High temperatures in summer can mean that raw food like meat, poultry and seafood can spoil easily. Read on to practice safe cooking techniques and avoid wasting food.

Earlier this week, we showed you how to keep your fruit and vegetables safe, clean and germ-free this season. In this post, we share simple tips that will help prevent cross-contamination and the spread of bacteria in your kitchen.

1. At The Store
Right from the time you purchase raw animal proteins at the supermarket or the butcher, they should be examined for freshness. The expiration dates on the packaging need to be checked closely. Ensure that you only buy what’s been kept in a refrigerated display or storage. After purchase, never make the mistake of placing raw animal protein such as poultry, meat or seafood next to fresh produce like veg and fruits in your shopping cart, or even your car.

2. At Home
Make sure you don’t take too long to pop that produce in the freezer, especially if it’s not frozen. Given the temperature, it can spoil quickly if kept outside the refrigerator for too long.

3. In The Kitchen
Cross-contamination is a real thing and very dangerous for you and your family. Be careful to keep fruit and veg that you plan to consume raw, as far as possible from meats, chicken and fish. This means no using the same dishes, platters, cutting boards, knives or even placing them on the countertops without their wrappings.

4. Before You Start Cooking:

  • Safe prep is the next step, so ensure that you wash your hands for nothing less than 30 seconds with warm water and anti-bacterial soap, before you start handling the produce for cooking.
  • Begin by washing it under plain, cool running water until the blood and other liquids run free.
  • After chopping and cutting what you need, transfer the rest into freezer bags and boxes, wipe with a dry cloth or paper towel and pop into the freezer immediately.
  • If you wish to marinate the protein, add the marinade and let it rest in the fridge. Take it out only just before cooking, allowing it a maximum of an hour to come to room temperature, so it cooks faster.

5. After Prep
Once you have finished with the cutting and chopping, wash the cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and counter tops with hot soapy water, and sanitize with a solution of 1 tsp chlorine bleach in 1 quart water. You could also opt for natural cleaners like white vinegar, citrus or baking soda.

Image Source: Shutterstock

Head to our Food section for healthy recipes and the latest food trends.
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Simona is a journalist who has worked with several leading publications in India over the last 17 years, writing on lifestyle topics and the arts, besides interviewing celebrities. She made the switch to public relations and headed the division as PR Manager at ITC Hotels’ flagship property, the ITC Grand Chola, but has since returned to her first love, journalism. Now she writes on food, which she is sincerely passionate about and wellness, which she finds fascinating and full of surprises. When she isn’t writing, she is busy playing the role of co-founder and communications director of The Bicycle Project, a six-year-old charity initiative that empowers tribal children in rural areas, while addressing the issue of urban waste.