Proper preparation of food, particularly the food to be eaten raw, reduces hazards to health. Food preparation includes the processes such as thawing, washing and cutting. Do you prepare food, especially frozen food, in the correct way?
Have you done correctly? Let's go through all the main points:
- Refrigerator and running water can be used to defrost frozen food. If the refrigerator is used, frozen food should be kept in the refrigerator for one day to allow gradual defrosting in a low temperature environment. If tap water is chosen, water should be changed regularly or kept running. If the frozen food has to be cooked immediately, microwave oven can be used for quick defrosting. When using a microwave oven, the food may have to be taken out for repeated stirring or turning over to facilitate even defrosting. Food must be cooked immediately after defrosting to prevent bacterial growth.
- Do not put defrosted food back to the freezer. Wrap it properly and keep it in the refrigerator for consumption within 2 days. Cook the excess food thoroughly before refrigeration is also an acceptable way in handling defrosted food. In fact, we should only defrost the exact amount for each meal.
- When preparing vegetables, we should:
- Remove the outermost layer, which is usually the dirtiest part, to prevent contaminating the whole vegetable.
- Wash with clean water for several times; it is the best way to remove pesticide residues, dirt and bacteria.
- Immerse in clean water for about an hour to dissolve any pesticide residues, if present, as they are mostly soluble in water.
- Shellfish, particularly the bivalves, should be prepared in the following way:
- Scrub and wash with clean water to remove dirt from the outer shell.
- Put them in clean water for half a day to reduce sands and micro-organisms in a controlled aquatic environment.
- Remove the intestines, the dirtiest part in shellfish, to minimize food hazards regardless of whether the shellfish has to be cooked or to be eaten raw.