Safe Eating Tips for Summer BBQ Season
With the quickly approaching July, summer BBQ season is just around the corner. However, just because you are cooking outdoors does not mean you throw away hygiene. On the contrary, you should be warier of cleanliness as summer is also a fun season for microbes. Unhygienic cooking habits coupled with the ideal season for bacteria and other micro-organisms to grow can cause a lot of stomach problems, to say the least. As a matter of fact, food-borne illness rise during the summer.
While throwing a BBQ, you would want your friends to remember the bbq because of its delicious foods rather than a stomach ache. Hence, we are providing you with some safe eating tips for the summer BBQ season.
- Clean the Grill
If it is the first time this season you are taking the barbeque out, thoroughly clean the grill of the barbeque with a metal scrubber and a damp cloth dipped in soda or bicarbonate. Once, you are done with the scrubbing, rinse the grill with warm or soapy water. As the grill is continuously exposed to food, it is the ideal place for bacteria to grow, which can infect your food.
- The Fridge is Your Best Friend
During the summer, a fridge is your best friend. While you are barbequing, food usually remains in the open for long hours which can expose it to bacteria and germs allowing them to multiply on the food. To prevent this, keep the perishable foods (quiche, salad, and coleslaw) in the fridge until you need them. You should also minimize the time between taking the meat out of the fridge and cooking the meat. Bacteria and other germs grow very quickly on meat, sometimes even when the symptoms are not visible, the process of rotting might have begun.
- Marinate the Meat in the Fridge
As mentioned in the above paragraph, bacteria multiply quickly on raw meat at room temperature. If you are marinating the meat, do it in the fridge. Remember not to reuse the marinade. If you require a fresh marinade to serve with the meat, prepare a new one. Avoid cross-contamination by separating the uncooked meat from everything else in the fridge. Thaw the frozen meat before tossing it on the grill. It is better if you thaw the meat in the fridge; however, if you are in a hurry use cold water. Always keep the raw meat on a different platter than the cooked meat.
- Wash Everything
Wash all the fresh vegetables and fruits. Even though the fruits and vegetables may appear clean, they travel hundreds of miles if not thousands before they reach the Australian supermarket. In this process, they are handled with numerous hands. They can also be contaminated with pesticides. Even organic produce can fall victim to pesticides carried by the wind. When you cut the contaminated fruit with the knife the inner body can also become infected with the bacteria transferred by the knife. Unless the fruit or vegetable is from your own garden, you should thoroughly clean them before consuming them.
The thought of throwing a perfectly fine-looking piece of food can be too tempting for some people. However, if you have the gut feeling that a cake or any other food has been sitting for too long, it has probably gone bad even though the signs are not yet visible. Do not take the risk and discard the food.
- Cover the Food and Keep Bugs Away
Most of the bugs including the harmless fly are capable of carrying a variety of germs that can contaminate the food and make you very sick. Hence, keep the bugs away from the food table by using lids to cover the food or plastic bags that are inexpensive and easily storable.
- Consider the Food Temperature
Keep the warm food warm and the cold food cold. While serving the food, the best way to prevent the food from contamination and to keep them fresh is to maintain the temperature it should be served in. Use a bed of ice to serve food like salad and use a warmer for food that requires to be served warm. It is suggested that you serve the food in a cool area or under a shelter if outside.
With these tips, you should have a safe summer BBQ. However, parties are an exception as there are so many things to take care of. You may forget to