Cooking can be a relaxing pastime, and the food prepared can be awesome. Unfortunately, the kitchen is considered to be the place in the home where the most accidents occur. These common cooking safety tips will help you be safe while you’re cooking and keep those going through the kitchen safe as well.
Hot pots and pans, boiling water, splattering oil, sharp knives – all these things are common in a kitchen. They are also the things that make working in a kitchen a dangerous place. Keeping the area clean to avoid contaminating the food is also important.
Even though this may seem like an oxymoron, keep your knives sharp. Even though you may cut yourself, the cut will be less damaging than what you’ll get with a dull knife.
• Always cut away from yourself, never toward yourself.
• Always use a cutting board when cutting food; don’t place the item in your hand.
• Don’t leave knives in the sink. Put them to the side, preferably with the point down in a container.
• Don’t store knives laying flat in a drawer. Storage should be with point down in a butcher’s block or some other holder.
• Don’t put your guiding hand on the knife blade for leverage; this is a sure way to get hurt.
Make sure that your kitchen is clean – top to bottom, inside and out – to avoid cross-contamination of germs.
• Always wash your hands before handling foods and after handling raw meat.
• Keep raw meat in a separate area of your refrigerator. Keep it tightly wrapped in the lowest drawer or shelf so juices have nothing to contaminate should they escape the package.
• Wash the counter top or cutting board with warm, soapy water when you’ve finished handling the meat. To help disinfect the areas, use a mixture of 1 part chlorine bleach to 9 parts water.
• Use separate cutting boards for raw meats and vegetables. If you must, color code your cutting boards so you won’t forget which you need.
Cook all meats to recommended internal temperatures as determined by the United States Dietary Association:
• Steaks and Roasts – cook to 145°F
• Egg dishes – cook to 160°F
• Fish – cook to 145°F
• Chicken breasts – cook to 165°F
• Pork – cook to 160°F
• Whole poultry – 165°F
• Ground beef – cook to 160°F
Keep your refrigerator temperature set below 41°F. Your freezer should be kept at 0°F. Date each item as it is placed in your freezer so that you can use it before it goes bad.
Thaw foods in the refrigerator overnight, in the microwave oven, or submerge it in a bowl of cold water. Place the package in a watertight plastic bag and then submerge in water which is changed every 30 minutes. Don’t just leave the meat on the counter or in the sink to thaw. This will likely cause the bacteria in the food to multiply and cause someone to get sick.
Finally, don’t sample your meals while you’re cooking unless you use a clean spoon or fork each time. Taste testing just once can transfer germs from your mouth to the food.
Cooking can be hazardous, but it doesn’t have to be. By taking some of the precautions mentioned, you can cook with confidence and the knowledge that you’ve done so in a healthy manner. You’ll also know that the food you’ve prepared for your family is nutritious, delicious, and safe!
Never worry about what's for dinner again. I've got you covered with the meal plans in the Once a Week Cooking Club. Cook once, eat all week.
Please be aware that some links used are to affiliates. They are almost always to products I use and love.