Health & safety know-how
Whether you’re a kitchen novice or a budding master chef, chances are you know your way around a set of health and safety rules when it comes to cooking. Make sure your child know the basics too with these five handy health-conscious tips.
You should use different chopping boards for different food to avoid spreading bacteria. Buy a set of colour co-ordinated boards - blue for raw meat, red for cooked meat and green for vegetables, for example - to keep things organised while cooking.
Studies have shown that the dirtiest thing in the kitchen is often the kitchen sponge, which is unsurprising when it’s been used to wipe everything from dishes to floor spills. Buy dishcloths in bulk and change regularly and don’t forget to soak them in boiling water and disinfect them if they come into contact with raw meat.
Chicken and pork should be cooked all the way through before you eat them. Test if chicken is cooked by prodding it with a sharp knife, if the juices that run out of the flesh are clear then the meat is cooked. Beef, especially steak, can be served rare. Just make sure you ‘seal’ the meat - flash fry in a pan for a minute or two until the outside is brown - to kill any lingering bacteria on the surface of the beef.
Storing half-eaten food
If you cook a double portion of a meal, leave it to cool at room temperature before putting into the fridge. Putting hot food straight into the fridge means it will cool unevenly and encourage the bacteria that cause food poisoning to grow. Never store metal tins in the fridge - once opened, there’s more chance for the metal in the tin to leak into the food. Always transfer the contents of half-used tins into sealed plastic pots instead.
Scoffing last night’s takeaway for breakfast is a student rite of passage. Remind your child that food needs to be piping hot all the way through before they try to eat it again. They need to be particularly careful with reheated rice as it can contain spores of Bacillus cereus, a bacterium that can cause food poisoning. Reduce the risk by refrigerating leftover rice as soon as you’re finished eating and cooking thoroughly until it’s steaming hot the next day. Never reheat more than once.