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With many things in life, it’s often the smallest of tweaks and touches that make all the difference. This is certainly true when it comes to food. If you’ve been getting bored of your usual meals, and wondering how you can make them that much more satisfying, here are five simple changes you can make for tastier meals.

boiling water

By Moyan Brenn from Anzio, Italy (Cooking) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Stop Preparing Garlic and Onions in Advance

As you’ve probably learned by experience, chopping up onions and garlic releases sharp, strong odors that can be overpowering in a meal. You might be tempted to prepare them in advance, but it’s best to do this at the last minute. You may also want to try soaking chopped onions and garlic in baking soda and water before they’re added to the meal. This will subdue some of the pungency, and create a much more balanced flavor.

Keep Your Fats Fresh

The fats contained in oils, butter and nuts can go rancid incredibly quickly, producing off flavors when they’re added to your cooking. To keep this from happening, start keeping their exposure to light and oxygen at a minimum. Keep your butter and nuts frozen, keep any nut-based oils in the fridge, and vegetable oils in a dark pantry.

organic vegetables

By Elina Mark (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Start Shopping Organic

The main reason to shop organic is avoiding pesticides and the risk of super bugs in the produce you eat. However, many will agree that organic foods taste much better than regular, processed foods. Because organic ingredients cost more to buy from vendors, many companies that sell them go the extra mile in making sure they taste great. From the vegetables you regularly pick up in your grocery shopping to the best organic coffee on the market, there are all kinds of foods you can swap out.

Wait for the Pan to Heat Up

The second you add food to a pan, the temperature of the surface will drop. Don’t make the common mistake of rushing the preheating stage when you’re cooking. Give it a little while, waiting for the oil in the pan to simmer before dropping in vegetables. When you’re frying proteins, on the other hand, you should wait for those first tiny wisps of smoke to rise from the oil.

Stop Throwing Out the Fond

When you finish cooking, and see all those brown, caramelized bits sticking to the base of the pan, your first reaction might be to throw it all out. Resist this urge! This residue is bursting with potent, savory flavor, which can make all the difference to how your food tastes. Instead, get into the habit of deglazing your pans with some kind of liquid. Wine, juice and broth are all good choices. Then, scrape the fond free with a spoon or spatula, and incorporate it in the finished meal. For a creamier sauce, stir in a little sour cream. Yum!

There you have five simple habits you can get into that will make your cooking tastier. Obviously, everyone has their own palate, but keep experimenting with these kinds of creative tricks, and soon you’ll figure out which ones work for you.

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