cooking a meal for someone you really want to impress.

When you are going to fry a food, use long tongs to add food to the oil. For about five seconds, hold the food just underneath the surface of the oil and release it. By placing a food into oil this way, the exterior of the food will be sealed and it will not likely stick to the pan.

Be careful with frozen spinach. After thawing, squeeze the water out before cooking or the extra water will come out during cooking possibly destroying your recipe. You can squeeze it by hand or use any other suitable device to do it. Lay the spinach on paper towel to drain the excessive moisture.

Whenever you season your food, try seasoning it slowly rather than all at once. As such, you are getting the best flavor, and not wasting any of the seasoning.

No matter what kind of cheese you may have in your refrigerator, be sure that air cannot enter it by wrapping it tightly. Air contributes to mold growth on cheese. If your cheese does happen to have a little bit of mold on it, you can still use it by just cutting off the part with mold.

If you find yourself with part of a loaf of stale bread, don’t throw it away or feed it to the birds. Instead, turn it into croutons for a soup or salad by tossing cubes of bread with oil and seasonings and baking them until crispy. You can also turn stale bread into breadcrumbs for many recipes.

If you want to pan sear a nice tuna steak, you want to do it right! Make a baste for the tuna that is comprised of ginger, cilantro, soy sauce, pepper, and salt. Put oil on the pan and heat it, sear for one minute on each side. The middle of the fish should still be pink.

If you are sauteing vegetables and require more oil, add the oil to the outer part of the pan. This way the oil is heated by the time it reaches your vegetables. By doing this you eliminate extra cooking time and you never have to worry about your vegetables getting soggy or getting splattering hot oil.

As we have shown, there are many tricks and secrets that will help you hone your cooking skills. It comes naturally to some, but others need all the help and advice they can get. Think of this article as a starting point in your education.