Cooking is a beloved pastime for countless individuals, and is something that most anyone can learn to do well. Knowing how to cook is something that can serve you well for your entire life and bring great enjoyment. By using the tips that follow, you can can soon become an expert in the kitchen.

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.

To maintain nutrients and color in your vegetables, quickly steam them until just crisp-tender. Taste and nutritional value suffer when vegetables are slow-cooked. You have an added bonus, because these certain techniques make vegetables healthier in general. Learning to cook them for the minimum necessary time is the key to better vegetables.

You can use it on other foods besides meat. Add these types of seasonings to roasted pumpkin seeds when you need a pick-me-up, or spice up your breakfast by putting it on scrambled eggs. Your guests will be clamoring to know the secret to your delicious food.

Don’t substitute romaine lettuce when making caesar salad. Romaine has the perfect texture and flavor to stand up to the strong ingredients in a classic caesar dressing, such as garlic, anchovies and parmesan cheese. Select romaine that has dark green outer leaves that curl away from the center. To store, leave the head whole and unwashed in the refrigerator, and tear off leaves as needed.

Herbs and spices have a powerful impact on the quality of your cooking. To preserve these important, expensive ingredients, keep them in a cool, dark place with minimal humidity. All too often spices are left near ovens and sinks. The heat, light and moisture in such places leach the flavor out of high-quality spices.

Though you may not realize it, garlic tends to seep into the pores of your skin during meal preparation. Try rubbing your hands on the inside of a steel sink after you work with the garlic or other potent ingredients. Not only does this remove the smell of the odoriferous food ingredient from your hands, it also keeps this odor from passing to other foods that you are about to handle.

If you are having a big party, one of the worst things that you can do is to put dressing on the salad. Since the salad will sit out for a long time, it will probably get soggy after a while. Instead, leave an assortment of dressings out for people to choose.

Flour or any other dry goods stored too long, tend to attract bugs and make them either hard to use or not suitable for cooking. Lay a whole bay leaf in the container (and possibly also in the cupboard) and your goods and storage areas will be bug free forever.

When storing items in your kitchen, you will want to make sure that they are stored in containers that are airtight and closed tightly for two reasons. While most foods will go stale having constant exposure to air, another big fear is that the product will be taken over by bugs.

You should use applesauce when baking if you want to cut back on the amount of calories the baked good contains. The applesauce will not change the texture or flavor of the baked good. It will cut back on the number of calories that are in the baked good. It will also add fiber to the food.

Here is a great cooking tip to use when you are handling smelly garlic. After handling garlic, simply rub your hands with a piece of stainless steel for 30 seconds. This could be your sink or a doorknob. After doing this, wash your hands with soap as your normally would. The stainless steel helps to remove the odor from your hands.

Some recipes call for peeled half or quarter peaches. In most cases peeling is not easy, as the skin sticks to the fruit and doesn’t come off. The easiest way to remedy the problem is to place the peaches in boiling water for 30 seconds. After removing the fruits, place them into ice water to stop the boiling effect. Their skin will come off easily.

There can be no doubt that cooking provides great pleasure to many, and can also serve as a wonderful creative outlet. Acquiring skills in the kitchen can be rewarding for you, not to mention your friends and family, and is well worth the effort. Putting these tips to work will set you quickly on the path to culinary mastery.