1. Salt and Pepper: Salt is the most important seasoning in cooking. Salt acts as a binder on a molecular level and helps other seasonings stick to the product being cooked. Salt also helps to draw out moisture, which helps keep food flavorful. Pepper is a seasoning that goes hand in hand with salt. Pepper has a gentle spicy flavor that can add a bit of heat to a dish without overpowering other flavors. When using salt and pepper, always season with salt first. It is generally best to use a ratio of three parts salt to one part pepper when seasoning. 00:30
2. Herbs: Fresh herbs have stronger flavor and greater potency than dried herbs. Some commonly used herbs are thyme, rosemary, and sage. When using fresh herbs, try to buy herbs that are currently in season. Dry herbs will have a more muted flavor than their fresh counterparts and are good for use in soups and sauces. Dry herbs are also great for use in seasoning rubs because they can withstand high heat better than fresh herbs. 02:10
3. Spices: Spices are seasonings created from the bark, root, or seeds of plants. Some common spices include cumin seeds, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, and ground cinnamon. Spices can be purchased pre-ground or can be purchased whole and ground at home. When working with spices that impart heat, like paprika and cayenne, use a light hand. Hot spices can easily overpower the flavors of a dish. For a spicy flavor that isn’t overpowering, try using smoked paprika. Ground cinnamon is another great spice to use with meat dishes that provides an unexpected, complex flavor. 04:01
4. For a well stocked pantry, Chef Bryon recommends keeping salt and pepper, a few herbs that you like, and a few spices that you like. 08:19
What You'll Need
- A variety of herbs and spices
As a rule of thumb, dried spices can generally be kept for approximately one year if stored properly. After a year, they tend to lose aroma and flavor.
Chef Bryon’s tips for successful seasoning include using salt as the main seasoning in a dish, and not being intimidated by unfamiliar spices. He suggests experimenting with different flavors.
Chef Bryon suggests using dry herbs in seasoning rubs. To learn more about creating rubs, visit Chef Charlie McKenna's "How to Make a Basic BBQ Rub" tutorial located at the bottom of the page.
Chef Bryon notes that he likes to buy whole cumin seeds and other whole spices and grind them himself. To learn more about grinding spices at home, visit Chef Simon Majumdar's "How to Toast and Grind Spices" tutorial located at the bottom of the page.