Top 10 Kitchen Safety Tips at Home… The Do’s and Don’ts
Understanding hazards in your kitchen where you cook can help you and your family escape burns, cuts, slips and a stint of food poisoning especially as we are now in lockdown.
When preparing and cooking with sharp knives and hot temperatures, accidents are guaranteed to occur in your kitchen. Understanding the safety hazards can help you and your family avoid burns, cuts, slips and a stint of food poisoning. Here are some of my favourite kitchen safety do’s and don’ts to practice in your home.
1. Always wash your hands
As our hands are in direct contact with food, they are the most common vehicle for transferring food poisoning bacteria. Hands must be kept clean at all times. Remember it is important to wash your hands in hot soapy water before and after cooking. Try to use paper towels to dry your hands afterward because if a dish towel touches any raw meats or juices it can lead to a bad case of food poisoning. The fingertips, between the fingers, the thumbs, the hands, and the wrists should all receive your attention.
2. Wear safe clothing in your kitchen
Suitable clothing should be worn, don’t wear long, baggy sleeves in the kitchen. Can you imagine your sleeve catching fire on a gas stove? The outcome could be frightening. In general, tops with fitted sleeves or no sleeves work best. Likewise, avoid wearing anything flammable or synthetic; when overheated, these fabrics can melt onto your skin, so it’s better to be safe.
3. Wear shoes
Have you ever dropped a knife? Now imagine that going into your foot. Ouch! Wearing shoes while you prepare and cook food is always recommended. Not only will the shoes protect you from a fallen sharp object, but they will also protect you from other kitchen mishaps such as broken glass, oil spills or hot water.
4. Don’t use the same cutting board for raw meat, cooked meat, vegetables and fruits
Don’t cut corners to chopping boards, we all want to avoid washing extra chopping boards, but this is one area in which you shouldn’t take shortcuts to avoid cross contamination. Using the same cutting board for raw and cooked meats, vegetables and fruits is a guaranteed way to get the whole family sick with food poisoning.
You should always use different chopping boards for raw and cooked meats, fish and poultry. I am obsessed with chopping boards and have many different ones for my food products.
If you must use the same board, its safest to prepare your fruits and vegetables first, wash your cutting board thoroughly with soap and hot water, and then prepare your meat, poultry and fish products.
5. Learn how to use knives
Did you know that an unsharpened knife is more likely to slip and cut you than a sharp knife? Keeping your knives sharpened is one of the easiest ways to keep them safe. A simple solution is to use a knife sharpener to maintain a keen-edged blade. Also, you should choose the correct knife for the task at hand. Don’t leave knives around for little ones to reach and hurt themselves.
6. Prevent burns
When cooking, make sure that the handles of your pots and pans are turned inwards and not outwards. This will be safer than someone knocking into them resulting in your food flying all over the place and burning you. Always have oven mitts close by when handling anything on the stove top or oven. Don’t use wet oven cloths because they will not keep the heat from burning your hands. Also, if you have children, you must keep an eye and have pans placed at the back so little hands cannot reach and hurt themselves.
7. Always stir and lift away from yourself
When lifting a lid on a saucepan there will be condensation on the top. When lifting it off toward you, the scalding condensation can drip onto your skin, causing burns, so you need to be very careful. The same goes for stirring your hot food. Make sure you always stir away from your body.
8. Don’t set a hot glass dish on a wet or cold surface
Glass expands when it gets warm and shrinks when it cools down, which causes stress, resulting in a combustion of glass. The best place to set a glass lid is on top of a trivet or a cutting board.
9. Don’t use metal utensils on non-stick
Cooking with metal utensils on non-stick pans can cause flaking or chipping. This can, in turn, mix toxic compounds into your food. A better solution is to use plastic spoons.
10. Learn to have a fire extinguisher in your house and know how to use it
Cooking is one of the leading cause of fires and injuries that occur in our homes. Be sure to always have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen and know how to use it. It takes only seconds for a fire to get uncontrollable. Learn about different types of fires such as electric and grease fires. Never put them out with water, otherwise you will have an explosion. Suffocating the fire by removing air is the best way to put out most fires. With a clean tea towel. A fire inside your oven is best put out with an extinguisher, and a microwave fire can be put out just by turning off the appliance and keeping the door closed.