Use a basting brush to keep meat moist.

©Craig Jewell

Q. What is basting and why do you need to do it?

A. The word basting usually enters the cooking limelight around the holiday season when the Thanksgiving turkey comes out, but what exactly is it?

Essentially, basting is a technique of brushing, spooning or pouring liquids over food, usually meat and poultry, as it cooks. It is very important when you're cooking meat because it helps preserve moisture, adds flavor and gives your food an attractive appearance.

You can use several liquids for basting your meats. Melted butter, pan drippings, broth or a combination of these ingredients make a great basting medium and are frequently used.

If you want to get creative, add some seasoning or flavorings to your base liquid before basting. A bulb baster is an inexpensive specialized utensil that suctions the liquid in the pan and allows you to squeeze it onto the food.

The amount and intervals for basting your meats varies depending on what you're cooking. The best way to be certain about when to baste and how often is to refer to your recipe book.

Ready to try your hand at basting or want to learn more? Visit these sites for recipes and how-to's: