5 Food Safety Tips & Tricks
We wanted to share some of the food safety guidelines we follow at The Market that you can use at home.
1.) Hand washing. Since we serve the public, we are required to wear gloves when handling food that won’t be cooked – like ingredients for salads or sandwiches. However, gloves are not mandated if the food we’re preparing is going into the oven. For example, if we’re tossing the dough for our brick oven pizzas - clean, gloveless hands are best. The dough will be heated to 700+ degrees, killing any germs. When cooking at home, you won’t need to wear gloves, but you do need to wash your hands. Of course, you’ll want to wash your hands any time you start preparing food. As a general rule, if something needs to be cooked before serving, you need to wash your hands after touching it – this includes raw meats, eggs, dough, and unwashed produce.
2.) Washing Fruit. Washing fruits will reduce their shelf life, so wait to wash until you are ready to eat or cook. Some stores add a light wax to fruits to keep them looking fresh and shiny. You can make a wash that will remove the wax by adding a splash of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice to cold water. Dip fruit in solution for 30 seconds, let drain. You can dip again in cold water to remove any unwanted taste from the solution, but it is not necessary.
3.) Washing Vegetables. Pull apart celery stalks, cut cabbage and lettuce cores before washing so entire surface is washed. Rinse vegetables under cold running water to remove dirt. Greens can be soaked for a few minutes to loosen any dirt. Pour out water and rinse vegetables again. Use a vegetable brush to remove dirt from hardy vegetables such as carrots and potatoes.
4.) Storing left-overs. Cooked food needs to be cooled and put away within 4 hours of preparing. Within 2 hours of cooking, transfer food to small, shallow containers to help it cool faster. This will help it reach the recommended 41 degrees within 4 hours. As soon as food is room temperature, cover and place in the refrigerator or freezer.
5.) Labeling left-overs. You can use masking tape on your food storage containers or storage bags that have a pre-printed space for the date. Write the date the food should be used by with a pen or marker. It is recommended not to store food in the refrigerator longer than 7 days. Foods can last longer in the freezer, but start to lose flavor the longer it is stored. We’ll share recommended limits on frozen foods in our next blog post.