Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Keeping your Kitchen clean and healthy...


Most at-home cooks feel fairly certain that they know how to handle raw foods, avoid germs and bacteria, and generally keep their kitchens clean as a whistle. But a closer look at their cutting boards—and hands—might suggest otherwise.
According to a Health.com poll of some 400 readers and 100 professional chefs, the results were quite the opposite.

Here's how to make sure the only thing you spread—and get!—in the kitchen is good cheer.

Wash rinds
Though 68 percent of at home cooks (and 71 percent of chefs) think poultry is the riskiest food, raw produce actually causes more cases of food-sickness outbreaks. Remember those recent salmonella outbreaks? It wasn't the chicken's fault...it was the mellon.

Scrub and rinse melons, squash, and other foods with inedible rinds to remove bacteria that can transfer to the flesh when you cut into it.

Even if you're not concerned with the pesticides, just imagine all the hands that touched that fruit during harvest, transit and shelf stocking.  That's a lot of hands... wonder if they washed, first?



Take temps
Only 29 percent of Americans have ever used a food thermometer, but it's the best way to tell if you cooked your meal enough to kill bacteria. Pork, ham, steak, roast, and lamb chops need to reach 145 degrees F, ground beef isn't safe to eat until it's 160 degrees F, and poultry requires 165 degrees F.

Pick up a food thermometer in any housewares department store.  They are inexpensive and work wonders at taking out the guess work.  I like mine because it has temperature and meat markings so I never get confused about what meat needs to be cooked to what temp.




Clean sponges
Three out of four kitchen sponges and rags tested positive for potentially dangerous bacteria, per a recent study.
Microwaving sponges on medium for a minute or run them through the dishwasher, including a dry cycle.

This is my Shaklee sponge.  It is my favorite kitchen sponge of all time.  It's inexpensive, covered in microfiber, and machine washable.  I have about 7 of them.  I use them just like I would dish cloths.  I use one per day, then put it in the laundry.  They go right in with my towels and wash cloths, get washed in the washer and dried in the dryer.  I LOVE these sponges... in fact, I give them as gifts.  I've never had a single person who didn't want more.  http://abetterwayoflife.myshaklee.com/us/en/products.php?sku=50411


Use two cutting boards
Designate one for meat and the other for veggies, so that bacteria from uncooked beef and poultry don't stray into your salad.
For the same reason, use separate knives for slicing meat and veggies.


Sterilize the fridge
And not just the outside. Every couple of weeks, wipe down refrigerator drawers using hot water and soap. Rinse with warm water and dry with a dishcloth.  For quick jobs I use Shaklee's Germ Off wipes.  
Kills 99.9% of Salmonella and E. Coli 
Another safety tip? Drawers—the coolest areas of the fridge—should hold meats, cheeses, vegetables, and anything else that will go bad quickly.  I keep a plastic shoe-box container in one drawer just for cheeses.  That way lunch meats and cheeses don't cross paths until I intend for them to.  To see my fridge organization post, go here.


Wash up
It's an essential way to prevent the spread of germs—but only half of people do it, says one Health.com poll.
Here's how to wash your hands thoroughly: For at least 20 seconds (roughly the amount of time it takes to whistle "Happy Birthday" twice), scrub all the surfaces on your hands and between your fingers. And be sure to dry your hands completely afterward.  

Our family loves Shaklee's Hand Wash.  It's super mild, sudsy, and it makes it so nice to wash your hands. It contains wheat germ oil and algae extract to moisturize; soy protein to condition; aloe and marshmallow, and linden flower to soothe; and rosemary and arnica extracts to energize. It's really like a spa treatment for your hands each time you wash.  { I even know a couple of girls who have eliminated their eczema symptoms since they started washing with this hand wash. }

Don't forget to replace your hand towels every day to keep germs at bay.

Keep your kitchen clean and your family healthy this season... 

Only By His Grace,

Billie


*information borrowed from Health.com

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