As Thanksgiving draws near, many of us will be spending more and more time in the kitchen as we get ready to cook up a Turkey Day feast, followed by more special meals for holiday celebrations of all sorts throughout the rest of the year. If you’re looking for ways to keep things running smoothly, read on for advice on how to create a kitchen that is safe and functional.
Thaw thoughtfully: There are three safe ways to thaw a turkey, and leaving it on the counter is not one of them. When a turkey has been left to thaw on a counter for more than 2 hours, the center may still be frozen, but the outer layer is at a temperature where foodborne bacteria multiply rapidly. Check out this USDA article on safe turkey thawing to get detailed instructions for the three safe ways to thaw a turkey: in the fridge, in cold water, and in the microwave.
Quash cross-contamination: Always remember that raw poultry can carry salmonella. To prevent cross-contamination and the spreading of bacteria, never prepare food on a surface previously touched by uncooked turkey or any other meat. Be sure to thoroughly clean all cutting boards, countertops and utensils that have come in contact with raw meat, and wash your hands often.
Don’t carry that weight: Heavy pots and pans can be tricky to move from place to place. So you’ll want to place the pot on the stove first, and then add your ingredients. If you need to fill it with water, an extra-long hose for your sink sprayer will allow you to do that without having to move the pot.
Light your workspace: It never hurts to throw more light on the situation, and using sharp knives gets much safer when you can properly see what you’re doing. For quick and easy kitchen task lighting, get some battery-powered, stick-on LEDs and attach them to the underside of your cabinets.
Avoid scalding water: Remember that half of all burns treated in the ER result from a scalding injury. So set your home’s water heater to 120 degrees to prevent water from coming out of the tap at a dangerous temperature.
How to fight fire right: For a grease fire, a quick solution is to pour a box of baking soda directly over the flames. Never douse with water! Always keep a fire extinguisher within reach, and regularly check the pressure gauge to make sure it's operable.
Follow these tips for Thanksgiving kitchen safety, and you’ll have one less thing to worry about while cooking up a feast for friends and family.