No matter how skilled you are, when it comes to cooking there is always something new to learn. Learning a few interesting methods can help you to turn even the blandest meal into a masterpiece that everyone will remember. Read on for a handful of useful cooking tips that can help you to uncover your own culinary style.

You should store all herbs and spices in cool, dark places. If light, humidity, and heat are present, these items will begin to lose their flavor. Ground herbs and spices can retain full flavor for about a year. If kept whole, spices can keep their flavor for up to five years. The length of time that they stay fresh depends on how they are stored.

Being properly prepared is key to success in cooking for your family and friends. This will allow you to make sure that all the necessary ingredients are accounted for. Get everything set to cook the next day. Determine if you have you got the right utensils, etc. Doing so allows you to focus on the cooking itself.

Do not keep your herbs or spices in a place that is not cool and dark. By storing them in excessive light and heat, their shelf life will decrease. Keeping your spices in darkened, cool areas will lend extra longevity and flavor. Your food will be even more delicious if your spices are fresher.

Use sharp knives to prepare your favorite meals. When you cook using knives that are dull, you create more work for yourself because they make cutting more difficult. It is also a safety hazard to use them. Cutting vegetables with dulled blades can be difficult, and can result in the knife slipping, and cutting you instead.

The overall quality of vegetables is affected by the length of cooking time. Slow-cooked vegetables lose nutritional value and taste. These cooking techniques are much healthier. Learning to give them just a quick steam is the best way to cook them.

While garlic imparts a delicious flavor to your cooking, it may also leave a residual odor on your hands. Rubbing your hands on something made of stainless steel, such as your sink, can help to get rid of these odors. The steel will clean your hands and remove the smell. You can buy stainless steel “soaps” at your local kitchen store to keep on hand.

One good way to store extra sauce is to freeze it using ice cube trays. Then, at a later date, it is a simple process to reheat the cubes on your stove top in a pan. The frozen sauce will keep extremely well until the next time you need it!

When you make chicken stock, a good piece of advice is to make it in a big quantity. Fill a large pot of stock and freeze it for later. You can use the stock as a base for all kinds of soups or even casseroles. Let your stock cool off and pour it into Ziploc bags.

Substituting another liquid for milk or water can help give your meals a new flavor. You could use chicken broth or juice, instead of water. Try to use buttermilk, yogurt, or sour cream in place of milk. You can increase the nutritional and wow factors of any dish, simply by trying different substitutions for liquids that recipes call for.

If you only have a short time to cook a roast, leave the bone inside the meat. The meat cooks faster this way due to the fact that the bone carries the heat right to the interior of the roasting pan. Once the meat has finished cooking, remove the bone prior to serving.

The odors of many spices and vegetables will stay on your cutting board and will be impervious to soap. Separate the halves by using indelible ink on the cutting board so you know what belongs on each side.

If you buy unripened fruits, keep them in a plastic bag fitted with holes. Fruits produce ethylene gas when they become riper. The perforations in the bag allow the air to circulate while the plastic retains enough of the ethylene gas to increase the ripening process and keep the fruit tasting sweet and delicious.

Use paper towels to blot the moisture from the surface of ground meat before cooking. Always fully drain your ground meats and blot them dry. The moisture will release while the meat is being cooked if it is not blotted beforehand. The water will then cook in the pain. The meat may then stem instead of sear like it’s supposed to do.

One great cooking tip is just flexible and creative; do your own thing. Feel free to adapt a recipe to suit your particular needs. Add things to flavor and shake up the recipe to make it your own. That is a sign of a true cook!

When it’s time to chop fresh herbs, you should sprinkle a bit of salt on your cutting board first. This keeps your herbs on the cutting board and can add a bit of flavor, as well. Don’t add to much salt when doing this. The salt used on the board provides that extra bit of flavor by sticking to the herbs.

So using the tips and hints that have been provided here, you should now be much more confident about your cooking abilities. With improved culinary skills, not only will you eat better, the people around you will eat better as well. You may be the next Julia Child.