Kitchen safety

Kitchen safety and cooking tools

A well-equipped kitchen makes cooking easier, and knowing the best way to use and maintain your cookware and other supplies makes cooking safer.

You can go as simple or as elaborate as you want when setting up your kitchen, but you really only need a few key things for basic food preparation.

Choosing good knives and using them safely

A good set of kitchen knives may seem like an expensive investment, but well-made knives can last for decades with the right care – and they’re easier and safer to use. Here are some tips that will help you choose the right knives and take care of them correctly:

  • A wide range of knives is not necessary. Start with an 8-inch, straight-edged chef’s knife to cut most foods and a 10-inch serrated knife that will work well on thick breads and roasts.
  • While many knives are dishwasher safe, they will last longer if you hand wash them in hot water and detergent, then wipe them dry with a towel. However, when washing sharp objects in the sink, be sure to place them tip down in the dishwater to avoid tampering with the blade when removing them.
  • Try not to use kitchen knives for small jobs around the house – it’s not good for the knife and it’s not safe for you. Protect knives and keep them out of the reach of children by storing them in a knife block or on a magnetic bar.
  • With repeated use, the knives become dull and a dull knife is more likely to cause an accident. Keep your knives sharp by using a tool called sharpening steel. Electric or manual knife sharpeners are also options for non-serrated blades.
  • Professional chefs train for hours to learn safe and efficient cutting techniques, but here are the basics:
  • Hold the knife firmly and close to the blade for better control. The fingers of your opposite hand, which you will use to hold the food in place, should be curled underneath (with your thumb tucked underneath) and kept parallel to the blade to act as a guide. Push your hand back as you make each slice to avoid cutting yourself.
  • To keep a fruit or vegetable like a cucumber or pepper stable while you cut it, first cut it in half lengthwise, then place it cut side down and continue.

Cutting boards and pots and pans

Choose a cutting board that can be easily cleaned and a board made of dishwasher-safe material or hard maple. If possible, buy two cutting boards and designate only one for raw meats, poultry, and fish. Always clean the cutting board after use to avoid food poisoning. To create a safe and secure surface for cutting, place a damp cloth under the board to keep it from slipping on the table or counter.

Heavier metal pots and pans distribute heat better, but are more difficult to lift when full, especially larger pots. Deborah Quilter, a New York-based ergonomics expert and author of two books on repetitive strain injuries, notes that lifting heavy pans can put strain on your back and upper arm. “A lot of professional chefs find out when they injure themselves repeatedly lifting heavy cookware,” Quilter explains. She offers the following tips:

  • Choose light cooking utensils to avoid strain.
  • A pot with two generous handles on each side will be easier to handle than a pot with a single or short handle.
  • “Keep heavy pans on the front burners and slide them out – rather than lift them up – whenever possible, of course using oven mitts so you don’t burn your hands,” Quilter explains.

Introduce children to kitchen tools and kitchen safety

Kitchen safety for children begins with preventing accidental poisoning. Move detergents, pesticides, and other harmful household chemicals that are typically stored under the kitchen sink to a tall cabinet, or use safety locks to protect toddlers and crawling babies from ingesting these. poisons, warns Adriana Matiz, MD, a pediatrician in New York-Presbyterian’s Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital and assistant professor of clinical pediatrics at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Next comes the prevention of burns. “The kitchen is a place where a significant number of injuries are caused by boiling water and hot pots,” adds Dr. Matiz. Reinforce the rules about what’s okay and what’s not to touch. “Keep the pot handles turned inward so that they are not accessible to a child and don’t hold a hot pot while you hold a child,” Matiz warns.

When it comes to helping in the kitchen, every child is different. It’s hard to give an age for cooking preparation – a 6-year-old may or may not be ready, depending on their stage of development, says Matiz, adding, “If you are unsure of your child’s motor skills. , ask your pediatrician. “

No matter how old your child is, be sure to show off the right behavior. “Good modeling is essential and explain as you model – say why you are doing this and why it is important,” advises Matiz. This adds to the safety of the kitchen for the whole family.

Find more information in the Healthy Home Center.