Holiday Cooking Safety Tips

food-pot-kitchen-cooking-largeThe holidays are almost here, and that means family, fun, and food!  What could be better?  To make sure you and your family stay safe and healthy during the holidays, check out these helpful holiday kitchen tips.

  1. Don’t leave your cooking unattended. Holiday time can be very distracting, especially if you’re multi-tasking in the kitchen and have a house full of guests! Fires can easily start if you walk away and get wrapped up in conversation, or your food could get over cooked.  Encourage guests to visit with you while you cook.
  2. Keep a flame-retardant potholder or oven mitt handy while cooking. If a fire starts in the pan or on the stove, you can put the mitt or potholder over it to smother the fire.
  3. Tilt hot cookware lids away from your face when opening them. Steam burns hurt! By tilting away from you, you can safely redirect the steam away from you.
  4. Roll up your sleeves or wear a short sleeved shirt. Long sleeves can hang down and become a fire hazard. Long sleeves can also get in your food while you’re preparing it, which is unsanitary and a way to cross contaminate your food.
  5. Check that your fire detector works and that you have a fire extinguisher available. Just in case!
  6. Avoid turkey fryers. Yes, fried turkey is delicious, but turkey fryers cause many fires yearly because of their extreme flammability. They can also cause terrible burns.  If you do decide to use one, make sure to use it outdoors only, and check out these helpful tips: http://www.tractorsupply.com/know-how_outdoors_outdoor-living_turkey-fryer-safety.
  7. Wash hands and all food prep surfaces thoroughly. Keeping everything sanitary will prevent food-borne illness.
  8. Refrigerate leftovers promptly. To prevent food-borne illnesses, make sure to refrigerate perishable food within 2 hours after cooking. Store it in small containers to speed up chill time.
  9. Avoid cross contamination. Meat should always be prepared separately from other food to prevent it’s bacteria from contaminating other foods. An easy way to do this is to prepare your meat after preparing other foods.
  10. Don’t stuff the turkey ahead of time. If you make your stuffing in advance, store it separately from the turkey and stuff it right before you’re ready to cook it. This prevents your stuffing from soaking up potentially bacteria-laden juices that might be inside the turkey.

For more questions on fire safety, please consult your local fire department!  Also, check out last month’s blog post about fire safety: http://weinsteinsecurity.com/blog/2016/10/10/fire-safety-stay-safe-while-being-warm-this-winter/