improving your

kitchen hygiene

In the midst of the Listeria crisis in South Africa, food-borne and household bacteria have been pushed into the spotlight. So we wanted to provide you with some helpful tips and preventative measures that you can follow to have a more hygienic, safer kitchen.

Wash

your hands!

We’re not saying you need to get obsessed with keeping your hands clean, but washing your hands before and after handling any kind of food is crucial. It is also not just a quick rinse, you need warm water and soap and you should scrub them for more than a minute. We recommend singing twinkle twinkle little star or the alphabet in your head or out loud to time yourself.

 

 

Wipe down

your counters

Another way you can prevent the spread of bacteria is to get clean before you start cooking and doing food prep. Wipe down your counters with a water and vinegar or water and bleach mixture, and a clean cloth.

Clean your sink

after every use

Even though you only really use your sink to wash stuff, the sink can be a significant source of bacteria. Make sure you clean it after every use to prevent the bacteria from spreading, especially around the plughole area.

Don’t leave dishes to soak

(even though you want to)

We all know that struggle when you just don’t want to wash the dishes or when you want to leave that pot or pan to ‘soak’, but when you leave your dishes to soak, especially to the point where the water is cold and murky, bacteria has a chance to grow. If you really need to soak your pots and pans because of stuck noodles or dried up sauce, a quick and easy alternative is to put some hot water in the pot or pan and place it on the stove to boil - this will loosen the particles a lot quicker.

Wash your

cloths, sponges and brushes

We usually use a few different tools to wash the dishes, such as a washcloth, a sponge, or a brush, but these need to be washed on a regular basis too as they can be a good place for bacteria to grow. We recommend soaking them a couple of times a week in a bowl of hot water and a tablespoon of bleach. Rinse them thoroughly and put them in the sun to dry.

Keep your

chopping boards clean

Chopping boards can actually be a great place for bacteria to grow, so you should always wash your boards thoroughly in hot water with dishwashing liquid. If you cut raw meat on the board, make sure you clean it before you use it again for the cooked food or for the preparation of veggies or a salad.

Clean out

the fridge

You should clean out your fridge at least once a week. Wipe down the shelves and throw away any expired or mouldy food. You should also throw out the leftovers you put in a tupperware last week and said you’ll eat later - try composting them instead.

Reduce the chances

of household invaders

We all struggle with some sort of pest, be it flies, cockroaches, mice or rats and even ants - and they all carry a host of bacteria with them. A good way to prevent these invaders is to make sure you check for signs of them regularly. Check behind your appliances, in your cupboards and empty out your dustbins as soon as you fill them. You should also make sure that you don’t leave open packets of food in your cupboards or on the counter, as these creatures have a keen sense of smell.

Always wash your

fruits and vegetables

It should be a given that you rinse off your fruits and vegetables before you eat them as they travel through a lot of hands and places to get to you. They may also have pesticides or bacteria on them, so the best way to remove all of this is to soak them in a bowl with water and a bit of vinegar, as the acidity from the vinegar will kill the bacteria.

Make sure your

food is cooked properly

The best way to prevent bacteria from being active in your meat and chicken is by making sure you cook them properly. We would recommend investing in a meat thermometer. When you are cooking meat, the internal temperature should be at a minimum of 60°C and chicken should be at a minimum of 75°C.

Practice

food safety

When it comes to dairy products, always make sure they are pasteurised. Unpasteurised milk can carry a host of serious, even deadly, diseases, so always make sure that all milk by-products such as cheese and yoghurt are made with pasteurised milk. If you don’t have access to pasteurised milk, you can do it yourself by heating up your milk to at least 75°C, and maintaining the temperature for 15 seconds. This should kill off any bacteria.