The best way to make your food taste better is to season it. Herbs, spices, and condiments add flavor, depth, and variation to your dishes. This is why it is unfortunate that many people aren’t aware of how to properly season their foods.
If you haven’t fine-tuned your seasonings skills, however, there’s no need to worry. The following article will show you the various tips and tricks that you need to know to take all of your dishes to a new level. Let’s get started!
In this article:
Know How to Use Different Types of Salts
Salt is the most basic – and essential – seasoning there is. Despite this, it is a rather complex ingredient. There are several types of salt and they each have their uses. Thus, if you try to substitute one for another, you may not always like the results.
So, one of the first things you need to do is to distinguish between each type of salt. Now, there’s no need to become an expert on every variety. Nevertheless, you should have a basic understanding of the most common types as well as when and when not to add them to your dish.
For instance, do you know the difference between kosher salt and table salt? Kosher salt has larger granules that dissolve more easily. It also works best on meat. The granules are distributed well and settle on the surface of the meat.
Table salt, on the other hand, is much finer. As such, you have to use far less than kosher salt. It is also best for sprinkling on top of food once the food has already been cooked.
Learning When to Use Powdered and Cracked Pepper
After salt, pepper is the most popular seasoning. Recipes will either call for pepper powder or cracked pepper. The first thing you should do is to use fresh pepper whenever possible, particularly when it comes to cracked pepper. This imparts a better flavor.
It should be noted that pepper powder has a much stronger flavor. This is why it should be added to sauces and similar dishes. If you are looking to garnish a dish, on the other hand, then cracked pepper is the way to go. Cracked pepper is great for seasoning meats and other proteins as well.
Always Marinate Fish and Meat Ahead of Time
As you may have noticed, meat and fish don’t absorb flavors all that readily. So, you shouldn’t wait until you’re cooking to season the meat. Instead, do it well ahead of time. There is then enough time for the seasonings to penetrate the meat.
You should also make an effort to work the seasonings into the meat. This ensures that the top, bottom, and center portion is well seasoned. It is important to do this even if you are only adding salt and pepper to your meat.
Use Blends to Help with Flavor
You can make your own herb or spice blends. However, it is unlikely that it will taste as good as professionally prepared blends. Thus, consider stocking up on several different types. You can check out popular brands that offer up a seasoning blend for every kind of dish imaginable. It is surprising to learn just how much of a kick these can add to your food.
The other advantage of reaching for these blends is that they make your cooking a whole lot easier. You don’t have to worry about ratios or balancing out flavors. Instead, just measure out the amount that you need and you are all set to continue cooking!
Turn Up the Heat for Whole Spices
Are you planning on adding whole spices to your dish rather than the powdered kind? Before you pop them in your food, consider toasting them. This gives the spices a smokier taste and even helps to release some hidden flavors.
Remember, you aren’t frying the spices, so there is no need to add any oil into the mix. Instead, place them in a pan and toast them over medium heat. It is important to watch the spices carefully so that they don’t burn. You can take them off the stove once they turn fragrant.
Figure Out How to Add Acids
If you have ever wondered why a particular dish tastes bland, it is probably due to the lack of acid in it. Yes, adding acids to your food can seem like a rather unorthodox concept. However, it is acid that helps to add that all-important “zing” to your food.
There are a number of ways to add an acidic element to your dish. This includes vinegar, citrus juice, cultured dairy, and wine. At the same time, fermented foods, tomatoes, and acid-containing condiments are great additions as well.
If you are baking, tart berries – either fresh or dried – can make all the difference. These will help to balance out a super sweet dessert.
Time Your Addition of Herbs
To make the most of your herbs, ensure that you are adding them to the dish at the right time. There are some heartier herbs – rosemary, thyme, sage, marjoram, and oregano – that should be added in the beginning. This way, they can soften up and release more flavor.
Delicate herbs such as chives, parsley, basil, cilantro, and tarragon, should be added once the foods are nearly cooked. Adding them too early will cause them to lose their favor and the rest of the elements in the dish will overpower the fragrance.
In case you are using dried herbs, add these in earlier as well. These need to be rehydrated so that they can impart more flavor. Thus, you will need to throw them in before the fresh herbs.
These are the top tips to follow when seasoning your food. Carefully go through these guidelines and make it a habit to incorporate them into every one of your dishes. You will be delighted to learn just how much better your food can taste with just a tad more seasoning. From then on, guests will just love anything you serve up.