The kitchen is one of the most frequented and often overlooked areas in a home. Food hygiene and cleanliness should be top priority for all kitchens. The health, safety, and well-being of your friends, family, flatmates and whoever else lives in your home hinges on you properly cleaning and sanitizing your kitchen surfaces after every meal. From the fridge to the oven, here are 10 tips that will help you keep your kitchen as sanitary as possible.
Cooking your food properly
Food prep can be challenging because it requires a great deal of time and effort. However, if you follow these steps, you will be able to cook your food safely and efficiently.
1) Always clean your hands before preparing food.
2) If you're cooking meat, make sure to use a non-stick pan to avoid grease splatters.
3) Wash your cutting boards between uses with soap and water and dry them thoroughly.
4) Thoroughly scrub countertops or any surfaces that come in contact with raw meat, poultry or fish with soap and water after each use.
5) Have separate knives / chopping boards for meat / fish to avoid cross-contamination.
6) Keep your sink sponges separate from the dishwasher for sanitary reasons.
7) Use clean utensils for cooking and eating every time that they are needed for different purposes.
8) Store leftovers in containers in the fridge or freezer so that they don't sit out on counters where bacteria can grow easily.
9) Clean the oven regularly to prevent mold growth and ensure proper hygiene for all foods placed in it.
10) Always keep the oven door closed when not using it so that no food particles go unnoticed during cleaning time.
Hand washing is the most important way to prevent cross-contamination. Use warm, soapy water and rinse with clear, running water. If you have a dishwasher, fill it with hot soapy water with a drop of bleach and run it through a cycle. Then, rinse your utensils and place them in the dishwasher.
Freezing and defrosting your food
Before you defrost your food, make sure to allow it to thaw enough to be safe. You must defrost foods that have been frozen for a full 24 hours before cooking them. This includes meats and poultry. If you cook straight from frozen, the outside of the food can be cooked whilst the centre may not, this can be dangerous to eat as it has not been cooked properly.
Avoiding cross-contamination on surfaces and chopping boards
There are two main sources of cross-contamination in the kitchen. The first is from surfaces in the kitchen, like chopping boards and cutting boards. Cross-contamination can occur when you put raw meat on a surface that has been used with vegetables or other food items. The second source of cross-contamination is from food preparation, like cooking and cleaning.
Here are three tips for protecting your kitchen surfaces:
● Always wash your hands before preparing or handling food.
● Wipe down surfaces immediately after use with hot water and soap and dry them thoroughly with a clean towel. This will kill any germs that may be present on the surface, which could lead to cross-contamination.
● After using a chopping board, put it back in the dishwasher or wash it by hand and let it air dry before using it again.
Here are some tips for protecting your food preparation surfaces:
● Scrub dishes in the sink with hot soapy water as soon as they come out of the dishwasher to avoid bacteria growth. Rinse them well under clean running water, then dry them thoroughly.
● Use pots, pans, utensils, and bowls without coatings on them to prevent contamination from other foods you prepare or cook ingredients in those pieces of cookware.
● When grilling meats or fish outdoors, don’t place raw meat on a plate resting on top of a cooked meat item; instead, place each item in its own.
Cleaning high-touch items
There are plenty of high-touch surfaces in the kitchen that need to be cleaned and sanitizing on a regular basis. Consider washing dishes by hand rather than using the dishwasher, since most dishwashers contain food particles that can get onto your dishes. Wiping down counters with a damp paper towel is also a good practice.
We learnt the importance of food hygiene and ways on how to go about maintaining it. One of the key methods is avoiding cross-contamination, especially when it comes to meat, fish and poultry. This reduces the spread of bacteria while cooking. It's also important to clean down cooking areas and high touch items such as countertops, eating utensils, dishes, chopping boards and pans.