Kitchen Safety

Patrick Mooney
Sharp knives can be dangerous.

Whether you are making toast or a roast, kitchen safety is of primary importance to a successful meal. Ideally, you should leave the kitchen with as many fingers as when you entered. By following a few simple steps, any cook can navigate from start to finish with no injuries.

Keep it Sharp

A dull knife can be the most dangerous cooking utensil in your kitchen. It should be as sharp as possible because a dull-edged knife can get stuck in what is being cut or slip and slice your hand. To sharpen, run your blade along a sharpening steel about five times each side before you start cutting a lot of food. Steeling your knife periodically is a good idea.

Once you have it sharp, make sure your fingertips don't get in the way of the edge. The best way to hold anything that is being cut is to curl your fingers slightly so you are using the very tips of your fingers to secure the food. If you find yourself using a lot of force to hold the food or to cut, it's time to sharpen. Using your knife in a safe manner is an integral part of kitchen safety.

Keep it Clean

Cross-contamination happens when bacteria from one food is transferred to another. This is a good way to get food poisoning. To avoid this, keep your kitchen clean. You don't have to worry about this with fruits and vegetables, but once you start cutting any kind of meat, wash your cutting board thoroughly. To avoid cross-contamination, use two separate cutting boards. In some professional kitchens, color-coded boards are used. But if you don't want to have five separate cutting boards, a good antibacterial soap will clean everything.

This is especially important if you are working with poultry. When preparing chicken, be certain everything that has touched the meat is sanitized. Remember food safety is a very important part of kitchen safety.

Keep it Neat

Vegetable peels, empty bags and boxes can all get in the way of cooking. The worst time to realize the counter is cluttered is when you are holding a hot pot. You may not see the sharp knife under the kitchen towels and a quick grab can cause a cut. Away is the safest place for everything in your kitchen.

Assume it's Hot

A pot of boiling water is easily recognized as hot, but a cast-iron pan on the stove may not visibly appear hot. Always test everything that may be hot by placing your hand near but not on it. If you are in a hurry, just use an oven glove or a hot pad. If you spend enough time in the kitchen, minor burns are expected, but major burns can end with a trip to the hospital. Good kitchen safety measures include turning pot and pan handles to the side of the stove away from the heat. They will be less likely to be bumped into or heat up. If you are taking something out of the oven, let others in the kitchen know it's hot.

Importance of Kitchen Safety

Cooking can be fun and creative. It's a great way to share good times with friends and family, but no one likes to serve a meal with their hand in a bandage. With a little attention to detail and some basic kitchen safety measures, you can enjoy your meal injury-free.

Kitchen Safety