Cooking at home has many advantages. Eating home-cooked meals more frequently helps you fulfill all the necessary dietary needs, research suggests. However, it’s really important to follow certain rules in order to keep your food safe to eat.
We deсided to dive deeper and find out what common mistakes we all make while cooking.
It’s impossible to recognize dangerous bacteria either by the food’s appearance or taste. However, even a small amount of such bacteria can lead to serious food poisoning. To avoid it, throw away any products if you have any doubts about it being spoiled.
1. Defrosting meat outside
The temperature range that is considered risky for storing food is anywhere from 41°F to 140°F (5°C to 60°C). At this temperature, harmful food bacteria can rapidly grow. This is why you should always defrost meat only in the fridge or in a microwave.
2. Washing raw meat
We have the idea that when we rinse something, we clean it — however, this is not true in the case of meat. Washing raw poultry, beef, pork, lamb, or veal before cooking it is not recommended by specialists. The reason for this is because bacteria from meat can easily spread to other products, surfaces, and utensils.
3. Cooling food before putting it in the fridge
This rule is due to the same reason defrosting meat outside is a bad idea: bacteria rapidly grow while at temperatures of 41°F to 140°F (5°C to 60°C). That’s why it can be really dangerous to leave perishable products outside the fridge for more than an hour or 2.
4. Trying food to check if it’s spoiled
It’s impossible to recognize dangerous bacteria either by the food’s appearance or taste. However, even a small amount of such bacteria can lead to serious food poisoning. To avoid this, throw away any products if you have any doubts about it being spoiled.
5. Trying raw dough
You should never eat raw eggs in any form. There is a high possibility that it contains the bacteria known as salmonella, which is quite dangerous for people. Moreover, don’t try uncooked dough, even without eggs, because flour can carry E. coli which can cause different infections.
6. Marinating meat or fish outside
This is yet another more typical cooking mistake that can lead to food poisoning. Again, always remember about the risky range of temperature for bacteria growth. When you marinate meat outside of the fridge, you violate this rule.
7. Undercooking meat or fish
Food is considered safe only when it’s heated to certain temperatures. This is the best way to ensure all the bacteria are gone. To be sure that the fish or meat is properly cooked, you can use a kitchen thermometer.
8. Not washing your hands before cooking
Bacteria live on all surfaces, even our hands. Imagine how many things you touch during the day, and when you start cooking without washing your hands, you can transfer all those bacteria to your food. And don’t forget to wash your hands when you’re done!
9. Buying brine-injected or water-added chicken
Many poultry manufactures inject brine or water to their meat to increase the weight of their products. First of all, such products aren’t so safe, so pay attention when buying a chicken and read the added ingredients carefully. These additional things can also influence the taste of your meal.
10. Exposing honey to high temperatures
According to research, exposing honey to high temperatures can lead to a decrease in its quality and may lead to an increase of some carcinogenic compounds. So it’s better not to add honey to tea or hot meals, for example.