Start at the supermarket
“Buy foods such as meat and poultry last,” since they should stay cold as long as possible, Debbie Krivitsky, a clinical dietitian for Massachusetts General Hospital’s Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Center, told Boston.com.
Try to avoid cross-contamination from meat and poultry juices dripping onto other foods by keeping them in plastic bags that are separate from your other items. Next
Keep an eye on marinating times
When it comes to marinating, Krivitsky said it is always preferable to marinate in the refrigerator as opposed to a dish on the counter. The general rule is that poultry or cubed meat can marinate for two days. Beef, veal, pork, lamb roasts, and steaks may be kept in a marinade in the fridge for up to five days.
If you’re using the marinade as a sauce for your dish as well, it’s best to reserve some prior to pouring it on the meat. If you plan on using marinade that has already been poured onto a meat or fish, bring it to a boil prior to serving it, destroying any harmful bacteria.
Don’t wash your chicken
Raw chicken and turkey can carry bacteria on their surfaces, but contrary to popular belief, washing raw poultry won’t clean it.
In fact, washing poultry just splashes bacteria all over you, your kitchen towels, your countertops, and any other food you have nearby, such as raw foods or salads. A campaign by Drexel University in Philadelphia shows how fast and wide germs can spread when poultry is washed.
Instead, just take raw poultry straight from the package into the cooking pan. The heat from the cooking process will kill any bacteria that are present. Then simply clean up any splashes and wash your hands with soap and hot water, the campaign urges.
The CDC offers four proper ways to defrost frozen food:
• In the refrigerator.
• Under running water no hotter than 70 degrees for less than two hours.
• In the microwave if you are planning to cook the item immediately.
• As part of the cooking process, such as putting frozen hamburgers on the grill or cooking a frozen dinner in the microwave.
Sealed packages of food can be thawed in cold water or if you are going to use meat, fish, or poultry immediately, then it can be defrosted in the microwave, said Krivitsky.
Invest in a food thermometer
Checking a piece of meat based on color alone is not enough, Krivitsky said, since many things can brown quite quickly. To make sure all harmful bacteria are killed, cook food thoroughly to at least its minimum internal temperature. The easiest way to do this is by using a food thermometer, which is available at most supermarkets. To check the accuracy of your thermometer, dip it in a pot of boiling water. It should read 212 degrees F., which is the boiling point of water.
Always check the final temperatures of what you’re cooking. Make sure that chicken is at 165 degrees; fish at 145 degrees; pork at 145 degrees; hamburger or any ground meats or ground fish at 155 degrees; and eggs at 145 degrees, according to the CDC.
Keep charring to a minimum
Krivitsky said that some studies suggest charred food increases cancer risk. So, to prevent charring, remove any visible fat from meats, which can cause grill flare-ups. Also, pre-cooking meat in the microwave will help prevent some juices from being released. After pre-cooking immediately place the food on the grill. Cut any charred portions off of your meat before serving. Next
Wash your hands
Unwashed hands in the kitchen spell trouble. Washing your hands is a must, especially between food processing steps. For example, if you cut raw chicken and then prepare salad without thoroughly washing your hands, you’re putting your family at risk.
And when you wash, use hot, soapy water, as hot as you can stand it, rub soapy hands together for 20 seconds, get under the fingernails and rinse and wipe dry with a disposable towel.
Don’t leave food sitting out
Any food that has been left out for over two hours should be thrown away, Krivitsky said. However, if the temperature outside is above 90 degrees F., then food should not sit out any longer than one hour. And, don’t keep anything out in direct sunlight. Back to the beginning
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below