Learning about different herbs and spices can go a long way towards beefing up your cooking repertoire. Salt and pepper are great and should definitely be used, but by adding additional flavors, you can take your cooking to a whole new level.
Use What You Like
Many cooks will tell you that it’s important to cook foods you enjoy so that you can taste them along the way and figure out what a meal needs—the same thing for herbs and spices. If you don’t like rosemary, don’t use it. If you love basil, put it on everything.
Try Different Brands
Find the perfect garlic powder for you. With so many on the market, you’re sure to find one that hits the spot. Roast garlic powder is amazing and has a more robust taste than others. Paprika, too, varies widely by brand. Try a few out before committing to one in your cooking.
Do a Smell and Taste Test
Sparingly use the seasonings that smell and taste strong. You don’t want to overpower the meal with one flavor. Saffron and clove are both great additions, but if you add too much, you’ll miss out on everything else you’ve put in.
Sub Dry For Fresh Vice Versa
Fresh herbs are best, but dried ones are perfectly fine. If you’re trying to sub one for the other, each tablespoon of fresh herbs equals a teaspoon of dried. Some cooks suggest frying your dried herbs for a moment in a small amount of oil to maximize their flavor potential.
Combine Your Go-Tos
If you often use the same spices for different meals, combine them in one shaker, so it’s ready to go. A good one to have is one part salt, one part smoked paprika, one part roasted garlic and one part onion powder. This works well on meats and veggies!
Get Variety In Your Salt Stash
Most home cooks have garlic salt ready to go, but there are tons of options on the market. Truffle salt adds a unique flavor to any dish, while different smoked salts lend a more savory finish. Add your salt in increments and salt towards the end of the process. Over-salting is a sure way to ruin any dish.
Experiment With Different Cultures
Different cultures cook with different spices and herbs. Thai, Italian, French; they all have their niche flavors. Dedicate some time to learning the different herbs they combine so you can add variety to any dish! Each culture uses chicken, but the resulting meals vary so much. This can help you use up a large pack of chicken in a handful of days without the same meals over and over again.