5 Tips for a Hygienic Kitchen

Whether you cook at home in order to save money, eat healthier or foster family ties, having a clean kitchen can make the experience much more pleasant. Keeping your surfaces and utensils hygienic can also be important for health reasons. A well kept kitchen is the most important safeguard against food poisoning, mould and bacterial growth and insect pests.

1. Separate Meats and Produce

Raw meat is one of the most common sources of dangerous cross-contamination. In order to protect yourself and your family, make sure to keep your chicken, turkey, beef and other meats away from foods that you consume raw. It is best to do so at all stages of the food preparation process.

When storing meat in your fridge, make sure to place it beneath any fruits and vegetables. You want to avoid any drippings touching other food. Ideally you will place the meat in its own separate, water-tight container. You should also use separate cutting boards to cut meat and vegetables.

2. Use the Appropriate Cleansers

When washing surfaces and cutting boards you want to make sure to eliminate any pathogens. Carefully read the labels of any soaps and cleansing agents you use to make sure they are fit for this purpose. A simple solution is to use vinegar mixed with water to wipe down surfaces after use. When cleaning a surface which raw meat has touched use a solution of one tablespoon of bleach to one gallon of water.

3. Clean Every Night

Before going to sleep each night make certain that all the surfaces in your kitchen are clean. This includes the counters, stovetop, and even the floor. All food debris, crumbs and peels must be removed. This includes any stains or residues. In order to properly cleanse each surface, it is best to scrub the counters and mop the floor.

You should also clean all dirty dishes in the sink on a daily basis. Any food residue left overnight has the potential to attract insect pests and to serve as a feeding ground for bacterial growth.

4. Remove Trash and Compost Frequently

Many trash bins are the perfect breeding grounds for bacteria: dark, warm and full of food. Consider keeping two separate bins, one for dry trash such as paper towels and plastic packaging and one for wet trash such as peels and leftover food. Those interested in composting may wish to keep a third bin. You can generally leave the items in the dry bin for a week. The wet bin and the compost bin ought to be emptied daily and ideally after the preparation of each meal. For additional protection, keep these two containers just outside the kitchen door.

5. Wash Your Hands

This one is simple but important. Wash your hands every time before you handle food, dishes or cooking utensils. Make sure that you are using an appropriate soap, warm water and scrubbing vigorously. You should wash your hands for at least one minute to ensure the best hygiene.

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Photo Credits: http://www.flickr.com/photos/hygienematters/4504612019/

Sally is the Head Chef at one of the best restaurants in Sydney. As well as preparing world class meals, a lot of her time is spent making sure her kitchens hygiene is world class. Away from work, Sally is kept busy looking after her two young sons and she enjoys keeping fit at the gym.

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