How to Season Properly

Follow these steps to get maximum flavor from your meals, then watch our how-to video.

How-To: Season Properly

Properly seasoned food is what separates the professional cooks from the amateurs.

Step 1: Salt

There are endless varieties of salt. Each has a unique flavor and texture based on its origins. The most common are kosher salt, fine salt and sea salt.

Step 2: Kosher and Fine Salt

Kosher salt has a neutral flavor and is less concentrated than fine table salt. It also has larger crystals and is more tactile, so you can control how much you are using if you add it with your fingers. Fine salt is smaller and harder to control when sprinkling. And because it is more compact, it packs more sodium per teaspoon. Tip: If your recipe calls for kosher salt and you have only table salt, use less than the amount called for.

Step 3: Sea Salt

Sea salt lends a briny flavor and comes in both course and fine varieties. Tip: Some sea salts can be expensive, like fleur de sel. Use it to finish a dish and heighten flavors. Use the salt you like the taste of best in your recipes. Fact: In Roman times, soldiers were paid in salt, hence the word "salary."

Step 4: Peppercorns

Now let's talk about pepper. Freshly ground pepper has a much better peppery flavor than pre-ground. Fresh ground pepper comes from whole peppercorns. Peppercorns come in white, green and black varieties. They have different flavors and levels of heat.

Step 5: Start Seasoning

Take a pinch of kosher salt in your fingers. Raise your hand high and sprinkle the salt while moving over the food. The higher you are, the more evenly seasoned your food will be. Salt draws out moisture. If you want things, like onion slices, to wilt, salt them first. If you want something crispy, salt it later.

Step 6: Season to Taste

If a recipe says season to taste, it means taste your food and add more salt if you think it needs it. Good seasoning means great food!