The holidays are meant to be a time when loved ones come together to share a meal and enjoy each other’s company. Unfortunately, accidents in kitchens also spike during the holiday season. Families might spend more time than usual prepping, baking, and cooking. From personal safety to food safety, there is a lot to consider, so be prepared and avoid serious mishaps this holiday season with these simple tips.
Understanding Kitchen Safety Hazards
To avoid accidents in the kitchen, it’s important to understand the various dangers that exist in the kitchen. Here are some kitchen hazards that are common causes of holiday accidents.
- Always handle kitchen knives with caution.
- When chopping a round object, cut one side carefully and then place the flat side down on a block so that the item is stable for additional chopping.
- Keep your knives sharpened so you can avoid straining while using them.
- To prevent blade contact, place one hand on the knife handle and the other on top of the knife.
Small Kitchen Appliances
- Read the directions carefully for your small kitchen appliances.
- Avoid overfilling any appliance, like a crockpot or coffee maker.
- Make sure small appliances are on a flat, heat-safe surface.
- Use tongs to handle hot items, staying mindful of water or oil splashing.
- Avoid leaving items unattended while cooking on a stovetop. Use oven mitts to remove a hot lid when checking a dish.
- Avoid overfilling a pot when boiling water. Make sure you have a clear path to the sink (no children or pets in the room) when you dump boiling water.
- When removing a pan or dish from the oven, use oven-safe mittens and make sure you hold the dish well away from your body.
- Never use water on a grease fire. Instead, use baking soda or smother the flames with a pot cover.
- For stove, oven, or microwave fires, shut off the appliance and unplug it if possible.
- Use a fire extinguisher for electrical fires – not water.
- As a safety precaution, call the fire department after you’ve experienced a kitchen fire.
Practice Appropriate Food Safety
In addition to accidents related to sharp objects, heat, and appliances, there are many safety issues surrounding food preparation. If food isn’t stored or prepared correctly, you and your loved ones could experience food poisoning. Here are some helpful tips to follow:
Storing Food Properly
- Depending on the temperature of your kitchen or home, it’s important to refrigerate food within one to two hours of the meal.
- Your freezer temperature should be below zero, and your refrigerator should be kept at below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
- After wrapping securing, store meat on the bottom shelf of your refrigerator to lower the chances of juices dripping on other items.
Smart Food Shopping
- Avoid purchasing any food that is past its expiration date.
- Don’t buy damaged or dented boxes or cans of food.
- Avoid purchasing meat in a leaking or torn package.
- Purchase your perishable foods last.
Washing Your Hands
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before you begin preparing your holiday meal.
- As your hands come into contact with various surfaces and food throughout the day, wash them again to avoid spreading bacteria.
Thawing Meat Correctly
- Plan in advance to thaw meat in the refrigerator.
- If thawing meat in cold water, allow 30 minutes for every pound and cook immediately after thawing.
- Place meat in a pan or bowl so that it doesn’t drip on other meat as it thaws.
Safe Cooking With Oils
- Avoid splashing and minor burns by heating your oil slowly.
- Add food to hot oil slowly to avoid splashing.
- If you smell food burning, turn the heat off and wait several minutes for the oil to cool.
- Let oily pots and pans cool completely before cleaning them to avoid burns.
Avoiding Food Cross-Contamination
- Use clean and separate cutting boards for every type of food. Always use plastic cutting boards for meat.
- Use a sanitizing solution to clean all surfaces after cutting raw fish or meat.
- Never return cooked fish or meat to the same plate you used to transport or store the items raw.
Use Only Use the Best Ingredients
When it comes to food safety, the ingredients you use are important. At Nick’s of Clinton, we carry high-quality products and can help complete your holiday shopping in no time. Whether you are looking for the freshest meats, need to cater part of your meal, or want to complement it with the right beer, wine, or spirits, find out how we can help. Give us a call at (301) 843-4825 or visit our Waldorf, MD location today.