April 14, 2020 11:00 am
The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly affected our way of life — changing how we work and how we perform our day-to-day functions. Even though this unprecedented crisis has limited our access to food and other resources, we must not be short with knowledge and practices in terms of safe preparation of food.
Whether you are preparing meaty dishes or gulay recipes , food served to your family must not only be filled with varied nutrients in balanced proportion. It must also be safe for consumption and free from microbes that may cause diseases. To ensure basic food safety, you must remember these few fundamental tips.
The C.O.O.K. of Preparing Food Safely
The first step in every kitchen activity is to clean and tidy up the area, materials, and even the food items prior to cooking. But first, do proper handwashing, since this is a vital practice in order to prevent spread of diseases and avoid contamination of food. Practice Wash-Rinse-Sanitize for your kitchen area as much as possible. Wash kitchen utensils that are needed in preparing and cooking food such as chopping boards, knife, spoons, ladles, etc. Lastly, wash food items accordingly, scrape off the soil fragments in your root crops, soak and rinse your green leafy vegetables.
In preparing food, an essential rule to follow is to separate raw food from cooked foods. Raw foods, like chicken and other meat products, contain salmonella, E. Coli, and other microbes that may cause diseases. These microbes may contaminate cooked, and ready-to-eat foods when mishandled. Use separate chopping boards and other utensils (knife, spoons, etc.) for raw food and cooked food.
Cooking food at a certain time at the right temperature kills these microbes ensuring safe food. Blood traces in fried chicken is a common example of time and temperature abuse wherein the chicken did not achieve a certain temperature at an ample amount of time to cook all the way through and it can be harmful when ingested especially by your children. To top it all, an essential rule exist to guide you in observing proper time and temperature of food, “Serve hot foods hot, and cold foods cold”.
After cooking, it is recommended to serve and eat the food at once to maintain its quality and food safety. But for some instance, you cook food too early or there are left over foods that can be utilized in the next meal, it is noteworthy to keep your food in proper container and storage. Cooked foods must not stay at room temperature for more than 4 hours, especially cream or tomato based food since they are more susceptible to spoilage. Keep left over food in the refrigerator to avoid spoilage as well. Do not cover hot foods at once since it can form steam and moisture making it prone to microbes. Use clean containers when keeping food. Do proper reheating of leftover food (though a microwave or on a stove) to make sure that the food is safe to eat.
Preparing and cooking food safely ensures the safety of your family. Remember these tips as you prepare your meals every day. Serve nutrient-filled and safe food for your family. Stay tuned for more Power Meals!