Some people may know their way around a kitchen, but as we explained in our last Healthy Living report, there are some common kitchen practices that may do more harm than good. In part two, NY1's Jill Urban has some more healthy-kitchen-habits that can help us all steer clear of food borne illness.
From salmonella to E. coli, we all want to keep food borne illness at bay. But sometimes people don’t realize that some common kitchen habits could be a recipe for trouble. Janet McCraken of Every Day with Rachael Ray Magazine says being conscious and cautious can help prevent harmful bacteria from reaching your plate.
For example, it’s obviously important to clean your sink and counters regularly, but what you clean them with makes a difference.
“Make sure you are not doing it with a dirty sponge. so often our sponges harbor all kinds of bacteria. The best way to take care of that: you can microwave it in 30 second intervals or so until it smells good,” said McCraken.
If you are one who likes to lick the spoon clean when baking, think again. Cookie dough and cake batters have raw egg and eggs may contain salmonella, so don’t lick the spoon no matter how good it tastes.
Speaking of licking spoons, you shouldn’t do it when cooking for others either.
“You don’t want to spread your germs to your friends and family when you are cooking. People forget about this when they are stirring and they pick up the spoon and they take a sip and they put it right back in the pot and stir. It’s not OK. Instead, use that big spoon to put a little taste onto a small spoon,” said McCraken.
Cutting boards are another way germs can be spread. First to prevent cross contamination, she recommends having different colored cutting boards for different types of food. As for cleaning, bacteria can grow in those little scratches and grooves. So, she suggests cleaning plastic ones occasionally with diluted bleach to kill bacteria and she has a great trick for cleaning wooden boards.
“Cut a lemon in half. Put a little salt on the board and just take the cut side of the lemon and scrub the board all over,” said McCraken.
Now another important tip prevent cross contamination is to always have a separate plate for your raw food and your cooked food. You see it all the time. You bring the food out to the grill, you cook it and then you put your food right back on the same plate, contaminating your perfectly good meal. So make sure to have a second plate so you can keep everyone healthy.
For more tips like these and to debunk more food safety myths, go to foodsafety.gov.