And it's not easy! As a food writer and recipe developer, I basically cook for a living, and trust me: I learn new hacks and tricks for seasoning my food more consistently every single day, soI'm sharing my favorite tips that are basically guaranteed to make food taste better. Whether you're just starting out on your cooking journey or already a passionate home cook, sometimes the best thing you can do is revisit the basics.
1.Taste the dish you're preparing throughout the cooking process, and season as you go.
2.Learn the difference between salt varieties and know when to use them.
3.When using fresh herbs, make sure you're adding them at the right time. Spoiler alert: this will differ from herb to herb.
4.Parsley is a perfectly fine garnish for many dishes, but it's not meant to be sprinkled on anything and everything you make for presentation's sake.
5.When making pasta, salt that pasta water generously — and then salt it some more.
6.If you over-season your dish, add more ingredients to it.
There's actually a reason why chefs season their food from so high up. It helps evenly distribute the seasoning and makes sure you don't accidentally over-season one area and under-season another. This is especially helpful for items like beef, poultry, and fish, which all benefit from an even layer of seasoning.
If you want to feel like a real pro, start keeping your salt (kosher salt, preferably) in a ramekin or salt bowl. It'll make a huge difference in your cooking, too — when you use a salt shaker, it's hard to determine exactly how much salt you're adding to something, but by using your fingers (or a measuring spoon, if you'd prefer), you'll start to develop a feel for exactly how much you should be salting something.
8.Black pepper shouldn't be added to everything.
9.Speaking of black pepper — when it is appropriate to add, know when to use finely ground versus cracked varieties.
10.Consider using whole spices (instead of the pre-ground variety) to easily dial up the flavor notes of whatever you're cooking.
11.Remember that cold foods require more seasoning than hot foods.
12.Don't forget to season certain foods with sugar, too.
13.Pre-season meat with salt ahead of time, so it has time to flavor and improve the overall texture.
14.Don't be afraid of using flavor enhancers like nutritional yeast, liquid aminos, or MSG.
15.Don't forget to season your food with acid, too.
Everybody knows that salt plays a crucial role in cooking — but not everyone knows the importance of acid. Acid helps elevate flavors — and just like salt, it's an important part of balancing a dish. If your food tastes flat but you've already salted it, try adding a splash of wine, vinegar, or citrus to amp things up.
16.Be careful not to burn any spices you pre-season with when searing proteins.
17.Citrus zest can make just about anything taste even better.
If you know any other cooking or seasoning tips that totally changed your cooking game, we want to hear about 'em in the comments! 👇
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