Being a good cook isn’t just about being able to prepare a meal. Being a good cook means knowing and understanding food and best practices when it comes to preparing food.
Below are six things every home cook should know. These will help you become a better cook, save money, and prevent food poisoning.
Storing Food in Non-Reactive Containers Can Prevent Food Poisoning
Food storage is essential because it helps to keep your food fresh and unspoiled. You should avoid storing food in plastic or aluminum and reactive containers such as copper, brass, and iron. Reactive metals react with some foods to produce a potentially toxic chemical that could make you sick.
It can also be dangerous to cross-contaminate other foods you are preparing or cooking with them. For example, if you put eggs into a bowl after using your cast iron skillet, the egg whites will turn green because of the iron content. This isn’t safe for human consumption, so please stay away from this practice.
Use of Hydrogen Peroxide Is an Excellent Way To Stay Healthy
Use 35 food grade hydrogen peroxide instead of bleach when cleaning your kitchen utensils and equipment that have come into contact with uncooked meat (like tongs used during grilling). This will prevent cross-contamination between cooked or raw foods, leading to bacteria growth if not cleaned properly before use again.
Don’t Rinse the Rice
The reason is simple: you’ll be washing away the starches that make it sticky and delicious. Those starches are suitable for your body, helping to keep your gut healthy and aiding indigestion.
In addition, starches help rice stick together when you’re cooking it, which means less time spent mashing clumps with a fork or spatula. Rinsing also removes some of the starch from sushi rice, making it harder to form into balls when making maki rolls later on.
Homemade Pasta Is Worth the Effort
Homemade pasta is a great way to get creative and have fun in the kitchen. It’s also a great way to create something delicious from the most fundamental ingredients, like flour and eggs. You can make all sorts of pasta, from classic spaghetti and lasagna sheets to savory ravioli stuffed with cheese or meat fillings.
The process is simple: Mix flour and eggs until you achieve a dough that holds together when pulled apart. Then roll out your dough on a floured surface until it’s thin enough to cook through (typically about 1/16th inch thick).
Before serving, briefly boil your pasta in salted water until tender but not mushy; drain well and add sauce right before serving, so it doesn’t soak up too much moisture during cooking.
Always Use a Thermometer When Cooking Meat
Cooking meat at safe temperatures is the most important thing you can do in the kitchen. Bacteria like salmonella and E. coli can cause food poisoning. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), one in six Americans will suffer from a foodborne illness each year.
Cooking meat at safe temperatures will prevent food poisoning and keep your family healthy while enjoying their meals.
To ensure that meat is cooked thoroughly, use an instant-read thermometer when cooking either chicken or beef. Always insert it into the thickest part of the piece of meat and leave it there until you get a reading. Never rely on color alone to determine doneness.
Onions and Garlic Don’t Belong in the Fridge
Many people think that onions and garlic belong in the fridge, but this is not true. Keeping them in your vegetable crisper makes them grow mold and can cause food poisoning. Instead, store onions and garlic at room temperature (in a cool, dark place) or in a dark cupboard away from light.
When you cut up an onion or garlic clove, wash it thoroughly with running water before using it; otherwise, it will make your eyes tear up and get gross on your hands.
Learning as you go is an essential part of life, but it can be difficult when information is scattered or you have a busy schedule. By reading articles like these, you will gain the knowledge necessary to be confident in your kitchen and improve the quality and safety of your cooking.