‘Tis the season for festive holiday foods!
What is your favorite thing to make or eat during the holidays? With so many options out there, it may be hard to choose a favorite. While you are sampling all that the holiday season has to offer, make sure you remember food safety at the same time. There isn’t much worse than spending the holidays with a bellyache because you didn’t pay attention to the four basic steps when it comes to food: Clean, Separate, Cook and Chill. Here is a better explanation of these steps:
• Clean- Keeping your workspace, hands and utensils clean throughout the cooking process is very important. You do not want to cross contaminate any of the foods you are preparing. Wash your hands and anything you are using for food prep between each recipe and often.
• Separate- keep foods separate from each other in your shopping cart, in the fridge and while preparing them. Cooked foods should be separate from raw foods. Meats, poultry and fish should be cut on a separate cutting board than other foods.
• Cook- Make sure all foods are cooked to their proper internal temperatures to kill any bacteria that may be lurking. If you do not reach the proper internal temp, you risk the chance of those foods becoming contaminated quickly.
• Chill- Try not to leave foods out for too long if they are supposed to be chilled. If you have the option of leaving things in the fridge, do it. Again, bacteria can grow quite quickly at room temperature. Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.
For more information on Clean, Separate, Cook and Chill, you can check out www.foodsafety.gov where they give many different ideas for your holiday menu. You can also call us with your questions about food safety and if you may be liable for any illness your guests have after eating at your home.