Trees are decked out in their finest décor, smiles are on the faces of (most) people you meet and foodborne illness and cross-contamination lurk on the corner of a cutting board near you. Here are a few tips to help your tummy navigate through this season of eating:
Courtesy of the Canadian Partnership for Consumer Food Safety Education, here are the top 10 things I learned about preparing food this holiday season (add yours in a comment below for all of us to read!):
- Always wash your hands with soap and warm water for a minimum of 20 seconds before and after you handle food.
- With shellfish, always discard any that do not open when cooked.
- Wash fruits and vegetables before serving – even items with hard outer rinds (like squash or melons). This is because bacteria on the outer surface can be transferred inside when cut or peeled.
- To stop your grapes from getting moldy, keep them in a bag with holes in it and don’t wash until they’re to be eaten (as the mold grows from moisture).
- To help prevent cross-contamination, always use one cutting board just for raw meat and one for veggies. Cut your veggies first, meat last.
- Cooked turkey keeps for three to four days refrigerated. This applies to the carcass, too, in case you’re thinking about making soup.
- If you defrost meat in a microwave, you must cook them immediately (as microwaving may cause uneven thawing and warm spots, leading to bacteria growth).
- Canned foods are already cooked, but should be brought to a boil before serving (either on the stove or in your microwave).
- You cannot save or reuse marinades used for raw poultry, meat or fish. Discard it or bring it to a boil for one minute before using it for basting or dipping.
- Different foods have different cooking temperatures. Click here to read more.
Happy eating and happy holidays!