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AshlynM's avatar

How to use seasonings properly on food when cooking?

Asked by AshlynM (10592points) July 6th, 2011

Sorry if this sounds stupid but I have no experience in using spices in cooking, except salt and pepper.

How to use spices that come in a bottle, such as oregano and basil? Do I just sprinkle it ontop of the food and cook it or do I need to do something special with it first?

I sprinkled basil on top of some chicken tonight and baked it but I don’t know if that was correct.

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12 Answers

Aethelflaed's avatar

That was more or less correct. To really get the most, you want to put the pinch of dried herb between your fingers and rub it back and forth (sort of like a “show me the money” sign, if that makes sense), because that helps to release the flavors and aromas. But that’s really more for herbs than spices (herbs are the leaves of the plant, spices are the other parts).

For chicken, I would put a little bit of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice (fresh if you can get it), a pinch of basil, and a teeny bit of black pepper in a bowl and mix it together. Then I’d put the chicken in the bowl and get the mixture all over the chicken. Then, I’d put it in the baking pan and bake it. But there are many different ways to do chicken.

augustlan's avatar

This is one of those things that you kind of have to experiment with, until you get an idea of how you like your food spiced. For most dried spices, sprinkling it on the food is fine. The main exception I can think of is dried bay leaves. You don’t actually want to eat those, so you throw them in whole and remove them before serving.

Cruiser's avatar

Use fresh spices and herbs and you will be amazed at the difference in flavors in your cooking! No comparison!

aprilsimnel's avatar

“Sparingly” is a good word. A little bit goes a long way. You’re not trying to cover the taste of whatever it is you’re seasoning, but enhance it. Experiment. You’ll soon learn what seasonings go best with what food.

I’ve been a “victim” of one too many meals where dear Aunt So-and-So seems to have used two scoops on both meat and veg. Alas, Lawry’s, et al, isn’t raisins for a box of bran flakes.

marinelife's avatar

Yes, you just stir it into the food.

Porifera's avatar

Spices are used not only for their flavor but also for their smell so that food is more appealling to the senses. IMO there is no right or wrong way to use them. It’s a very subjective thing and it depends on how strong or mild you like your food to be, etc. One good way to find out is by trial and error so that you know how to use them according to your particular liking.

Keep in mind that the flavor of dry herbs is more concentrated and hence stronger than fresh herbs —I believe the ratio is 3 fresh= 1 dry. Also, if you like a strong flavor let your chicken or meat absorb the spices for some time (hours or even overnight) before you actually cook it. If you want stronger flavor, rub the food with your spices, if you want a milder flavor and mostly the scent then lightly sprinkle it with the spice.

I know in Indian cooking they heat the spices on a hot pan before they use them to bring out the flavor to the fullest.

deni's avatar

Stir it in while it’s cooking, taste it, assess, then add more if it needs it. Voila!

Porifera's avatar

@deni That can be a little scary at times because you are risking putting too much spice. The flavor of spices gets more and more intense as food cooks resulting in a too concentrated flavor when the cooking is finished and after some resting time too.

Schroedes13's avatar

Ya….I love cooking and one of the best parts is just experimenting! Grab a spice rack and try out some different combos!

SamIAm's avatar

Experiment with making marinades and letting the chicken “soak” in it. As mentioned above, mix fresh lemon, olive oil, vinegars and seasonings together and taste before putting on the chicken. You can place small cuts in the meat and “stuff” with fresh garlic or herbs also! Keep in mind what you’re doing so you can remember if you liked it so you can repeat it! Good luck. And PM me if you want some good dressing ideas! :)

Schroedes13's avatar

A great thing to do with marinades is to use a fork and pierce the meat while is it in the substance. This allows for a bit more penetration and some more flavour!

FabulousA's avatar

Listings of what Seasonings/spices to use with what foods: EXAMPLE: String beans,
I use Rosemary (dried). What other Seasoning can I use. ALSO THE SAME FOR:
Pasta (corranider, is this okay) Vegetables, Stir-Frys. Eggplant (Baked),et. I need a list
of Seasoning.Spices to use for all foods or a Combination of. Sometimes I am afraid rto
experient. Recently, experimented with Ginger and it came out okay. I NEED A LITTLE

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