Kitchen Tips All Home Cooks Should Know

Simple tricks that can make a huge difference in the kitchenWatching 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.)

Click here to see 11 Tips All Home Cooks Should Know

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?

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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.)

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For both advanced and novice home cooks alike, these are 11 tricks that can make a big difference in the kitchen.

© Comstock Images/Thinkstock 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.

Click here for 10 Common Cooking Mistakes and How to Fix Them.

© Istockphoto/Thinkstock Storing Herbs
The best way to store herbs is wrapped in a damp paper towel inside a plastic bag.

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© Istockphoto/Thinkstock 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.

© Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock 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).

© Istockphoto/ThinkstockSalt 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.

© Istockphoto/Thinkstock When Dealing with Dough
Do not ever overmix your dough. In every how-to baking story we've written, 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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- Yasmin Fahr, The Daily Meal