How to keep Covid-19 out of the kitchen
Cooking is a daily task in most homes, and it is even more common during these hard times we are living in. The closure of hotels and restaurants, as well as confinement in our homes, is surely forcing us to do this task more often than we were used to.
It is easy to understand that the final results of a dish will depend, to a great extent, on our ability when facing the cooking process, on the particular skill and talent and, above all, on our experience or culinary knowledge.
To help all those who are weak in this last aspect and, at least during the time that this state of emergency we are living in lasts, Magefesa proposes you to establish an exchange of gastronomic knowledge: advice, ideas, techniques, recipes, menus… In short, everything you think is useful and interesting to share.
From our side, we offer to:
- Try to answer all those questions you send us through social networks (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter).
- Publish new articles, apart from those already available, which you can find on our website www.e-magefesa.com, in the advice area.
- As far as possible, continue publishing new video recipes and tutorials on our YouTube channel MagefesaMGF with the usual frequency.
We begin this exchange with something basic, which we assume everyone takes into account when cooking, but it is always good to remember and expand your knowledge if possible:
Hygiene and food handling
Proper hygiene must always be observed most especially when handling and preparing food. It starts with oneself, continues with the surfaces on which we are going to work, the utensils and household items we are going to use, the cloths with which we are going to clean and ends with correct food handling.
Although it is true that we do not strictly follow all the recommendations at home, this is not only important in the food industry but should also be observed strictly in domestic settings.
Let’s start with something easy. Before preparing food, wash your hands, wrists and forearms with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds, you need to make sure you cover your hands (including between your knuckles, fingers and fingernails). Rinse and dry thoroughly.
Ideally, hand washing should be repeated as many times as necessary throughout the cooking process, for example when handling raw food or touching food containers and packaging.
This personal hygiene measure can be extended by following other tips:
– Remove jewelry and other accessories, such as bracelets, rings and watches.
– Tie up your hair or cover it with a hat or handkerchief.
– Wear specific clothes for cooking.
– Use a clean apron.
Cleaning surfaces, utensils and kitchenware
We must start cooking by preparing the working area. To do this, first clean the table or countertop and cutting boards with a disinfectant product for use on food contact surfaces or, at least, with hot water and soap. Then, dry thoroughly. It is also important to previously wash all the utensils and kitchenware that we are going to use. Although it is logical to think that once the recipe is finished, this type of tool is always kept clean, sometimes the time between recipes can be prolonged and it is easy for dirt to be deposited which, in many cases, we hardly see with a naked eye; this can be the case of microorganisms and germs: bacteria, viruses, molds or protozoa.
To avoid cross-contamination between foods, it is essential to have at least two separate cutting boards, one for raw foods and another one for cooked foods, and wash them as often as necessary.
Other recommendations to be taken into account as far as possible are the following:
- Use cutting boards made of fiber, resin or polyethylene.
- Try to acquire stainless steel kitchenware.
- Replace wooden utensils with others made of food-grade silicone.
- Establish a color system to differentiate each cutting board with a specific food. As an example, and without the need for such a display of boards, next code is professionally established:
White: bread, pastries, pasta, cheese or dairy
Green: fruits and Vegetables
Blue: fish and seafood
Yellow: white meat such as poultry, rabbit or pork
Red: red meat such as beef or lamb
Brown: cooked meats
- Do not store cutting boards in damp or poorly ventilated places or stack them on top of each other.
- Always use clean cloths and immediately wash them after use.
The correct handling of food starts from the moment we buy it at the market. In other articles, we have already talked about how to choose or buy food and distinguish those that are in optimal conditions for consumption (although, of course, we still admit consultations and suggestions).
Therefore, once the purchase has been made, if we have perishable, refrigerated or frozen food, we will try to minimize the transport time between the market and the refrigerator or freezer in our home.
It is very important not to break the cold chain.For fresh food, fish, meat, vegetables, etc. we will remove the wrappings or bags and keep them in suitable containers. If they are packed in a protective atmosphere, this step will not be necessary.
We will arrange the food on the indicated shelves or sections of the refrigerator, following the manufacturer’s recommendations. Observe the expiration date of packaged foods and sort them by best-before consumption date. Keep the closest ones to the expiration date to the front.
Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly before use, regardless of whether they are to be eaten raw or cooked.
It never hurts to follow these other tips:
- Regularly check the temperature of your fridge and freezer.
- Label the containers indicating their content and the date of preparation or conservation.
- To defrost food correctly, it must be transferred from the freezer to the refrigerator and kept refrigerated until completely thawed.
- When handling food, avoid talking, eating or drinking over it.
- Never store or leave cooked food in direct contact with raw food.
- Make sure to use storage containers that are completely clean and suitable for this purpose.
These are some of the basic recommendations regarding hygiene during culinary activity and correct food handling. We look forward to your participation. Send us your queries, comments, advice or doubts in this regard, so that we can reduce together the risk as much as possible and return to normal as soon as possible.