10 Cooking Tips Everyone Should Know

Overcrowding the pan: what not to do when cooking.Overcrowding the pan: what not to do when cooking.Watching an experienced home cook prepare a meal can seem like an artful and well-executed performance: Stirring at just the right moment, removing roasting foods from the oven, and searing hot steaks to perfection without any stress, screams, or mishaps. (Though, mistakes will inevitably happen to even the best.)

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For those who are inexperienced in the kitchen, cooking can seem a little intimidating because it might feel clumsy or awkward doing new things. But as any cook can tell you, mastering the kitchen just takes practice and being OK with making mistakes - what's the worst that can happen?

While we can't provide you with practice or help you avoid all mistakes, we can offer some tips that might make it easier for you. Like never refrigerate your tomatoes. Ever. (Makes them mealy and flavorless.)

For both advanced and novice home cooks alike, these are tricks that can make a big difference in the kitchen.

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Juicing Citrus

For vinaigrettes, cocktails, juices, or seasoning foods, don't juice cold citrus (you won't get nearly as much juice). Also, try squeezing the juice through your hands to catch the seeds.

Stop Avocados From Browning

Use citrus juice or acid to stop avocados from browning - don't believe the old avocado pit in the guacamole tale, it doesn't work.

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Finish It in the Oven

If something is burning on the stove or meat is browning too much on the outside, then finish it in the oven for more evenly distributed heat.

Oversalting Food

If you accidentally oversalt the food, add some type of citrus or acid to balance it out.

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Storing Herbs

The best way to store herbs is wrapped in a damp paper towel inside a plastic bag.

Cracking Eggs

Crack eggs on a flat surface instead of on the rim of a bowl - the bowl actually causes more of the shell to shatter, leaving you with more shards in your food.

When Dealing with Dough

Do not ever overmix your dough. In every how-to baking story we've written (from how to make the perfect cookie to making better pancakes), overmixing dough is always high on the "don't" list. Make sure you stop when the ingredients are just combined - any more and the final product will be ruined.

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Salt Your Food

We're not saying to oversalt it, but make sure to season and taste your food throughout the whole cooking process, since salt can help bring out the flavors of the food. If you only salt at the end, it's too late.

Don't Overcrowd the Pan

When searing or browning foods like steaks, meatballs, or scallops, it's important not to crowd the pan or it will steam the foods rather than brown them (foods release moisture as they cook).

Don't Cook Cold Meat or Fish

Bring the meat and fish to room temperature before cooking, because if you start cooking cold food, the outside will cook much faster than the cold inside, leaving you with raw meat in the middle and overcooked meat on the outside.

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-Yasmin Fahr, The Daily Meal