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For a Touch of Tang, Try Sumac

Published July 1, 2017.

In the test kitchen, we most often reach for a lemon when we want to brighten a dish’s flavor, but there’s another way: Simply add some of the lemony spice known as sumac.

Seasonings Beyond Salt and Pepper

Published May 1, 2017.

While salt and pepper are always a consideration for final tweaks, our test cooks also look to a range of other pantry ingredients that can help bring a dish into just the right balance.

Is Tofu Worth Marinating?

Published May 1, 2017.

We know that, contrary to popular belief, marinades do most of their work on the surface of meat and poultry.

How to Make Flavored Salts

Published March 1, 2017.

Flavored salts can be expensive, but it’s easy to make them on your own.

Table Salt versus Kosher Salt?

Published January 1, 2017.

Since table salt and kosher salt are practically identical in terms of chemistry, why do recipes specify one or the other?

Science: Substituting Dried Herbs for Fresh

Published May 1, 2015.

When fresh herbs aren't readily available, it can be tempting to swap in dried herbs when a recipe calls for fresh. How well does this work?

Substituting Black Pepper for White Pepper

Published May 1, 2015.

Can black pepper be substituted for white pepper in recipes?

Science: When Should You Add Salt During Cooking?

Published March 1, 2015.

Most recipes (and culinary schools) advise seasoning food with salt early in the cooking process, not just at the end. We decided to investigate this conventional wisdom to see if the timing of seasoning makes a notable difference.

Low-Sodium Salt in Baking

Published March 1, 2015.

We wondered how well LoSalt salt substitute, which replaces some of table salt’s sodium chloride with potassium chloride, would fare in baking applications.

Aleppo Pepper

Published January 1, 2015.

To add a more nuanced kick of spiciness to dishes than red pepper flakes can offer, give Aleppo pepper a try.

Black Pepper's Hidden Flavors

Published January 1, 2015.

Don’t skip early additions of pepper when a recipe calls for it—the spice will infuse the dish with a noticeable depth.

Bringing Out the Best in Garlic Powder

Published November 1, 2014.

We devised a quick test to find out if we could coax more flavor from garlic powder by treating it as we would a spice.

Blue Ginger

Published September 1, 2014.

Why does fresh ginger sometimes have a blue-gray color?

How Much Sodium Is in Brined Food?

Published May 1, 2014.

We sent cooked samples of food that we brined to an independent lab for sodium analysis.

Using Basil Stems in Recipes

Published March 1, 2014.

Cilantro stems can be used in recipes. Is this also the case with basil stems?

A Better Way to Store (and Use) Vanilla Beans

Published September 1, 2013.

Vanilla beans supply flavor that’s superior to vanilla extract, but they also require a little more maintenance.

Dried vs. Fresh Lemon Grass

Published September 1, 2013.

Can dried lemon grass be substituted for fresh?

Maximize Your Brine

Published September 1, 2013.

Could we pack more meat into the same volume of brine to save space in the fridge?

Leave Out Lower-Fiber Vegetables When Freezing Stew

Published September 1, 2013.

Freezing stew offers make-ahead convenience, but not all vegetables handle freezing and reheating well. Which vegetables work well for this purpose, and which ones don't?

Lessening a Chile Pepper's Burn on Skin or in Mouth

Published July 1, 2013.

Are there good ways for getting rid of the irritating burn that can happen when you accidentally touch a fresh hot chile?

Enhancing Flavor with Kombu

Published July 1, 2013.

A little kelp can help out the flavor of your soups and sauces in a big way.

Keeping Basil Green in Pesto

Published May 1, 2013.

We found two proven methods on how to keep the basil from discoloring over time.

What Kind of Mustard Should Be Used in a Vinaigrette?

Published May 1, 2013.

What types of mustard, aside from Dijon, can be used when making vinaigrette?

Grinding Cardamom

Published May 1, 2013.

We often recommend grinding whole spices for greater flavor complexity. Does this also apply to spices like cardamom, which is already quite potent when it's available preground?

Making a Vegetarian Substitute for Fish Sauce

Published March 1, 2013.

Is there a homemade vegetarian substitute for fish sauce?

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