12 Nerdy But Brilliant Cooking Tips From A Food Scientist

    From making your produce last longer to cooking perfect pasta.

    For those of you who don't know, Harold McGee is a writer who focuses on the intersection of cooking and science.

    So here are 12 of his most brilliantly nerdy cooking tips (and some busted misconceptions) that'll make you a better cook:

    1. As soon as you drain your boiled veggies, coat them in oil to prevent them from drying out.

    2. If you're making a creamy sauce that's made with an acidic ingredient (like wine or lemon juice), use heavy cream instead of milk to prevent it from curdling.

    3. To make your fresh berries last longer, dunk them in hot water as soon as you get home.

    4. And to freshen up a steak that's been sitting in your fridge, scrape the outside with a knife and run it under cold water.

    5. And when it's time to cook it, forget about "sealing in the juices" with a hard sear — instead, just don't cook it over 140°F, to prevent any moisture loss.

    6. To roast a turkey and actually keep it moist, remove the legs from the breasts and cook them separately (or use ice packs to manipulate their temperatures).

    7. To cook fish that has a crispy skin, only use thick-cut fillets.

    8. And if you don't want your house to smell fishy, try adding one of these functional ingredients while cooking it: green tea, onion, bay, sage, clove, ginger, or cinnamon.

    9. Despite what people think, quality wooden cutting boards actually have anti-bacterial compounds that carry bacteria away from the surface of foods, making them just as sanitary as plastic ones.

    10. To soften brown sugar that has dried out, store it with a damp paper towel or slice of apple.

    11. Prevent pasta from sticking together by "adding a spoonful or two of oil to the pot and then lifting the noodles through the water surface a few times to lubricate them."

    12. To make peeling hard-boiled eggs easier, add baking soda to the water and let them cool in the fridge so the whites firm up.

    For even more brilliantly nerdy cooking tips, get McGee's book On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen on Amazon for $24.32.

    What are your favorite Harold McGee cooking tips? Let us know in the comments!