Every day begins and ends in the kitchen. This is the most important "room" of our house. We get creative in it, we eat, we take care of ourselves and those we love. A healthy kitchen means a healthy home. In many different ways. Today, - through this blog post – we will talk about one of them. It has to do with these simple -but important- rules of hygiene, which will help us keep our kitchen clean before, during, and after cooking. In detail…
Before we start cooking, it is important to have our kitchen tidy so that we can handle our utensils and ingredients more safely and easily. An empty sink, a clean worktop, an organized refrigerator, and some -also organized- shelves are some key elements that will help us prepare each meal successfully. More specifically…
- Make sure your sink is empty and clean before you start washing fruits and vegetables or handling other raw materials.
- Clean your worktop and in no case leave raw meat on it. Also, do not defrost any ingredient directly on the counter, but make sure to place it in a pan beforehand.
- Make sure the utensils you will use are clean. This, of course, also applies to cutting boards which will help you keep your space cleaner.
- Keep your refrigerator clean. In fact, you should remove its shelves and drawers once every month and clean them thoroughly with warm water and a mild detergent or baking soda, lemon, and vinegar if you want to switch to more…eco-friendly alternatives. The same applies to the freezer, while you should remember to check the expiration dates of the products you have inside.
- Organize your kitchen cabinets properly and make sure to regularly check the expiration dates of the products. Also, store your foods properly. For instance, if some foods or ingredients must be kept away from sources of heat, moisture and light, make sure to store them in the appropriate place. If you can, transfer some products from their original packaging to glass containers (clean and dry) which should be sealed airtight. Thus, you can better preserve the taste and aroma of your raw materials. The main requirement? To note the expiration date of the ingredients of each container on a label.
- A trash can and a recycling bin (do not forget about recycling) are some basic elements that should be present in your kitchen and should be emptied twice a day - once if they are not full.
- A mat in front of your sink and worktop could prove to be very useful. The best choice you could make would be a mat made of antimicrobial material with a non-slip coating. This way, you will keep your kitchen clean and the rest of the house as well.
Wash your hands. This is definitely the No. 1 tip that you must follow not only during cooking, but also before and after. This is a rule that should become a way of life and -of course- it does not only concern the kitchen area and the person who cooks, but the whole house and all the members of the family. Beyond that, there are some extra things you need to keep in mind when you start preparing your raw materials and cooking your food.
- From the moment you take your ingredients out of the fridge, make sure to use them immediately (whether it is meat or dairy), especially if the room temperature is high.
- Make sure to properly store those ingredients that you do not use by placing them well-sealed in the cupboards or in the refrigerator. In fact, you should not wait to store them after completing the entire cooking process, but you should dedicate 1 minute to store them right away.
- Do not leave your raw materials exposed during the preparation of food, but make sure to keep them covered.
- Make sure to use different cutting boards for vegetables and meats. In case you do not have different ones, always start preparing the vegetables and then your meats, and as soon as you are finished, make sure to wash the cutting boards very well so that they are ready if you need them again.
- Always wear gloves when handling chicken. Also, after touching the chicken, be careful not to touch anything else in order to reduce the possibility of cross-contamination. Finally, do not wash it as it can create sources of contamination in your sink, as well as anywhere else the water can drip from the raw chicken.
- When working with raw meat, eggs, fruits, or vegetables that we have not washed, always make sure to wash your hands after completing the preparation of these ingredients.
- Always use clean towels to wipe your hands while preparing a meal.
- Always make sure to cook your ingredients properly (at the right temperature and as much as needed), in order to be sure that no one will consume raw meat, fish, or eggs.
- Always check the expiration dates of products before using them. Also, do not forget to check their texture and aroma, since an ingredient may have gone bad not because it expired, but because it was not stored properly.
From the moment you put the food in the oven or cover your pot with the lid, you will have enough time to clean up and tidy your kitchen.
- Clean the utensils you used with hot water and dishwashing liquid. Before storing them, let them dry well or wipe them with a clean kitchen towel.
- Do the same with the electrical appliances you used, making sure -before storing them- to clean not only their parts, but also their base since it may be dirty, too.
- Thoroughly clean the kitchen counter or the surface you used to prepare your recipe. Do the same with your sink, stovetop, and oven as well.
Extra Tip: When cleaning a dirty surface, it is important to not reuse the same towel or sponge you used as it is very likely that you will transfer any germs to another surface. Both your towels and your sponge should be washed with soap and warm water before being used again. For convenience, you can have a kettle with boiled water already prepared. Finally, you can use paper towels or -even better- reusable "paper" towels which basically consist of pieces of fabric wrapped in a roll which, after use, can be washed, ironed, and reused.