Tips & Precautions for your Kitchen

Cooking is fun; however, you must be careful while working in the kitchen. A little miss here or a slip there can lead to severe injuries or accidents. Paying attention in the kitchen is one way to prevent any mishaps. Adults and children both need to know the necessary kitchen safety precautions. Here are a few tips and precautions to be kept in mind while cooking in the kitchen.

Five Important Knife Safety Rules

The Consumer Product and Safety Commission has a whole list of general safety tips while using a kitchen knife. Given below are a few important ones:

• Avoid using dull knives as they are more dangerous than sharp ones. Keep your knives sharp.

• While cutting anything with a knife, always cut in a direction away from your body.

• Never attempt to catch a dropping knife. You can always pick it up once it falls on the ground and this will save you from unnecessary injuries.

• Do not use knives for screwing, hammering, pounding, or prying.

• When using a chef's knife to slice food items, hold the knife handle with your last three fingers, and grasp the blade with your index finger and thumb. Always use your other hand to stabilize the food being cut and guide the knife. Protect your fingers by keeping them curled and your thumb by tucking it behind your curled fingers.

Cook Food in the Microwave Properly

• We know that the microwave helps cook our food faster and helps kill the harmful bacteria in food. However, certain foodstuffs like raw meat, poultry, or fish sometimes can remain undercooked, leading to a bout of foodborne illnesses.

• Cold spots is one of the reasons for the food not cooking properly. Hence it is always better to arrange your dish in the microwave in such a way so that you stir, rotate, and cook it evenly.

• Make use of potholders while taking out hot dishes from the microwave and be aware of the steam.

• Never use metallic dishes in a microwave. Microwave-safe containers are your best option.

Avoid Keeping Dairy or Meat Out for Long

The best way to store dairy or raw meat, fish, or poultry is to refrigerate them or freeze them right away. Keeping them out for long when they are not in use can spoil them. Also, store your meat products separately, away from other food items in your fridge.

Fire Precautions to be Kept in Mind

• Keep a Fire Extinguisher Handy in your Kitchen

Disasters in the kitchen are unpredictable; hence you always need to be ready with everything that can help during a crisis. A fire extinguisher is a piece of critical equipment that can always come in handy during cooking fires. It would be best if you learn how to use an extinguisher. Always keep a small fire extinguisher in the kitchen.

• Know the Skill of Extinguishing Fire

Never try to put out a fire in the kitchen with water. Instead, use a pan to cover it or add baking soda. Air adds fuel to the fire, and the best way to cut it off is to suffocate the fire by removing air. Use a fire extinguisher to put out the fire inside an oven. In case of a microwave fire, switch off the appliance and do not open the door.

Clothing Tips while Working in the Kitchen

• Jewelry like bracelets, bangles, or dangling necklaces can easily tangle around pan or pot handles and lead to kitchen mishaps.

• Avoid wearing baggy or long-sleeved clothing in the kitchen. The chances of those long sleeves catching fire are higher, and the outcome will not be good. Moreover, avoid wearing synthetic clothing like rayon or nylon while cooking as they are highly inflammable and can stick to your skin due to the overheating.

• Keep a pair of shoes separately for your kitchen and use them while working in the kitchen. Wearing shoes in the kitchen can protect your feet from getting any injury that might occur if you drop a knife, glass, hot water, or oil spills. Moreover, if you opt for cushion shoes, it can give your feet the support it requires while standing long in the kitchen.

Safety Tips while Working with Children in the Kitchen

• Always ensure the kids wash their hands before and after they handle any food.

• If your children have long hair, have them tie it back before they enter the kitchen. Leaving loose hair in the kitchen may cause accidental fire or block their view while cooking. The loose hair can also end up in your food.

• Teach your child to turn away the handles of pots and pans from them to avoid accidental knock overs.

• Monitor your children while handling sharp objects like knives, food processors, or blenders and let them know how to manage them the right way.

Smart Grocery Shopping Tips

You need to ensure that before the food gets into your kitchen, it is essential you follow all the necessary food safety precautions. Here are some of the most important tips:

• Always shop for perishable items last.

• Always check the expiry date of your food.

• Do not buy any frozen meat that is in a torn or leaking package.

• Place your meat in an extra carry bag before you put it in the cart.

• Avoid buying cans of food that have dents or damages on them.

Tips for Cooking Safely with Oil

• Before you pour oil in any pot or pan on a gas stove, please make sure that there is no water in them. Pouring oil in a pan with water will cause the water to splatter, which can cause injury.

• Always lower your gas flame and then slowly add oil in a pan as it will prevent the oil splashing and save you from any burns.

• Avoid adding food into a pan with hot oil. You need to lower the flame first, and then slowly add your food items into the pan and away from you so that the oil does not splash.

Kitchen Cleaning Tips

The key to a spic and span kitchen is to clean and maintain it regularly. Here are a few essential tips that can come in handy while cleaning your kitchen:

• You can get rid of all the dirt and grime from your stovetop with some dishwasher soap, water, and scrubber. For tough stains, you can try mixing a cup of white vinegar with two cups of baking soda and get rid of that gunge on your gas stove as well as any other appliance.

• Clean and sanitize your kitchen platform with warm soapy water before and after you use it. If you use your kitchen countertop to cut meat or smash eggs, clean the platform with a mild bleach and water solution.

• The kitchen sink is the most dangerous place when it comes to cooking. You may find different foodborne pathogens that can linger around in the sink if not properly taken care of. Use a kitchen cleaner with bleach to clean the sink and get rid of all the harmful germs.

• Use kitchen paper towels to clean your hands or clear any spills. It is much safer than using dishtowels to sanitize your kitchen.

• Clean and replace your dishtowels and sponges regularly. Damp sponges or cloths have higher chances of bacterial growth. Use hot water to wash dishcloths and soak sponges in bleach water for effective cleaning.

Kitchen Appliance Safety Tips

• Pressure Cooker: Avoid overfilling a pressure cooker. Release the pressure before lifting the lid from the cooker. Cooking large pieces of frozen meat in a pressure cooker may not always work as they may not cook thoroughly.

• Crockpots or Slow Cookers: Crockpots almost work like an oven and help keep your food warm for longer. Always keep your crockpot in a heat-safe flat area with no objects lying near it. Clean the crockpot thoroughly only after it cools down completely.

• Coffee Maker: Avoid overfilling the water tank. While pouring coffee, ensure you hold the heat-safe handle and pour it into a cup that is on a flat surface away to avoid any knock overs. You can deep clean your coffee maker with a vinegar solution and water and brew them inside to get a thoroughly clean machine. If you accidentally burn yourself while pouring coffee, immediately run cool water over the affected area.

• Toaster Oven: Always place the toaster oven on a heat-safe, flat surface. Use oven mitts while taking out hot food from the toaster oven. Decrease the risk of fire by unplugging the machine when not in use.

Use Separate Cutting Boards for Veggies and Meat

Finally, always use separate cutting boards for meats, fruits, and vegetables. The Food and Drug Administration recommends using two different cutting boards as it prevents the risk of any food poisoning. However, if you must use only one board, then the best idea is to thoroughly wash the cutting board with hot water and soap before and after you use it for cutting meats.

If you follow the tips mentioned above and take precautions while working in the kitchen, keeping your food safe and your family safer from any accidents or food poisoning will be easy. All good things come at a cost, and therefore, following these tips may consume more time but will prevent your household from any accidental kitchen mishaps and put you at ease.