While we are busy preparing and flitting around the kitchen, we sometimes forget to be careful of seemingly innocent items that can become cross-contamination traps. It’s hard enough cleaning, searching out recipes, shopping and doing everything on time to produce a wonderful meal for everyone let alone be cautious for the ones that we love. There are just a few items in your kitchen that I wanted to remind you about. They are our friends during preparation but they can instantly become our allergy enemy.
1) Chip Clips
Chip clips are great- they keep our chips bags closed up tight, they prevent little unwanted critters from trying to sneak into our foods. But have you ever inspected your chip clips? Many of us will use them on one thing, then remove them and transfer them to something else without washing them. What’s the harm? It’s on the outer packaging, right? Next time you clip a bag of cereal, check your clip. Many times when we open and close a bag of something, dust particles are blown out while we are removing the air to get a better grip. This could be a disaster if you have allergenic foods (such as cereals with nuts). Please inspect, wash and reuse with care. Save the environment and save a possible reaction.
2) ) Blender/ Food Processor Attachments
There, lurking on the bottom of your attachment on your beloved food processor are specks of food particles! Do you see them? They are tricky and try to disguise themselves. Who knew that during the use of these machines to make separate courses that they would try to invade your other foods? Those cute little buttons are harboring traces of egg or dairy items…you can beat them at their own game. Simply wipe the attachments with a warm, soapy sponge to eliminate their strategy. If you are really busy, Lysol wipes are very convenient as well. (the food particles HATE Lysol wipes, I heard them talking about it!)
3) Pots and Pans with Exposed Handle Attachments
Do you see how the handles are attached on the inner side of the pots and pans? Those small, silver dots can be traps for cooked-on food items. Even dishwashers don’t always scrub off the particles left on those circular bad boys. But now that you have a heads-up, you are ahead of the game for next time. Make sure these types of handles are soaked in warm, soapy water and thoroughly scrubbed with a sink brush or a sponge with a semi-rough underside. Place into the bottom rack of your dishwasher to get the full effects of cleaning and voila- you should be good to go!
4) Microwave Ovens
Microwave ovens are a girl’s best friend sometimes. They are wonderful for heating up and helping out. Especially during a busy day, this little light-up box can offer you the extra hand that you seem to need while you are cooking 15 different things at once. However, stop and think for a moment – when was the last time you cleaned it? Do you have a husband, kids or a family member that refuses to cover their plates whenever they use it? Food splatters + food particles = falling food debris! The microwave oven animal likes to spread itself all over- on the top, on the walls, on the glass plate and even underneath the plate. It almost seems like it saves up its bits and then spreads them out in the middle of the night when nobody is looking. If you are a person who covers with care each time you use it, you should be safe. If not, double-check your mini oven and make sure falling food is not a future disaster.
5) Stove Top & Ovens
Picture this- you are cooking a wonderful omelet for your husband, baking muffins for the kids and cutting up veggies for the platter later on. During all of the frenzy, you are flipping your omelet and part of it falls onto the stove top. ‘I’ll wipe it up later“. Flash forward to dinner that night when you are just too tired to even consider who will be doing the dishes that night. Dinner is ready and you are serving right from the bowl onto the plate at the stove. You are tired and plop! A large portion of dinner drops onto the stove top. Do you a) pick it up and put it onto a plate? b) throw it away or c) leave it there for someone else to clean? The correct answer depends on who is doing the serving for the family. But beware- that minor slip could cause a bad case of hives to your egg-allergic individual who’s starving and just wants to eat.
This brings us to the oven. A warm and toasty place. It’s the place that cookies are made, dinners are formed and a good source of extra heat on cold, winter days. You are grateful you have two or more shelves in your oven, especially when cooking several different dishes and sides. But have you ever noticed that foods can splatter or spill uncontrollably? If you are brave enough to share the oven with multiple food items, be aware and place your allergy-friendly entrees on the upper rack. You may even want to place some aluminum foil underneath for a little extra protection. That way, when the foods beneath act up and misbehave, your foods up top will be safe, cozy and ready to be eaten without the cross-contamination cooties.
Be armed and fight back! The kitchen (for most of us) is the heart of our family. Use it wisely, lovingly and it will bring your family nourishment and memories for many years.
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