Many people enjoy cooking and preparing various dishes for themselves and their families. They often experiment with different recipes and invest in the best kitchen tools and appliances to ensure they have tasty results each time. Since cooking involves dealing with high temperatures, open flame, and sharp objects, it is important to use kitchen equipment properly. Even when you are using high-quality kitchen appliances Singapore residents trust, proper usage and maintenance should be followed so that they can be used safely and without damaging the equipment.
While heat is one of the main hazards found in the kitchen, there are also kitchen practices that can be harmful to your health as well as that of the people who will eat your food. These can involve food storage and preparation as well as preferred cooking results. To ensure your safety as well as that of your diners, here are some kitchen mistakes you need to stop making.
Waiting Too Long Before Putting Groceries Away
When you arrive from the supermarket, it’s important to store your groceries right away as many foods need to be refrigerated immediately, including meat and dairy items. These items need to be refrigerated within two hours of purchasing to prevent bacterial growth. If food reaches between four to 60 degrees Celsius in a span of two hours, you run the risk of increasing bacterial growth in food and getting foodborne illnesses when you consume it. Also, keep in mind that outdoor temperature plays a factor in how quickly you need to refrigerate foods. If the day’s temperature is 32 degrees Celsius or higher, it’s best to refrigerate foods within an hour.
Additionally, make sure to organise your groceries when putting them away. Place the oldest food in front and the newest ones at the back. This way, the new ones can stay fresher longer and foods that need to be eaten first will be in your line of sight. It can help you remember and prioritise consuming these food items, allowing you to reduce food waste while making the most of your grocery budget.
Holding Knives the Wrong Way
Most individuals hold their knives by wrapping all their fingers around the handle or with their pointer finger resting on top of the blade. While this grip may feel more natural and comfortable, it is unsafe and can hinder you from making more precise cuts. With the grip being too far away from the blade, you can lose control of your cutting and accidentally harm yourself. Instead, hold your knife on the blade or while using a pinch grip.
Hold your knife with your thumb on one side of the blade and the pointer on the other side, which resembles pinching the blade. Meanwhile, your remaining three fingers are wrapped tight around the bolster of the knife or the part that connects the blade to the handle. Holding your knife this way provides better control of the knife and allows you to easily carry out different cutting techniques. It might take a little getting used to in the beginning. But with more practice of this proper knife handling, you will soon be slicing and dicing like a professionally-trained chef in no time.
Leaving Meats On the Counter to Thaw
Storing meat in the freezer helps to keep them fresh longer. But when the time comes to use it, a lot of people are guilty of leaving meat right on their kitchen counters to thaw—which can be harmful to your health. When meat becomes warmer than four degrees Celsius, the risk of bacteria growing increases.
To safely thaw meat before cooking it, there are three ways to do so. You can place it in cold water or let it sit in the refrigerator. Another quick and safe way is by thawing the meat in the microwave oven over low heat. Regardless of your preferred thawing method, remember to place the meat in a bowl and never leave it uncovered or directly in contact with the microwave’s glass plate or on a shelf in your fridge.
Burning Foods Intentionally
You might like the taste of charred and burnt food, but it’s an unhealthy habit that you should reconsider. Using high-heat cooking methods can cause acrylamide to form in the food. The chemical reaction between proteins and sugar gives cooked dishes a dark colour and distinctive taste so acrylamide is found in many foods that are fried, baked, and roasted. As you cook food at higher temperatures or longer periods, more acrylamide forms. Dietary acrylamide has been linked to causing severe health effects, including cancer. To reduce the risks of cancer, it’s best to avoid eating burned food. Instead, opt to decrease cooking time or use non-charring cooking processes like boiling or steaming.
Once in a while, you might make mistakes in the kitchen because you have become accustomed to certain practices and have not encountered serious issues. However, it’s important to change these habits and be more conscientious about following a cooking and food preparation process that is safe for you and the people who will eat your cooking. Continuously keep yourself informed on correct food handling practices so that you can safely make and enjoy your culinary creations.