Chopping board choices for hygiene

Chopping board choices for hygiene

 There are many different types of chopping boards available on the market, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. A chopping board is a kitchen gadget that is used for chopping and preparing food.With a little bit of research, you can find the perfect chopping board for your kitchen.

 

Hygiene is very important in the kitchen. We all know this. But how much attention do we pay to kitchen hygiene ‘danger zones’ like chopping boards? Chopping boards used in food prep (also commonly called cutting boards) can be breeding grounds for bacteria if they are not cleaned properly after use. Chopping boards 

The following provides a brief guide to the different kinds of food chopping boards you can get and what to consider re hygiene:

Types of kitchen chopping boards - plastic, bamboo and glass

Types of kitchen chopping boards – plastic, bamboo and glass

Types of kitchen chopping boards:

  • Wood cutting boards are still popular as heavy duty chopping boards. They look good (think ‘French Country Kitchen’), they are stable, and they don’t ‘leak’ juices off the edges, like glass cutting boards do. In general, chefs also prefer wooden cutting boards in the kitchen because they are the kindest on knives. However, they can retain food particulates and active pathogens if they are not scrubbed clean and dried thoroughly after each use.
  • Bamboo cutting boards are less pricey than hardwood cutting boards. They are also less prone to collecting deep cuts and grooves over time. This can make them a more hygienic option – as long as care is given to cleaning and drying out the boards thoroughly after use to kill off bacteria and prevent fungal infestations in the bamboo grain. Clean with soap and water and disinfect regularly.
  • Plastic or acrylic chopping boards. Light weight and easy to clean, plastic and acrylic cutting boards are ideal for meat, chicken, and fish ad they are dishwasher safe and easy to wipe down.
    However, some hard plastic cutting boards quickly collect a network of fine cuts and grooves. These are ideal hiding places for bacteria.
  • Glass chopping boards are noisy, blunt knives, and juices run off them on to counters. However, are very easy to clean and wipe between uses. They are also dishwasher safe.

Irrespective of the type of board being used: Use once for chopping each food type if there is a cross-contamination risk e.g. with raw chicken. Clean after each use – with boiling water for wood, or in the dishwasher.

Read with love…and Cool Kitchen Stuff

Metal versus silicone for baking

Metal versus silicone for baking

Metal bakeware comes in tin, aluminium, stainless steel and cast iron – with aluminium being the most popular and commonly used.

Metals all heat fast, distribute heat well and maintain temperatures out of the oven. With all the metal options, not to mention glass and ceramic bakeware (each suitable in its own way for different baked goods – with advantages and disadvantages), there must be a good reason why silicone has become so popular.

Silicone bakeware is ideal for cakes and cupcakes and dishwasher safe

Advantages of silicone baking tins, cake tins and moulds:

1. Silicone bakeware is ideal for cakes and cupcakes. It helps keep the moisture in, maintaining both the velvety texture and rich, mouth-watering flavours you want to achieve.

2. It is also perfect for creating chocolate moulds as it is so flexible, and for acidic treats like lemon cakes because it doesn’t not react with the food.

3. However, it’s the non-stick property that makes it a winner. More indulgence and enjoyment of the product of your hard work, and a lot less time in the kitchen cleaning and scrubbing!

Silicone bakeware is also:

Easy to clean – thanks to being flexible and it’s non-stick texture
Microwave safe
Dishwasher safe
Exceptionally durable. It doesn’t rust. And it won’t break if dropped on the floor.

 

The disadvantages of silicone bakeware:

 
Some purists simply don’t like it or see the need for silicone considering all the other options. Others aren’t convinced there are no health risks – despite the evidence there aren’t any. It’s heat proof up to very high temperatures, and it does not leach anything into the food.

The only real disadvantage is that the baking can take longer, and temperatures need to be adjusted slightly to take this into account. It doesn’t heat the way metal does, and so it’s easy to get times wrong, and it may not be suitable for baked goods that depend on fast, high heat.

Then there’s taking a pie out in a floppy dish…let’s say that needs a bit of skill and finesse!

In the end, metal will still come out the winner for many, thanks to its fast heating properties. It comes down to what metal to use, and what not to for different dishes e.g. aluminium should not be used with acidic ingredients.

Read with love…and Cool Kitchen Stuff

The absolute essentials for your kitchen

The absolute essentials for your kitchen

The items considered essential vary drastically between people. It all depends on how much cooking you want to do, and how much entertaining. It also depends on how seriously you take your cooking, and creative you want to be. Ask any chef, and their list of essentials will include many more items than most people will ever need! As a baker what’s essential, and you’ll get a whole different list.

The following is a list of ‘absolute bare essentials’ – basic kitchen items that you will need for most dishes. The important thing being: SETS of almost everything, or two or three varieties of something, e.g. mixing bowls!

The essentials for kitchen vary according to what type of cook you are

Items every starter kitchen should have:

Kitchen essentials include:

  1. Knives The important knife and block set – with different sizes and types knives for most important applications of application, from a chef’s knife to a carving knife, bread knife to paring knife.
    (ADD: A knife / blade sharpener. Essential to keep your chef’s knives other large chopping knives from going blunt…)
  2. Cutting boards
    – Fruit and vegetable: wood or bamboo is best
    – For cutting meat: glass or silicone
  3. Cooking Utensil set – with your spatulas, ladles, draining spoon and potato masher
  4. Wood utensil set! (Including wooden salad servers)
  5. Plastic colander – good for draining pasta and washing lettuce. Add a stainless steel one later.
  6. Set of pots and pans: Get a full set in one go. It’s much cheaper in the end and you’ll never be caught out with ‘not the right pot’.
  7. Set of 3 casserole dishes – small, medium, and large. (ADD: Oven gloves)
    1. Dinnerware SET
    2. Cutlery SET
    3. plastic mixing bowl, 2 x medium sized glass bowls that can double up as salad bowls.
    4. A potato peeler.
    5. Measuring jugs – 1 large plastic and I glass jug

    Once you have the above, you have the core kitchen items you can gradually add to, according to your meal preferences.

    Have fun setting up your kitchen!

    Read with love…and Cool Kitchen Stuff