13 Common Mistakes in the Kitchen We’re All Guilty of and How to Fix Them

When we learn to cook, it’s easy to learn a technique or method that really works against you in the kitchen. You probably continue doing the same thing only to realize later on that there was a better way all along.

Common mistakes in the kitchen can easily be corrected and might even make things easier. Here are 13 common mistakes we all do (or have done) in the kitchen and how to fix them.

Common mistakes in the kitchen #1: Not reading the recipe fully before starting.

Common mistakes in the kitchen - Not reading the recipe fully before starting.

Pixabay.com

It’s important to fully read a new recipe and go through the preparations in our head. Doing so will ensure that you have all the ingredients, have the necessary kitchen equipment, and have the knowledge you need to create the dish successfully. Nothing is more frustrating than starting to bake and realizing you need a different loaf pan or don’t have enough flour.

Common mistakes in the kitchen #2: Measuring dry and wet ingredients with measuring cups.

When it comes to measuring liquids, only liquid measuring cups like the Pyrex liquid measuring cup pictured above. Likewise, dry ingredients should only be measured with standard measure cups so that you can easily scrape off any excess and get a precise measurement.

Common mistakes in the kitchen #3: Putting hot food in a cold fridge.

The temperature zone where there is a chance for food to breed bacteria and increase your risks of getting a food-borne illness is between 140° F (60° C) to 40° F (4° C.) The quickest way to get your food down to 40° F (4° C) to store it in the fridge is using an ice bath. Putting hot food in a refrigerator results in uneven temperatures where the food closest to the container is cool but the food at the center of the container remains warm. Here is more information for using an ice bath to cool food quickly.

Common mistakes in the kitchen #4: Putting all ingredients in a Crock-Pot without reading recipe directions.

There are many Crock-Pot dump dinners where you simply dump all ingredients and let it cook. But for recipes that contain dairy, pasta, or easy to cook vegetables, you generally want to add them last. For example, common mistakes like adding milk at the start may cause it to curdle so it is best to add it at the end of the cooking cycle.

Common mistakes in the kitchen #5: Not letting cooked meat rest before serving.

Common mistakes in the kitchen - Not letting cooked meat rest before serving.

Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed

When meat is cooking, the juices are generally at the edges of the meat. Before serving, let the juices redistribute throughout the meat before serving. Simply wrap it with foil and let it rest for about 5-10 minutes before serving.

Common mistakes in the kitchen #6: Cooking cold meat in a hot pan, grill, or oven.

Common mistakes in the kitchen - Cooking cold meat in a hot pan, grill, or oven.

BuzzFeed

To prevent overcooking meat, always try to bring your meat to room temperature before cooking it. When taking meat out of the fridge, let it rest at room temperature for about 15-30 minutes before cooking it.

Common mistakes in the kitchen #7: Using extra virgin olive oil to cook everything.

Extra virgin olive oil is great for salad dressing or to finish off a meal but it shouldn’t be used for frying because of its low smoke point.

Common mistakes in the kitchen #8: Sauteing mushrooms or greens while they’re still wet.

Common mistakes in the kitchen - Sauteing mushrooms or greens while they're still wet.

Twitter / @shutupmikeginn

When sauteing greens in oil, you want to prevent them from steaming. Common mistakes like adding wet greens to a hot pan will cause them to get soggy. Run them through a salad spinner first to ensure they are dry before adding them to the pan.

Common mistakes in the kitchen #9: Using a non-stick pan to cook everything.

Common mistakes in the kitchen - Using a non-stick pan to cook everything.

Merle O’Neal / BuzzFeed

Non-stick pans are great for delicate foods such as eggs or when cooking pancakes or fried rice. But for most dishes, a regular pan will give you better results when cooking meat or sauteed dishes.

Common mistakes in the kitchen #10: Cooking too much food in a pan.

Common mistakes in the kitchen - Cooking too much food in a pan.

Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed

If you’re searing or browning meat, you want to prevent meat from touching as you want the heat to surround each piece. If you need to brown a big batch, it’s best to break it up and brown smaller batches for even browning.

Common mistakes in the kitchen #11: Adding garlic too early.

