When you work in a kitchen, hygiene is your priority every single day. Chefs are notorious germaphobes so at this time when cleanliness is top of mind for everyone, we asked our chefs for their tips on how to keep home kitchens sparkling and safe.
1. Washing – the golden rule for everything
Hands: Before, during and after meal prep. 20 seconds of scrubbing your hands with soap and water and don’t forget to get in between the fingers!
Produce: For firm vegetables, like potatoes or cucumbers, give them a good scrub with a vegetable brush or clean sponge under running water. For leafy greens or more porous vegetables like green onions and bean sprouts, use your sink as a wash station: scrub it out with soap and hot water and rinse thoroughly before filling with cool water. Give your vegetables a mix-around to free dirt before letting them rest a few minutes, causing any excess dirt to fall to the bottom of the sink. Lift the clean vegetables out and onto a clean towel to dry.
2. Sanitise surfaces and tools
Before and after cooking. Even if you cleaned the cutting board before you put it away it has still been sitting around collecting bacteria, so it is important to sanitise all tools again before cooking. Use a spray bottle for easy use and this DIY recipe:
- 1 1/2 cups filtered water
- 1/4 cup white vinegar (the acid levels help to kill bacteria)
- 1/4 cup vodka (alcohol is a great disinfectant and vodka has a neutral flavour)
- Add an edible essential oil like lemon, peppermint or lavender for a more pleasant smell
3. Keep cutting boards separate
When cutting proteins, it is especially important to wash and sanitise your board before cutting anything else (vegetables, herbs), as they will absorb anything left behind from the meats and fish, which can make you sick. Ideally have boards in different colours and dedicate them to proteins and vegetables to avoid cross-contamination.
4. The two-hour rule
As a rule of thumb, move leftovers into the fridge within two hours. Food enters the ‘danger zone’ – a temperature spectrum between 5 and 63 degrees celcius – which allows bacteria to breed.
5. Know your sources
This seems simple but when you shop, be aware of how products are stored and treated. If what you see makes you uncomfortable then it’s probably best to find a new source.
6. Keep things dry
Allow cutting boards, plates, spoons or tools to dry properly before putting them away. Moisture, along with dark, warm areas likes cabinets and drawers, can cause bacteria or mould. A few simple steps to ensure you are practising safe hygiene:
- Empty out and clean your cabinets or drawers frequently
- Ring out excess water on towels you use for drying or wiping
- Hang towels to dry so they do not gather mould or bacteria between washings
7. Store well
Reusable airtight containers (washed and thoroughly dried) keep any external matter from reaching your food, helping to extend its shelf life. How you store food in your fridge is just as important as how you cook it. Make sure to separate raw proteins and vegetables and keep proteins on the bottom shelf of the fridge to avoid any accidents.
If you have any queries or would like further details about what hygiene protocols are in place in Black Sheep Restaurants, please drop our team a line at [email protected] We are always happy to hear from you!