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A knife on a cutting board, sitting beside vegetables

How to Avoid Common Cooking Mistakes

Common Cooking Mistakes Can be Avoided

Even a seasoned cook sometimes needs a little refresher to correct a problem with cooking, seasoning, or using the wrong tool. Habits can be hard to break, but understanding the science and art of creative cuisine brings your cooking skills to a new level of proficiency. We’ve put together some tips on how you can avoid common cooking mistakes.

Use the Proper Tools

  • If your bratwurst or sausages are dry, you’ve probably speared them. Always use tongs to move or turn your meat to preserve the natural juices.
  • Use metal pans for baking things you want crispy or golden – cookies, meat loaf, brownies – anything you want to brown. Only use glass pans for things like casseroles.

Don’t Burn Your Food

  • Every oven has peculiarities. Your oven’s temperature may heat higher than what the read-out says. Use an oven thermometer to ensure you’re using the correct temperature.
  • Avoid burning sauces by adding the thickener at the very end of cooking and simmer only until the sauce is your preferred consistency.
  • Bake bacon in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes and you’ll never have burnt bacon again.

Overcooking

  • Cook scrambled eggs on a low heat and remove while still moist.
  • Some items like custards and brownies should be removed from the oven or range before they are completely cooked. They’ll continue to cook after they’re removed from the heat.
  • Shock cooked veggies by dowsing them in cold water when they’re done cooking to stop the cooking process. Your vegetables are tender-crisp without being mushy.

Undercooking

  • Using an accurate timer and meat thermometer ensures an entrĂ©e that’s cooked to perfection.
  • Prevent undercooked pie crust by baking at a high temperature of 425-450 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-30 minutes and reducing the temperature to 350-375 degrees Fahrenheit for the remainder of the cooking time.

Seasoning

Two of the most common faux pas cooks make are over-seasoning and under-seasoning their dishes. One can render the dish inedible and the other makes you look like you’re a real novice in the kitchen.

  • The solution to both problems is to taste as you go along. Don’t assume a recipe’s given amounts are always right and don’t believe you’re always correct with measuring your ingredients.
  • When you’re salting water for cooking pasta or potatoes, don’t just add a small amount of salt. The water should have a distinctly salty flavor. Otherwise, you haven’t added enough salt to flavor the pasta properly.