Garlic is a great way to add flavor to your oil before frying but having burnt or scorched garlic may destroy a delicate dish. Common mistakes like adding your garlic first can result in burnt garlic. Instead, when cooking on high heat, the best way to prevent garlic from burning is to add after your aromatics such as onions have cooked. You’ll still get the nutty taste of fried garlic but without scorching it.

Common mistakes in the kitchen #12: Not adding salt to your water when boiling pasta.

Common mistakes in the kitchen - Not adding salt to your water when boiling pasta.

Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed

To prevent your pasta from tasting bland, adding salt to your water is crucial. While most sauces already have salt, you also want your pasta to taste just as good and be able to stand on its own. The amount of salt depends on your personal taste but try adding a tablespoon for each pound of pasta and increase or decrease the amount based on your preferences.

Common mistakes in the kitchen #13: Storing everything in the fridge.

The first food that comes to mind that should never be in your fridge are tomatoes. The best place is on your countertop. Common mistakes like placing them in your fridge will usually result in tomatoes having a mealy texture and less taste.

Bonus Tip: How to Store Your Groceries

Fruits

  • Apples: Store in the refrigerator drawer, unwrapped, for up to 3 weeks.
  • Avocado: Leave on the countertop to ripen and store on the refrigerator shelf unwrapped when ripe. Avocadoes stay fresh for up to 4 days when ripened.
  • Avocado (halved): Store on the refrigerator shelf, wrapped in plastic with a little lemon juice squeezed on the flesh. Halved avocadoes can be kept for about 1 day.
  • Bananas: Leave on the countertop, unwrapped for up to 3 days once ripened.
  • Banana (halved): Store on the refrigerator shelf with the peel on, wrapped in foil. A halved banana keeps for about 1-2 days.
  • Berries: Leave in the refrigerator drawer, uncovered, in a vented container for 3-5 days.
  • Citrus: Store on the refrigerator shelf, unwrapped, for up to 2 weeks.
  • Citrus (Halved): Store on refrigerator shelf wrapped in plastic for 2-3 days.
  • Grapes: Leave in the refrigerator drawer in a perforated plastic bag for 1-2 weeks.
  • Melon: Leave on the countertop, unwrapped, for up to 5 days once ripened.
  • Melon (halved): Store on the refrigerator shelf, wrapped in plastic, for 7-10 days.
  • Peaches and plums: Leave on the countertop to ripen then store them unwrapped on a refrigerator shelf when ripe. Peaches and plum stay fresh for up to 5 days once ripened.
  • Pear: Leave on the countertop, unwrapped for up to 4 days once ripened.
  • Tomatoes: Leave on the countertop, unwrapped in a vented container for up to 5 days.

Vegetables

  • Asparagus: Store on the refrigerator shelf with its stems in water. Lightly covered in plastic, asparagus stays fresh for up to 4 days.
  • Beets: Store on the refrigerator shelf in a plastic bag for up to 2 weeks.
  • Bell Pepper: Store on the refrigerator shelf in a plastic bag for up to 1 week.
  • Broccoli: Store in the refrigerator drawer wrapped in plastic for up to 5 days.
  • Cabbage: Store in the refrigerator drawer wrapped in plastic for up to 2 weeks.
  • Carrots: Store in the refrigerator drawer in a plastic bag for up to 3 weeks.
  • Cauliflower: Store in the refrigerator drawer wrapped in plastic for up to 5 days.
  • Celery: Store in the refrigerator drawer wrapped in foil for up to 2 weeks.
  • Cucumber: Store in the refrigerator drawer wrapped in plastic for up to 1 week.
  • Dark leafy greens: Wrap greens with a dry paper towel and place in a plastic bag. Store in the refrigerator drawer for up to 1 week.
  • Garlic: Place in a dark pantry unwrapped for up to 2 months.
  • Ginger: Store on the refrigerator shelf, unwrapped for up to 1 month.
  • Ginger (cut): Wrap garlic with a dry paper towel and place in a plastic bag. Store in the refrigerator drawer for 1-2 weeks.
  • Green beans: Wrap green beans with a dry paper towel and place in a plastic bag. Store in the refrigerator drawer for up to 1 week.
  • Head of lettuce: Wrap the head of lettuce with a dry paper towel and place in a plastic bag. Store in the refrigerator drawer for up to 5 days.
  • Mushrooms: Store on the refrigerator shelf in a paper bag for up to 3 days.
  • Onion: Place in a dark pantry, unwrapped for 1-2 months.
  • Onion (halved): Store in the refrigerator drawer sealed in a plastic bag for 3-5 days.
  • Parsnips: Store in the refrigerator drawer in a plastic bag for 2 weeks.
  • Potatoes: Place in a dark pantry in a paper bag for 1-2 months.
  • Radish: Wrap radishes with a dry paper towel and place in a plastic bag. Store in on the refrigerator shelf for up to 2 weeks.
  • Salad greens: Place in a large plastic container and layer greens with dry paper towels. Store in the refrigerator drawer for up to 10 days.
  • Summer squash: Store on a refrigerator shelf in a plastic bag for up to 5 days.
  • Sweet potatoes (yams): Leave in a dark pantry in a paper bag for up to 2 weeks.
  • Winter squash: Leave in a dark pantry, unwrapped for up to 1 month.
  • Winter squash (halved): Store in the refrigerator drawer wrapped in foil for 2-3 weeks.

