So, you just returned from the market with everything you need to make a fresh fruit tart perfect for spring. Only the finest ingredients are making the grade – hand-selected fruits and berries; premium Irish butter for the crust; and farm fresh eggs and heavy cream for the filling. Any chef would be jealous of the masterpiece you’re about to create.
Before you dive into chopping, mixing and baking, be sure to watch out for these common perils in the kitchen.
Baking in a Dirty Oven
If you’re like many home cooking enthusiasts, cleaning the oven isn’t at the top of your to-do list. But, now is the time to add it to your spring cleaning agenda.
Not only is baking in a dirty oven a fire hazard, but it can also affect the taste of your dish. You’ve gone through the trouble to hand pick the best ingredients for your dessert and the last thing you want is to add is subtle undertones of last Friday’s baked fish. Clean oven, clean flavor.
Using Dull Knives
Believe it or not, it’s much safer to use a sharp knife than a dull knife. Over time, the blade of a knife wears down causing you to apply more pressure to effectively cut into ingredients.
With the added force, you’re much more likely to lose control of a dull knife – it can slip off the cutting surface and put you at risk for serious injury. A sharp knife grips the cutting board and provides clean slices. It’s a good idea to have your knives professionally sharpened several times a year.
Preparing Ingredients on the Same Surface
In an effort to save time on kitchen clean up, it’s tempting to use one cutting board for everything that needs to be cut and prepped. However, the risk greatly outweighs the reward of a quick clean up.
Never use a surface that has come in contact with raw meat or seafood to prepare fruits or vegetables. Food-borne pathogens from raw meat can easily spread to other ingredients and cause food-poisoning. You can avoid cross-contamination by using separate surfaces for preparing raw, cooked and fresh ingredients as well as thoroughly cleaning and sanitizing areas after each use.
Now, about that fruit tart…
What are your favorites tricks for setting yourself up for success in the kitchen? Share your tips in the comments.