Food is such an essential part of our lives. Cooking is a survival skill, but it can also be a passion. The love and effort that can go into cooking even the simplest dish can shine through to the recipients of this food. By showing respect for your ingredients and paying attention to some small details, you can make the very most of your food no matter what ingredients to which you have access.

Indenting the center of a hamburger patty by up to one half inch will prevent bulging during cooking. Just a poke in the middle prior to cooking will allow a more even distribution of heat and will stop your burger from swelling on the top, something most of us are all too familiar with.

Get the most juice out of lemons. Fresh lemon juice is much more tasty than the kind that comes out of a bottle, but it is sometimes surprising how little juice you can get out of a lemon. Heat the lemon in a microwave for 20 seconds on high power. Then, roll the lemon on your cutting board using as much pressure as possible. This way, you will get about twice the amount of juice out of the lemon, and your dish will be much more flavorful!

If you would like to bake a berry desert in the winter (when most berries are out of season), use frozen berries as a delicious and more eco-friendly alternative to fresh ones! Thaw your frozen berries for 45 minutes, drain the excess, then use as you normally would when making a berry pie or cobbler.

Fresh herbs can add a great deal to most recipes. Herbs can be tricky to handle, though, because they need to be chopped so finely. Sprinkling salt over the cutting board before chopping herbs can cut down on mess. The salt encourages herbs to stick to the board instead of flying off.

Don’t forget to clean your grill before you use it by scrubbing the grilling surface with a wire brush while it heats up. This way the removed food and grease burn off. Built up food on the grill doesn’t add flavor to the meat, but make the fresh food stick to the metal much easier.

Keep your supplies and utensils well organized. If they are not properly organized, you will wind up rummaging around to find what you need. Try to keep things with similar purposes in proximity to one another. For example, keep all of your spices in one cabinet. You can even organize them further by grouping them according to color, flavor, type or any other effective method.

Cooking is an activity that is what you make of it. You can either let it be a chore or enjoy it as the creative process it is. Cooking can be very satisfying. The creation of an edible piece of artwork that started as such a different ingredient can be an almost miraculous event and is as rewarding for the cook as it is for the person who eats the final product.