Preparing different types of meals during family gatherings or for entertainment during holidays can be fun. However, kitchen safety should be your top priority since there are many environmental hazards and pieces of equipment that can cause injury. It is a good habit to observe the basic rules of kitchen safety while paying attention to what you are doing. Besides yourself, it is also important to be mindful of anyone within the vicinity especially if you have children in the house. In this article, we will be discussing ten new kitchen do’s and don’ts that you need to familiarize yourself with every time you are in the kitchen.
1. Do remember to wash your hands
Most people forget to wash their hands before and after cooking. The bacteria and germs present can cause food poisoning. Use soapy water to wash your hands and then dry them afterward using a paper towel. Using a dishtowel to wipe your hands dry contaminates the surfaces where you keep food.
2. Do stack your food carefully in the fridge
Most bacteria can be found in the refrigerator even when the temperatures are too low. It is easy to stick groceries anywhere you see fit when you run out of space because of an upcoming party. It is recommended to organize your food in different sections to prevent cross-contamination. Employ the same strategy in your shopping cart to prevent juices from fish, meat or poultry dripping on other foods.
3. Do use expiration dates as guidelines
The expiration dates on milk and food packages are meant to remind you that your food might not be at its peak quality after a certain period. However, consuming something immediately after the expiry date is a matter of quality rather than safety.
4. Do wipe up spills immediately
Keeping your kitchen floor dry prevents someone from slipping and falling. This can lead to secondary injuries from other items or fixtures in the kitchen. Spills on surfaces such as countertops or kitchen wall should be cleaned immediately to avoid stains and discoloration.
5. Do treat your knives with respect
Kitchen knives can be dangerous if not handled properly. They need to be cleaned and placed away from children after using. It is also important to walk with your knife pointed down to minimize the risk when interacting with your fellow cooks.
6. Don’t use the same chopping board for vegetables, fruits, and raw meat
One of the areas where you should not take any shortcuts is your cutting board. Since we do not want to wash extra dishes, it might seem an easy task using the same chopping board but it increases the risk of cross-contamination. If it is a must that you should use the same cutting board, then you need to prepare vegetables and fruits first, wash it with hot water and soap before preparing raw meat.
7. Don’t wash poultry and raw meat
We tend to wash meat and poultry because we want them to be clean before cooking. This practice increases the chances of spreading harmful bacteria to other surfaces or food. Salmonella or E.coli is one of the common types of bacteria that can be spread to other surfaces after rinsing meat.
8. Don’t allow leftovers to cool down before placing them in the refrigerator.
Most people think that it is a bad idea to place hot food in the refrigerator. Allowing food to cool to room temperature gives it enough time to accumulate bacteria in the surroundings before it is refrigerated. Letting the food sit much longer outside makes it go bad quickly even after it has been placed in the refrigerator. If it hasn’t gone bad, then the quality of its taste will be compromised.
9. Don’t leave leftovers within reach of pets
Curious pets may want to sniff around or have some taste of your food if it is kept within accessible reach. If you are still eating, ensure that the dishes are completely covered or stored after serving. This prevents your food from being contaminated with bacteria and germs present in the unbidden bite from your pet.
10. Don’t defrost foods on the counter
Proper food safety practices demand that frozen foods need to be defrosted in the fridge rather than on the counter. This prevents other surfaces from being contaminated in the process.
It is important to follow the above kitchen safety tips when preparing meals in the kitchen to avoid causing injuries to yourself and other people around you. Lastly, you need to observe good hygiene since bacteria and germs can lead to serious food poisoning.