During Thanksgiving kitchen domination 2012, you’re probably going to have a lot of different food being cooked and prep at the same time. A busy kitchen like that is a battleground for cross-contamination. This is when bacteria from one food is transferred to another food item. It’s gross and can get people seriously ill – especially when it comes to handling raw meats.
Here are a few tips, courtesy of One Fat Frog Restaurant Equipment, to help you avoid cross-contamination and a houseful of sick relatives…
• NEVER, EVER handle raw turkey without washing your hands before and after. Touching raw turkey, chicken, beef, etc. then handling other food is the easiest way to cross-contaminate!!!
• Before getting down to business, clean and sanitize all of the surfaces your going to be preparing food on. Also clean any utensils, cutting boards, pans, etc. you’re gonna be using.
• Keep some clean cloth towels or paper towels on hand for the meal prep and clean-up.
• Keep those hands clean! This is one of the most important steps to avoiding cross-contamination. Always wash up before and after handling food, petting the dog, wrestling a bear, or whatever else it is you do for fun.
• Store turkey and other raw foods that will be cooked on the bottom shelves of your refrigerator. The ready-to-eat foods should go on the top shelves.
• If your turkey is out of the package, keep it in a rimmed pan so the juices don’t get everywhere. Your kitchen’s about the get messy enough – you don’t need additional spills to deal with.
• Try to use as many different cutting boards as you can. Raw foods – especially uncooked turkey – should definitely have their own cutting board. If you’ve only got one cutting board, wash and sanitize it in between uses.
• Wash and sanitize your knives in between uses, especially when it comes to the raw foods. Actually, sanitize ANY utensil that comes in contact with food or a surface that food has touched. This may sound like some germophobe paranoia, but it’s key to avoiding sick relatives and additional spills – if you know what I mean.
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