Here are some tricks that will help you keep from being hurt
when you work with your kitchen knives and the other sharp edges around
Keep your knives sharp. If your knife is sharp, it will slide easily
through what you are cutting, with little force involved. If the knife
is dull, you have to force it to do the cutting, and if you slip a
little, there is all that force that makes the knife glance off anything
in its way, and often cut the heck out of it.
When you are using a knife, don't cut with the edge toward you or
your fingers. If you slip, the blade keeps going toward you, and can
easily get you. Pay a lot of attention to where the edge of your sharp
blade is pointing, and make sure it can not get you if you slip a bit.
Don't leave sharp knives loose in a drawer. Not only will banging
around in a drawer ruin the good sharp edge you have on your knives,
someone for sure will reach in the drawer and come out with a handful of
knife, and it will probably be you.
If you are working with or handling a knife, and you drop it, stand
back and let it fall, don't try to catch it. This sounds elementary, but
lots of instincts say catch it, and that can really hurt.
If you have a dirty knife, don't toss it in the dishwater. There is
a good chance the dishwasher, which may be you, will come up with a
handful of sharp knife edge. Banging around in the dishwater will also
ruin a good edge. Wash the knives separately.
When you are working with a knife, and you lay it down, don't lay it
down with the edge pointing up. It is hard to see the edge, and someone
will put their hand down on it, making lots of blood.
Any kind of broken glass is incredibly sharp and dangerous. Clean it
carefully up, and make sure you don't leave pieces of it in the sponge
for the next guy who grabs the sponge to find. Don't just toss broken
glass in the trash bag to bite the guy who picks up the bag, wrap it in
old newspaper or something, and if there is a lot of it, warn all
concerned. Don't ever break glass on purpose and toss it in the trash
bag you are going to throw over your hip, as did my old dishwasher, S.
The single most important prevention
measure is to read and follow the directions. The directions associated with the
operation of the microwave oven and the specific directions associated with
heating prepared or packaged foods are equally important.
Use a pot holder or appropriate utensil to remove lids and coverings from
heated containers to prevent steam or contact burns. This also is necessary when
removing items that may have been heated or extended periods of time - the
container may be hot.
Be sure children are old enough to understand the safe use of the microwave
oven before allowing them to heat foods. Children under the age of seven may not
be able to read and follow directions and are at a higher risk potential than
older children. Their height is also an important factor. Some manufacturers do
not recommend that their products be heated in a microwave oven. Be sure you
follow their recommendations. (For example, some baby foods are not to be heated
in a microwave. And jelly-filled donuts can be a major source of mouth burns.)
Use caution when handling and cutting thick pieces of meat after heating,
especially meats with considerable fat. Spattering of hot fat and meat juices
Puncture plastic pouches
and plastic wrap covering before heating. This will reduce the risk of a vapor
pressure build up and prevent steam burns.
Put a cut in potato skins or other vegetables to reduce the risk of
"bursting" when you cut into it after it is heated.
Eggs should be removed from the shell before being cooked in the microwave
oven. The egg in a shell may explode causing both mechanical and thermal
Identify containers, dishes and utensils that are safe for use in the
microwave oven. Some items are not "microwave safe" and may become very hot or
even burst when heated in the microwave oven.
When using smooth vessels for heating liquids, place a plastic spoon in the
vessel during the heating process. This will prevent the "super heated"
phenomenon that may result in liquid spattering and scald burns.
Check for the presence of metal when reheating some "fast food" items.
Aluminum foil, staples in bags, twist-ties, etc. may become very hot and ignite
Children who are permitted to operate the microwave oven should be tall
enough to be able to safely remove items from the oven. One major risk is facial
burns, which occur among children whose height puts their face at the level of
the heating chamber of the microwave oven.
Check with the dealer or
manufacturer to determine if the microwave oven you choose can be installed
where you wish to install it. Proper ventilation and control of moisture
exposure may be important considerations for many microwave ovens.
Purchase only microwave ovens that have a "fail safe" mechanism, which will
shut off the power when the door is opened or will prevent the door from opening
when the oven is operating.
Clean Your Sponges
It is of paramount importance to clean your sponges properly. The solution to cross contamination is to have a small bowl containing 1 ounce of bleach in a quart of water. Whenever you are done cleaning an area, soak the sponge in the solution and let it air dry. The combination of the bleach and the dryness will
kill all dangerous bacteria. Make sure to change the solution once a day.
For Food and Drink
Wash your hands often with soap and water. Wash in between preparation of different foods and after completing different stages of preparation.
Cut meats and vegetables with separate knives and cutting boards, or carefully wash knife and cutting boards in between the two. [Look for plastic cutting boards with an embedded anti-bacterial substance such as triclosan. Such a product cleanses the inner surfaces of slices and fissures in the board.]
Cook meats and poultry thoroughly.
Assume that the outer surfaces of all fruits and vegetables are contaminated.
Don't leave food sitting out at room or outdoor temperatures for an extended period of time.
Reheat and serve leftovers only once.
Pay attention to expiration dates.
Exercise care with the communal plate.
The label "organic" does not necessarily mean "safe" or "germ-free."
The Icons below will guide you to the other Kitchen Safety Pages