TIP! When not in use, put your spices in an area that receives the lowest amount of light and heat. Storing them out in the light and heat will cause them to lose some of their shelf life.

There are lots of different cooking styles that will give people a wonderful eating experience. Some are a snap and only take a few minutes, while some are really involved and can take hours. This article will provide you with key tips that will enhance your cooking ability now matter your skill level.

TIP! Having sharp knives when you are cooking is very important. Dull knives can actually be dangerous to use and the certainly make chopping difficult.

If you are learning to cook for yourself or your family, pick up a cookbook from your bookstore or library. Look for one that has basic, easy recipes that will be fun to cook. Try different recipes until you come up with something that works for you.

TIP! You can reduce the fat and calorie content of regular mashed potatoes by substituting part of the potatoes with mashed cauliflower. This won’t affect the taste but it adds a handful of nutrition.

If you are baking crusts for a pie or tart, you will probably need to bake them for a while longer than you thought. The crust should turn a golden color, not simple blonde. The color on your pie signifies that the caramelizing process is complete in your crust, yielding a scrumptious dessert.

TIP! Make your meal preparation go more quickly by preparing some of the ingredients ahead of time. Check recipes to find out what can be prepared ahead of time without risking spoilage.

There’s a neat trick you can use to save your sauce. Mix two tablespoons of water with one tablespoon of cornstarch in a small bowl. Slowly stir the mixture into the sauce to thicken it. Be sure to add the mixed starch slowly, you don’t want the sauce to get too thick.

TIP! Read the labels for any product that you buy to use in a recipe. A lot of items you purchase at the grocery store will have a laundry list of unwanted substances in there.

While it may be tempting to show off your culinary talents when entertaining a new love-interest or your boss, you will do best if you keep to a menu you are familiar with, and has already garnered rave reviews. Refrain from enthusiastically whipping up a new dish or using untested ingredients. Making a meal you are confident will taste good can make the night more enjoyable.

TIP! By doing this, a year-round supply of fresh fruit can be maintained. You will also be able to enjoy certain fruits even when they are not in season.

Dried and frozen ingredients should never be used over fresh ingredients if you want to get the most out of your cooking. Whenever possible, incorporate fresh ingredients; they enhance the flavor of other ingredients and may even be less expensive.

TIP! Don’t use a type of wine in your meal that is a kind you wouldn’t drink regularly. If you use a kind of wine you’ve never tasted before, you may mess up the flavor of the dish you’re working on.

If you want to lose weight or adopt a healthier diet, use less oil when cooking. Oil and butter have lots of fat. To achieve the same results as oil without the unhealthy fat, try using a nonstick spray.

TIP! When you have a big meal to prepare, get a head start by doing the prep work the night before. Before retiring to bed, you can do things like preparing a sauce, chopping up vegetables and onions, or marinating meat.

If you are intending to use skewers when you cook, do not forget to soak them in water for at least half an hour before you use them if they are wooden. Using this method, you will not burn them when you’re cooking. Also, use two skewers through your food to help secure it, so it doesn’t end up on the ground.

TIP! You can make your own dried tomatoes. Cut Romas tomatoes in lengthwise halves, or slice ripe regular tomatoes into half inch slices for drying.

When serving a salad for guests that accompanies a meal, avoid pouring dressing on it. Leave the dressing on the side instead. The amount of dressing that people use on their salad will vary, so you should give them the option of adding their own dressing. Offering a variety of dressing for their salad is the best way to make sure that all guests are happy.

Cutting Board

TIP! Cooks need to keep cooking supplies organized. If you are not well organized, you’ll be a disaster in the kitchen.

Many veggies and herbs leave strong scents and plant oils on your cutting board that are very difficult to remove completely. Put a waterproof mark on the end of the cutting board so you’ll know which side to use.

TIP! Always check to see if your utensils are clean if you are about to cook. If old, leftover food is stuck on your cooking utensils, it could ruin the meal you are making.

Twice a year, you should buy all new spices. If a spice is kept for a long time, it could lose some of its flavor. 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.

TIP! Prior to cooking ground meat, you should take the time to blot it. It is a good idea to always blot away the moisture.

Thousands of great dishes have been destroyed as a result of a chef over-complicating the cooking method or the combination of ingredients. Simple recipes and techniques can yield very impressive results. By using the tips presented above, you can begin to improve your cooking skills and be on your way to creating mouth-watering dishes night after night.