When cooking for the family, what matters is not just the taste. Your top consideration should be the safety of the food and kitchenware you use.
When food is not properly prepared or handled, you and your family may be eating something that could potentially harm your health. Parents have to be more vigilant when it comes to the food that children consume. Here are some safe food preparation tips to keep in mind.
#1 Wash your hands
Washing your hands should be the first thing in your to-do list when preparing food. Wash them with soap and water before handling any food. If you’ve taken a break to do something else in between food preparation, make sure to wash your hands again before going back.
#2 Cook meats, poultry, and seafood thoroughly
Germs thrive in raw meats so it’s very important to make sure all meats are cooked thoroughly. Undercooked meat, especially pork, may cause bacterial or parasitic diseases. Some meat may also appear well done from the outside so always ensure that even the inside parts are well-cooked. If you really have to pre-cook meats, you must reheat them before consuming.
#3 Check your food inside the refrigerator every week
Do a clean sweep of refrigerated food once a week to check which should be thrown at the bin. Pay attention to leftovers that should not be eaten after three to four days upon storage, damaged fruits and vegetables, as well as raw ground meats that can be refrigerated for up to two days only.
#4 Sanitise your cooking tools
Germs not only reside in food but also in your kitchen surfaces and utensils. Sanitise the kitchen with hot, soapy water—from your kitchen sink and counters to cutting boards, utensils, and cooking equipment. Wash your knives before and after using them, especially if used in raw meats.
#5 Separate raw from cooked food
Do not mix raw meat, poultry, and seafood with fruits, vegetables, and cooked food to ensure that bacteria won’t transfer to them. This is true even when you’re shopping so make sure to use separate bags. When it comes to the utensils used, use a separate set as much as possible.
If using the same tools cannot be avoided, wash the items used in raw meat first before reusing them. Also, avoid placing the cooked meats on the same plate where you placed the raw ones.
#6 Familiarise yourself with the proper temperature for storing food
Do not leave recently cooked food out in the open for more than an hour. If you’re not going to eat it right away, store it in the refrigerator as soon as it cools. Bacteria usually grow quickly in food that are kept between 5°C and 60°C. Store cold food at 4°C or below while hot food should be kept at 60°C or above.
#7 Use safe water
The quality of water is very important when preparing food. When in doubt, boil the water first for at least 10 to 15 minutes.