We all eat and most of our foods are cooked. In order to eat well therefore, we need to pay attention to how we cook and where we cook. Cooking well helps meals digest better, taste nicer, and also reduces the ingredients’ potential bacterial load. This article identifies and explains 7 common but poor kitchen and cooking habits and why we should avoid them.
1. Washing raw meat or poultry
Only raw fruits and vegetables should be washed. Raw meat, including poultry, usually contain harmful bacteria that can easily spread and contaminate anything it comes in contact with. This includes other food, kitchen tables, chopping boards and knives, sink and other kitchen surfaces.
Food-borne pathogens also from the raw meat can easily spread to prepared foods and cause food poisoning.
To get rid of these bacteria and pathogens, you only need to cook the meat or poultry thoroughly. Avoid putting cooked or already prepared foods back on a plate that previously held raw meat. Avoid cross-contamination by using separate plates, cutting boards and utensils.
2. Overheating oil
Many people are guilty of this. Overheating oil to the point that it starts smoking is a bad practice. When you do this, the heat causes the oil to break down, destroying its beneficial antioxidants, nutrients and phytochemicals and forming harmful compounds.
Depending on the type of oil, the fumes can be toxic too. Creating harmful free radicals which when inhaled, have the potential to damage healthy cells in the body by changing their DNA.
The best approach is to heat your oil until it shimmers. Getting it heated beyond that point can be counterproductive.
3. Using too many processed ingredients
As much as possible, buy and cook with fresh ingredients and do as little to them as possible. Reduce your proclivity for canned and processed food because more often than not, they contain more sodium, sugar and fat than is considered healthy daily.
4. Overdoing stirring of food
Stirring when done moderately is good for preventing food burning, evenly distribute food temperature, alter the viscosity of a liquid and create a well-blended mixture.
When overdone however, it prevents browning which can significantly boost the food’s flavor and taste.
5. Not washing your hands
Always wash your hands with soap and warm, running water before, during and after handling food. This is even more critical when handling raw meat and poultry during cooking. You will need to wash your hand each time you handle such item to avoid the risk of infecting other items.
6. Not taking care of items like kitchen cloths, sponges and dish rags
While kitchen cloths, sponges and dishrags are some of the dirtiest tools in your kitchen, they can be the most neglected. Kitchen cloths, sponges and dishrags can hold harmful food-borne pathogens and cause a serious health risk. Studies have shown that the kitchen sponge has the highest number of germs in the home.
For best protection against germs, it is recommended that you always sanitize these items at least every two days and replace them every week or two.
7. Tasting food to find out if it is still good
Determining whether a particular food is still safe for consumption by tasting it is a health risk. Sadly, most of us do this and expose ourselves to risk of infection. Hence, avoid tasting your food to check if it has spoiled because you cannot taste, see or even smell the bacteria in contaminated food that are capable of causing food poisoning and serious illness.