Unless you’re a trained chef or a culinary school graduate, no one expects you to be an expert in the kitchen. But that said, there are certain cooking mistakes that are worth learning how to avoid. And not because you’re trying to impress anyone, or because you’re trying to score your own Food Network show—but because those mistakes are negatively affecting the taste of your food!
Several months ago, I wrote a post sharing 11 of that exact sort of cooking mistake, along with tips for how to fix them. (Missed that post? You can read it at the link below!) Today I’ll be sharing a brand new “batch” of cooking mistakes, as a Part 2 of sorts to the original one. Avoid these 7 mistakes below when you’re in the kitchen, and your food will taste all the better for it! :-)
7 (More) Cooking Mistakes That Are Ruining Your Food
1. You Keep Opening The Oven Door
It’s good to keep an eye on your food, but not if you’re opening the oven door every time! Every time you open a hot oven, the temperature is going to drop considerably, meaning your food is going to take longer to cook. Those temperature fluctuations can also cause hot or cold spots, leading to uneven cooking.
If you want to check on your food, turn on the oven light and look through the door. If you must open the oven door, do it infrequently and quickly to help minimize heat loss.
2. You Use A Dull Knife
As backward as it might sound, using a dull knife in the kitchen can actually be more dangerous than using a sharp one. That’s because you need to use more force to cut through something with a dull knife, and that extra force can cause your knife, cutting board, or the food itself to slip, resulting in injury.
But with a sharp knife, the weight of the blade does most of the work, and cuts are easier and look cleaner. Run your knives through decent knife sharpener as needed, or take them into a local knife shop to have them professionally sharpened. (Most shops charge about $1 per inch, so it’s far from expensive!)
3. You Don’t Store It Correctly
Using fresh ingredients in your cooking won’t necessarily guarantee a delicious dish, but it certainly helps! And storing your ingredients the right way will help keep them tasting fresh for as long as possible. Get dozens of useful tips for keeping your food fresh at the link below!
4. You Don’t Taste As You Go
Even when you’re following a recipe, it’s important to taste what you’re cooking as you go! Tasting at every step gives you the opportunity to make adjustments as you go, fine tuning the seasonings, texture, and other elements as needed. (It also eliminates the possibility of being shocked by how your dish tastes once it’s done!)
5. Your Appliances And Cookware Are Dirty
Cooking with dirty tools and appliances can affect the taste of your food. Make sure you are scouring any burnt food off of your pots and pans, and keep your cooking appliances free of burnt food and grease splatters.
And don’t forget to descale your coffee maker regularly! Mineral buildup in your machine can quickly foul the flavor of your morning cup of coffee. To learn about more ways that cleaning affects the taste of your food, check out my post at the link below.
6. You Misread Recipes
Make sure to read your recipes closely, and pay special attention to the wording of each ingredient! For instance, if a recipe calls for “1 cup walnuts, chopped,” that indicates you should measure out the walnuts before chopping them. If it calls for “1 cup chopped walnuts,” that means you should chop the walnuts first, then measure them.
It may be a subtle difference in certain cases, but in others, it could alter the flavor of your recipe in unexpected (and even unfortunate) ways!
7. You Use The Same Oil For Everything
Some cooking oils are better suited to certain recipes than others. For instance, avocado oil has a high smoke point, so it’s a good choice for stir-frying and other high-heat methods. If you were to use an oil with a low smoke point (such as extra virgin olive oil) to cook something over high heat, it could easily cause the oil to burn and make your whole dish taste scorched.
It’s worth taking some time to learn which oil to use when in order to avoid these kinds of oil mishaps. I recommend checking out this helpful article from Bon Appetit that explains the various types of cooking oils and the best uses for them!
Do you have a favorite tip you use when cooking?