Herbs

  • Basil: Place basil stems in water and lightly cover basil with plastic. Leave on the countertop for up to 1 week.
  • Chives: Wrap chives with a damp paper towel and wrap with plastic. Store in on the refrigerator shelf for up to 5 days.
  • Cilantro: Place cilantro stems in water and lightly cover cilantro with plastic. Leave on the countertop for up to 1 week.
  • Parsley: Place parsley stems in water and lightly cover parsley with plastic. Store in on the refrigerator shelf for up to 1 week.
  • Rosemary and thyme: Store it on a refrigerator shelf wrapped in plastic for up to 2 weeks.

Meat, Fish, and Eggs

  • Bacon: Store in the refrigerator meat drawer in a sealed bag with no air. Bacon stays fresh for up to 2 weeks unopened and up to 1 week when opened. It can also be stored in the freeze in a sealed bag with no air for up to 1 month.
  • Cold cuts (from the deli counter): Store on the refrigerator shelf in a sealed bag with no air. Cold cuts stay fresh for up to 2 weeks unopened and up to 1 week when opened.
  • Cold cuts (pre-packaged): Store on the refrigerator shelf in the package it came in. Pre-packaged cold cuts stay fresh for up to 2 weeks unopened and up to 5 days when opened.
  • Eggs: Store on the refrigerator shelf in the egg carton for up to 2 weeks or until the expiration date on the carton.
  • Live shellfish: Store on the refrigerator shelf in a shallow tray in a single layer, covered with a damp paper towel for 1 day.
  • Raw fish, scallops, or shrimp: Store in the refrigerator meat drawer in the package it came in for 1 days. They can also be stored in the freezer in a sealed bag with no air for 3-6 months.
  • Raw meat: Store in the refrigerator meat drawer in the package it came in for up to 2 days. It can also be stored in the freezer in a sealed bag with no air for 3-6 months.
  • Raw poultry: Store in the refrigerator meat drawer in the package it came in for up to 2 days. It can also be stored in the freezer in a sealed bag with no air for 3-6 months.
  • Smoked fish: Store on the refrigerator shelf in a sealed bag with no air for 2 weeks unopened for up to 5 days when opened. Smoked fish can also be stored in the freezer in a sealed bag with no air for up to 6 months.

Bread and Dairy

  • Bread: Leave on the counter in a sealed bag with no air for up to 3 days. It can also be stored in the freezer in a sealed bag with no air for up to 3 months.
  • Cheese (fresh): Place cheese in a container filled with water and Store in the refrigerator cheese drawer for up to 1 week. Changing the water every 2 days is recommended.
  • Cheese (soft): Wrap cheese in parchment paper and place in a sealed bag. Store soft cheese in the refrigerator cheese drawer for 1-2 weeks.
  • Cheese (semi-hard): Wrap cheese in parchment paper and place in a sealed bag. Store semi-hard cheese in the refrigerator cheese drawer for up to 2 weeks.
  • Cheese (hard/aged): Wrap cheese in parchment paper and place in a sealed bag. Store aged cheese in the refrigerator cheese drawer for up to 1 month.

Common mistakes in the kitchen - How to Store Your Groceries.

If you’re wondering where to store your groceries, follow the tips on this handy infographic from BuzzFeed (and don’t forget to pin it for later!)

H/t: BuzzFeed

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