Once you get some basic skills down, cooking can be fun. This article will make your dishes more delicious and give you more confidence in the kitchen. Read on, and let your creativity grow!
When not in use, put your spices in an area that receives the lowest amount of light and heat. If they are stored in an area that they are exposed to light, heat and humidity, their shelf life is shortened. Keep spices fresh by storing them away from light and humidity. Fresh spices can greatly enhance your meals, making this effort well worth your time.
If you are going to use oil, make sure you add it at the edge of the pan so it can warm up before getting to the food. This will enhance the flavor of the dish when it is finished cooking.
Fresh foods are always a better choice than frozen or dried ones regardless of what type of food you are cooking. Whenever possible, incorporate fresh ingredients; they enhance the flavor of other ingredients and may even be less expensive.
When preparing chicken stock, it is best to make a large batch. Fill a large pot of stock and freeze it for later. You can use your homemade chicken stock for soups, casseroles and stews. To store your homemade stock, let it cool, pour it into a freezer bag, and stick it in the freezer.
When cooking vegetables, it is a good idea to use chicken broth. Chicken broth is an excellent base to use when preparing vegetable dishes that helps keep them from sticking and gives them some flavor. There is not a lot of expense when buying chicken broth, and most grocers carry it.
When you want to add a bit of protein to your diet, tofu and beans are a great source of it. Both beans and tofu are readily available in most grocery stores. Seasoned tofu is a wonderful alternative to meat, and can be cooked in a variety of ways, such as pan frying. Likewise, beans cooked with herbs can also be a flavorful dish.
Freezing helps ensure fresh fruit throughout the year. This also gives you access to seasonal fruits that might otherwise not be available at the time you want them.
Substitute water for other more flavorful liquids, in order to spice up your meals. Use chicken broth, beef, or juice in places where you would normally use water. If your favorite recipes call for milk, try substituting with buttermilk, yogurt or sour cream. A simple switch like changing a liquid in a recipe can improve the nutritional quality while giving the dish a whole new spin in taste.
If you are cooking with garlic, you want to use the freshest clove that you can find. When garlic is fresh, it has a sweeter taste. When choosing garlic cloves, look for firm skin with no bruising or soft spots.
Try making your own dried tomatoes. Cut tomatoes in thick slices or in half, depending on their size. Place the resulting tomato pieces on a rack, then salt their exposed flesh lightly. Heat your oven to 190 degrees and place the tomatoes inside for as long as ten hours. Keep the tomatoes fresh by storing them in freezer bags. You can put the dried tomatoes with fresh herbs in a jar with olive oil to preserve them. Put your canned tomatoes in the fridge and be sure to use them in the next two weeks.
Replace and refresh your spices twice a year. The flavors of spices fade just a few months after opening the container. If you have spices that you don't intend to use any time soon, give it as a gift to someone who will use it.
It's vital that you ensure that the utensils you cook with are clean prior to cooking. Bits of food on your utensils could contaminate the dish you are cooking. This could spread harmful bacteria into your food, and could be detrimental to your health.
Learning to cook is a fun and easy process. All you need to have is a desire to learn new things and the time to do it. Follow these tips to improve your time in the kitchen. Cooking is always fun if you possess the right attitude.