Every smart cook knows that a sharp knife is safer than a dull one, but that’s just one tip to keep in mind when making magic in the kitchen. A quick meal can turn into an all-night affair of upset stomachs if you’re not careful during its preparation, so follow these tips to stay safe in the kitchen.
1. Sharpen your knives.
To sharpen your knives, you’ll need a whetstone, a bowl of water and a cutting board.
Soak the whetstone in the water for 10-20 minutes. Then, remove the whetstone from the water and place it coarse side up on the cutting board. Holding your knife at a 20 degree angle, push the blade – tip to heel – away from your body across the whetstone. Repeat this 5-7 times for each side of the blade, then flip the stone to the fine grit side and repeat. Carefully clean the blade to remove any debris, and use a honing steel to align the blade.
If you’re using your knives on a regular basis – three times a week or more – you should be sharpening your knives at least once a month.
2. Use a cutting board.
Using a cutting board will help you avoid contaminating your food and your home, and you won’t have to worry about scratching your countertop, plate or pan. Placing a damp towel underneath a cutting board will keep it from sliding around. Alternatively, use cutting boards with rubber, non-skid feet.
3. Store food properly.
Uncooked food in your refrigerator should be stored on shelves or in drawers below any cooked food to avoid contamination from possible drippings. Perishable foods should be stored in the refrigerator at a temperature of no more than 40 degrees Fahrenheit to deter the growth of bacteria. The fewer bacteria there are, the less likely you are to get sick.
4. Roll up your sleeves.
Loose clothing or jewelry can easily get caught on pot handles or dangle dangerously close to open flames or other hot surfaces. Rolling up your sleeves and removing jewelry gives you an accurate sense of where your arms and hands are in relation to your cooking space.
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