How to Prepare Meats/Vegetables Safely

With the recent nice weather we’ve been having that means that the grilling season is here!  We need to be sure to prepare our meats and vegetables safely in order to avoid food borne illness.  Most of you probably already know how, but it’s always a good reminder for me and I thought it would be for you as well.

 

It’s a good idea to start by sanitizing your grill.  Preheat your grill on high heat for 20 minutes before cooking. The high heat will sanitize the grates and burn off anything you left on the grate. 

 

Choose your cutting boards with care.  You’ll want to use a separate cutting board for meat and another for vegetables to avoid cross-contamination. If you are using the same board for both vegetables and meat, prepare your vegetables 1st.  Then, very thoroughly wash and sanitize the board, before using it for meat.

 

All surfaces, sinks and tools should always be sanitized after use. Use a commercial sanitizer sheet or spray approved for “food contact”.  You can find food safe sanitizers at most grocery and warehouse stores. I personally use vinegar mixed with water in my home kitchen.

 

Store all meats in the refrigerator.  When storing meats in the refrigerator, place the longest cooking meat on the bottom and the shortest cooking meat on top.  For example, pork loin on the bottom, chicken above the loin, then fish on top.  This is done so that if juices from the fish drip into the chicken, the chicken cooks longer than fish, so the juices will be sure to cook thoroughly.

 

Also, store meats at the bottom of your refrigerator, not the top, to avoid dripping onto other foods that may or may not be cooked before consuming.

 

Use two sets of tongs: Use one set of tongs for raw meat and another clean set for cooked food. 

 

Throw out excess marinade that is left over if it has had contact with meat.  If you need extra sauce, reserve fresh sauce from the bottle to be brushed on during the end of cooking or for dipping during the meal.

 

Always wash your hands with warm water and soap after handling meat.  Food borne illness is an extremely serious matter and it can happen just as easily in your kitchen as in a manufactures kitchen.

 

Watch for my “Grilling VegetableS” tips in the next post.

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