Christmas. Overeating, over-drinking…we can hear the sound of belts straining already. But it’s not just our waistlines lines under pressure – it’s our kitchens, too!
With hordes of the family to cook for, cupboards bursting at the seams and the fridge in overdrive, it’s likely your kitchen will see more action during the festive period than the rest of the year put together.
So, when spirits are high and the stress of entertaining is piling up, how do you make sure everyone stays safe?
The Christmas holiday season sees a huge spike in the number of cases of food poisoning reported. Not only that, but in the UK alone, food poisoning is responsible for over 20,000 hospitalisations and more than 180 deaths a year. That’s before you even start on trips, burns, and other accidents.
Bit scary, isn’t it? But there’s no need to panic.
Armed with a few clever food safety tips, some smart kitchen sense, and a few sneaky organisational tips, you can be confident your festive feasting won’t serve up more than you bargained for this Christmas.
So put down your mince pie and read on for some top tips on kitchen safety.
· Focus on the fridge
First and foremost, check your fridge is at the right temperature. It needs to be below 5°C to prevent germs from growing.
It’s not just what goes into your fridge that’s important, where it sits matters too. Ready-to-eat food such as dairy products, cooked meat, and leftovers should be stored on the top shelves. Raw turkey and other raw meats should be stored on the bottom shelf of the fridge. Fruit and veg can be tucked away in your salad drawer.
· Don’t wash your turkey
Not only is washing raw turkey unnecessary, but it also carries the risk of accidentally spreading harmful bacteria onto worktops, chopping boards, and utensils.
· Keep worktops clean
Clean work surfaces are essential to kitchen safety. Wipe down and disinfect regularly. It’s also a good idea to use different chopping boards and knives for raw meat.
· The curse of the Christmas buffet!
How long has that food really been sitting there? Food might look great, prettily arranged on the table or your island unit, but try to avoid lifting items out of the fridge too soon. Keep them cool and covered, and always make sure any food returned to the fridge hasn’t been out for too long.
General kitchen safety
· Keep people out
Too many cooks spoil the broth – they also create a hazard. With a hot oven and bubbling stove, it’s important to keep people out of harm’s way – particularly overexcited children.
Put someone on entertainment duty to keep the kids busy in another room and designate someone else as drinks waiter. This means you can concentrate on the food, and bodies in the kitchen are kept to a minimum.
· Beware of hot pans
Sprouts, carrots, potatoes, you’re bound to have countless pans on the go. Invest in pan rests to make sure you’ve got somewhere safe to pop them down without harming yourself – or your worktop!
· Remember candles
If you’ve got an open plan kitchen-diner and the table is set with candles and crackers…make sure cracker debris and Christmas crowns don’t get caught in the flames. When you’re ready to retire to the settee for a post-feast nap (or a game of charades), ensure candles are blown out and not left unattended.
· Make sure everything is turned off
Keeping a light under the gravy ready for seconds or warming through the brandy sauce – if you leave food on a low light on the hob, make sure you remember to turn it off completely once the meal is over.
· Create kitchen zones
Establishing designated areas – whatever your kitchen size – works well and helps to organise space and prevent kitchen mayhem. A space for drinks, an area to place cooked and uncooked food, and a serving spot, can all keep the situation under control.
Time for a change?
There’s nothing like Christmas to really put a kitchen to the test. How’s yours faring? Is it time to make a few changes?
Not only can natural stone worktops offer enhanced hygiene levels and practicality – granite is particularly hardy against hot pans and scratches, and the cool surface of marble is perfect for mince pie pastry – but a new worktop can also transform the way your kitchen looks and feels, too.
So why not treat yourself this Christmas? Take a look at the stunning range of granite, marble and quartz worktops we have on offer. To find out more, talk to the team on 0800 470 3180 or email [email protected].