4 Kitchen Mistakes Not to Make in 2016

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When was the last time you had an oops moment in the kitchen? For me, it was a few weeks back when I absently dropped a potholder on an off, but still hot, burner. Though I quickly realized my mistake, it wasn’t before embossing my cute strawberry pot holder with a fancy new charred pattern … that rendered it unusable.

Eh, it was time for some new potholders anyway.

Who hasn’t make a mistake in the kitchen at one time or another? Whether it’s making a chili way too hot (guilty!) or over-salting a dish (guilty again!) or forgetting a key ingredient, we all mess up from time to time.

What was your last kitchen mistake? Share in the comments, or email me at scaron@bangordailynews.com. I want to hear!

As we approach 2016, here are some important mistakes to avoid as you cook deliciously, eat well and enjoy all that food in Maine has to offer.

Not Tasting as You Go

When you’re cooking, the cooking process can change how different seasonings taste — and their intensity. For this reason, it’s a bad idea to heavily salt and pepper a dish in the early stages of cooking. Instead, season lightly and taste throughout the cooking process so you can adjust seasonings without overwhelming the dish with too much salt or anything else. But, for that matter, you don’t want to under-season either.

Softening Butter Too Much

Have you ever really, really wanted to bake something but didn’t want to take the time to soften butter to room temperature? It’s so easy to pop it in the microwave, right? But often, that leads to inconsistently softened butter where some is completely melted, some is super soft and the rest is firmer. This will impact whatever you bake, changing the texture and consistency of baked goods. And in cookies, it can lead to flatter, more spread out cookies, instead of tender, chewy ones. Instead, take the time to soften butter at room temperature. The end result will be worth the effort.

Using Metal Cooking Utensils in Nonstick Pans

If you’re using nonstick pans, it’s essential to use the right utensils to cook with. Sure, metal spatulas, for instance, seem to just work better for flipping. But the metal scratches the surface of the pan which can be bad for the pan — and for you too. Instead, opt for wood, rubber or other non-abrasive cooking utensils when using nonstick. Or use a well-seasoned cast iron pan instead, which is virtually nonstick thanks to the seasoning.

Not Washing Reusable Bags

It’s not enough to remember your reusable bags when you head to the grocery store. You also need to remember to wash them regularly. After all, you don’t want last week’s raw chicken mingling with this week’s Brussels sprouts, right? Reusable bags can easily become contaminated when exposed to the juices of meats, eggs, produce and more. In 2016, make it a habit to wash them after use.

Sarah Walker Caron

About Sarah Walker Caron

Sarah Walker Caron is senior features editor for the Bangor Daily News, and resident cook. She writes a cooking column, Maine Course, and is also author of "Grains as Mains: Modern Recipes Using Ancient Grains." Her recipes have appeared in the BDN, Betty Crocker publications, Glamour.com and more.