Flavoring ingredients can be added at the beginning, middle, or end, depending on the cooking time, the cooking process, and the flavoring ingredient.

1. Only a few flavorings can be added successfully at the end of cooking.These include fresh (not dried) herbs, sherry or flamed brandy, and condiments like prepared mustard and Worcestershire sauce.

2. Most flavorings need heat to release their flavors and time for the flavors to blend. Whole spices take longest. Ground spices release flavors more quickly and thus don't require as long a cooking time.

3. Too much cooking results in loss of flavor. Most flavors, whether in spices or in main ingredients, are volatile, which means they evaporate when heated.That is why you can smell food cooking.

We can conclude that herbs and spices should cook with the foods long enough to release their flavors but not so long that their flavors are lost. If cooking times are short, you can generally add spices and herbs at the beginning or middle of cooking time. If cooking times are long, it is usually better to add them in the middle or toward the end of cooking time.

Note: Food safety experts recommend adding dried spices and herbs at least 30 minutes before the end of cooking so any microorganisms they might carry will be destroyed.

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