For many people, cooking is a very enjoyable, creative outlet. It’s a productive and useful skill that can nourish you and your family. It’s important to be responsible in the kitchen to avoid a variety of potential hazards. Keep yourself and your family safe by learning the basic rules of kitchen safety that we outline below.
Exercise Caution Around Heat
High temperatures are the basis for cooking, but can be dangerous if you are careless. Avoid burning yourself and others by exercising caution whenever you work with heat or open flames. Never leave your stove unattended while the fire is on and do not fill pots up to the brim. This allows you to move the pots carefully and avoid scalding splashes and boiling over. Lastly, never point pan handles outward (toward yourself). By pointing them to the back of the stove, you are less likely to knock them over while their contents are hot.
Handle Knives Correctly
You need knives to cut ingredients for most every purpose. The same sharp edges that allow for great performance can injure you. For this reason, handling knives correctly is an essential kitchen skill. Grip your knife firmly so that it is stable in your hand and curl the fingers on the hand holding the ingredient to keep them out of the path of the knife. Learn how to deal with different ingredients, since certain shapes and textures can require specialized techniques. For example, you should cut round ingredients into halves to create a flat, stable surface before cutting them further. Also note that certain knives, such as Japanese butcher knives, require adjustments to your approach.
Keep Raw Meat Separate
Keeping raw meat separate is another basic rule of kitchen safety to be mindful of. Raw meat can contain bacteria and other microorganisms that have the potential to make people sick. Never cut raw materials like vegetables and fruit, or place finished dishes on materials that have come in contact with raw meat. Use a separate knife and cutting board for the meat or be sure to wash these tools between uses. Lastly, be cognizant of sanitizing the surfaces, plates, and bowls that come in contact with food.