4 Easy Peasy Ways To Keep Your Cooking Clean (And Germ-Free!)

4 Easy Peasy Ways To Keep Your Cooking Clean (And Germ-Free!)

From quarantining your proteins, to isolating your cutting boards, Debbie Wong tells us just how easy it is to be clean in the kitchen

Back when I was a professional cook, I remember having to receive an official certificate of food safety. It was only a one-day course, but funnily enough, it might have been one of the most lasting and relevant pieces of education I’ve ever received, as I’ve carried on those practices both in and out of my chef whites.

Recently, with the global health crisis, and more of us eating at home, I’m finding that food safety is especially pertinent now, so here are some fundamentals that have kept my kitchen bacteria-free, and my tummy happy and healthy.

1. Self-Isolate... Your Cutting Boards

I recommend having at least two cutting boards for your kitchen. One only for veggies, and a plastic one for raw meat and seafood. Why plastic for raw protein? Bacteria is much less likely to live in the crevices of a plastic cutting board. This is my sure-fire way to prevent bacteria from transferring while cooking.

The same rule applies for knives. If you must use the same knife for veggies and meat, make sure to wash the knife thoroughly with anti-bacterial soap and hot water before going from meat to veggies.

Here’s a bonus tip for keeping your cutting boards sparkling clean: Sprinkle a fairly generous amount of salt over your cutting board. Cut a lemon in half and rub the cut side over the salted cutting board in circular motions for about 1-2 minutes. Rinse with hot water. Pat yourself on the back. ;)

2. Quarantine… Your Proteins

Raw meat always goes on the bottom shelf of the fridge-- that way if any liquids happen to drop, they will not contaminate your fresh produce (or other ready-to-eat items). If possible, wrap raw meat and seafood tightly in plastic or store it in a separate sealed container.

3. Check Your Temperature!

5-57 C is known in the food industry as the “danger zone”—this is where bacteria is most likely to develop. If you don’t happen to own a food thermometer, here are a few easy tips:

  1. When heating and re-heating soup or other liquid-y dishes, always bring it to a boil before consuming—this means rapid bubbles!
  2. Thoroughly cook your meat and seafood. If you’re not sure, cut it open.
  3. If and when you’re eating out, be aware of lukewarm food, particularly if it contains meat, or if it may have come in contact with meat.

Rule of thumb: hot food should be served hot, and cold food should be served cold.

4. Wash Your Hands (I know, I know) 

Your hands are the number one culprit of cross contamination!

Most people know to wash before cooking but washing in between steps is just as important.  

Say you’re making a chicken and veggie stir-fry; you’re cutting up raw chicken, then you move onto cutting raw veggies –make sure you wash those chicken-y hands before touching those veggies!

Hope this was helpful, food lovers!

Debbie Wong is self-taught cook and classically trained actor based in Hong Kong. She is the host of Food Wars Asia, Kitchen Quickies, and her ongoing international culinary series on YouTube -Debbie Wong’s Wok and Gong. Follow her on all socials @ms.debbiewong.

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