36 cooking myths you shouldn’t fall for


From washing raw chicken to throwing out bread that’s stale, there’s a lot of terrible cooking advice out there. Spanning the downright dangerous to the simply unhelpful, these are the cooking tips you should always ignore.



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If you’re using garlic, don’t ignore the recipe: if it calls for ground garlic, grind it; if it needs to be chopped, chop it. It’s important to follow instructions as the intensity and flavor of the garlic depends on how it’s prepped and cooked. Crushed garlic is more potent, while sliced or chopped is milder. Whole garlic cloves are the mildest, especially when roasted.



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Adding garlic to the pan at the same time as onions is a common mistake. Garlic cooks very quickly, and the smaller it’s been chopped or ground, the faster it will cook. Avoid the bitter taste of burnt garlic by adding it towards the end of cooking – unless the dish contains a sauce or liquid, which will prevent it from burning.



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Nope, ginger needs scraping and here’s how: simply scrape the skin off this knobbly root with the tip of a spoon. This way you don’t lose lots of the flesh while trying to peel the skin.



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Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


Often ignored, celery leaves (or celery tops) are like a herb in their own right and can be used as such. Chop them as you would fresh herbs and use as a garnish – the leaves work well in place of cilantro or parsley – or add to stocks, soups and stews.



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Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


There are various methods for scrambling eggs, but slow on a low heat wins over quick on a high heat. For soft, creamy eggs don’t agitate the mixture; instead, let parts set and fold the egg over and over, taking off the heat before fully cooked as the pan’s residual warmth will finish the job.



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Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


Non-stick pans aren’t always the best option for what you’re cooking. They don’t heat up as quickly as their cast iron counterparts, so browning takes longer and food runs the risk of being overcooked. Non-stick pans are better for fragile foods such as delicate fish or dishes that are cheesy or eggy. For more robust dishes such as steak and stir-fries, use a seasoned cast iron pan.



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The presumption that pans and ovens don’t need to get up to temperature is a rookie mistake. Food cooks more evenly and will be ready in the time stated in the recipe if you use a pre-heated pan or oven. When using a pan it’s especially important that fat is hot before adding ingredients. You can ruin a bake if you use an oven that’s not hot enough too.



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It’s tempting to turn meat more often than is actually required. But turning meat too much while it’s being grilled or shallow-fried prevents it from browning or the skin from crisping up – this not only affects color and texture, but flavor, too. Don’t flip too soon: one or two turns throughout cooking is enough.



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Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


Contrary to popular belief, adding salt to water only serves as a flavor enhancer – it doesn’t make the water boil any quicker. It’s simple chemistry: the boiling point of salted water is higher than the boiling point of water, so while salted water can get hotter, it will actually take more time and energy to boil.



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Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


It might seem like a time-saver, but adding raw potatoes to boiling water cooks the outside quicker than the inside. For an evenly cooked potato, place in cold water with some salt and use a steady heat to bring up to the boil.



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Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


It might be quick and easy, but microwaving frozen vegetables can make them soggy and limp. To keep them crisp, cook them in a steamer basket over boiling water. If you’re adding them to another dish such as pasta or risotto, you can throw them straight in towards the end of cooking. However, something like spinach might need to be thawed first to avoid adding too much moisture.



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Mushrooms are harder to get right than many people realize. Overcrowding a pan and not using the right fat causes mushrooms to steam and turn slimy and rubbery. Heat butter and olive oil until very hot, then cook one layer of mushrooms at a time, occasionally moving and turning. This sears and browns the mushrooms to perfection.



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An authentic paella doesn’t contain chorizo; it’s made from meat or seafood, vegetables, saffron and bomba rice – a short grain from Spain. Arborio (risotto rice) can be used as a substitute, but it doesn’t absorb as much liquid so you’ll have a different texture as a result.



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Arborio rice greatly benefits from being lightly toasted. Toast on a gentle heat in a little hot olive oil for a couple of minutes until it turns opaque then add a ladle of stock or white wine to stop the rice burning. Toasting infuses the rice with a nutty flavor and helps it to steadily absorb liquid.



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Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


Peeling kiwis is a fiddly job and more often than not, a fair amount of the flesh is lost in the process. But there is another way – slice the kiwi into coin shapes then pick off the furry skin with your fingers. It comes away easily and none of the fruit is lost.



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Know your knives and cooking gets a whole lot easier. A serrated (bread) knife cuts soft fruit such as tomatoes and strawberries as well as bread and pastries. A paring knife is good for tricky jobs such as de-veining prawns, removing seeds and peeling. A wide-blade chef’s knife is ideal for cutting through root vegetables and for chopping, dicing and slicing. A meat knife is easiest to wield when cutting steak, chicken or other meats.



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


37/37 SLIDES

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