Our lives revolve around keeping ourselves, and our loved ones safe. Whether you’re getting ready to cook a family meal or a big holiday dinner, the cleanliness and safety of your kitchen should be a top priority.
- Wash your hands with warm water and soap. Then wash them again. Do it before you prepare any food and again after handling raw meat.
- Avoid cross contamination. Use separate cutting boards for meat and produce, and separate plates and utensils for cooked and raw foods. Sanitize your cutting boards on a regular basis too.
- Clean everything. Wipe countertops and other surfaces with warm, soapy water. Wash plates, utensils, and cutting boards in hot, soapy water as well or run them through the dishwasher.
- Cook meat to the right temperature.Thorough cooking of meat kills the germs that can make you sick. A meat thermometer is the best way to tell whether food is cooked thoroughly – 160 degrees Fahrenheit minimum for ground beef. Be sure to wash the thermometer between uses.
- Store meat safely. Set your refrigerator to 40°F (5°C) and your freezer to 0°F (–18°C), or lower, to keep any bacteria in your foods from multiplying. Always keep raw meat separate (bottom shelf is ideal) and if it isn’t already in leak-proof packaging, put it in plastic bags or containers to keep it from dripping onto other foods.
- Freeze leftovers. Yes, freezing meat is ok in our book. Freeze any unused portion as soon as possible, preferably in the sealed, original packaging it came in. Put the sealed package in the coldest part of the freezer, away from the door and as close to the freezer blower as possible. Allow 24 to 48 hours for items to be fully frozen. Generally speaking, we recommend using your frozen meat within six months of freezing. When you’re ready, defrost the meat thoroughly overnight in the refrigerator. We do not recommend thawing in a microwave.
At Schweid & Sons, we practice what we preach – read about our own company-wide safety practices here.
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