Chopping Up Food Made Simple

December 8th, 2013

Chop Cup (Aluminum) by UdayI like to cook, but I don’t really like to use a knife in the kitchen if I don’t have to do it. I almost always find some way to cut myself when I’m chopping food. Even if I go as slowly as possible, I’ll still cut myself in some way. It’s a problem that I’ve faced for a while, and it really made me not want to cook sometimes. I looked for some devices that would help me cut up food instead of using a knife to cut them, and I found out about the chop magic.

At first, I was a little skeptical about the quality of the device.

How To Reduce The Risk Of Food Poisoning In A Commercial Kitchen

November 19th, 2013

Food poisoning can pose a serious health risk and a number of people will be affected at some point during their life. Although it usually only lasts a short while, food poisoning can be severe; taking the lives of around 500 people in the UK each year. Minimising the spread of bacteria in a kitchen is therefore incredibly important, and is something that can be done fairly easily by maintaining a good standard of food handling and general hygiene.

The main thing to remember is that food should be kept out of the ‘danger zone’ wherever possible, that is from 5oC to 63oC, because this is the optimum temperature range for bacterial growth.

When food is being cooked, care should be taken to make sure that all of it is cooked thoroughly. In order to kill most bacteria, food must be heated to 75oC for at least 2 minutes. The centre must reach this temperature otherwise there will be areas of the food that still have many bacteria present.

To reduce the risk of food poisoning as much as possible when cooking food, large joints of meat should be cut into smaller pieces to ensure that they are cooked evenly and thoroughly. Additionally, meals that have a high liquid content, for example stews, casseroles and soups, must be regularly stirred during cooking to make sure that all the contents are heated evenly.

When you want to keep hot food hot for a time before serving, it is safe to do so once the food has been properly cooked and if it is held at a temperature of 63oC or higher. How long it is safe to hot-hold food depends on the food type, but generally this should not be done for a period of longer than 2 hours. On a service counter, food is usually held under heat lamps or in a bain-marie; the food should be stirred regularly to avoid cold-spots when the temperature drops into the danger zone.

To cool food down, a similar principle applies because the danger zone should be passed through as quickly as possible. Subsequently, the ideal aim is for food to be cooled to 5oC or below within 90 minutes and then refrigerated. Importantly, hot food must not be put straight into the refrigerator because it can raise the temperature of the fridge allowing condensation to form and contaminate the food. Instead, food should be covered to protect it from contamination and kept in the coolest part of the preparation area until it is cold enough to put into the fridge.

Another common process in food preparation is thawing. Raw foods must be completely defrosted to enable even and thorough cooking throughout, and no thawed foods should ever be refrozen. To prevent contamination, thawing products should be put in a container and covered, away from other foods.

Finally, and perhaps most commonly associated with food poisoning, is the process of reheating food. If this is not carried out correctly, there is a great risk of harmful bacteria growing rapidly and causing harm when ingested.

Food should be kept in the fridge for as long as possible before reheating, rather than being left on the worktop at room temperature. Care needs to be taken to ensure that all parts, even the centre of the food, reach a minimum temperature of 82oC for 2 minutes. In the same way that food should only be defrosted once, it should never be reheated more than once.

Good food handling techniques are important and mistakes which lead to cases of food poisoning are certainly avoidable. The most common problems are preparing food too far in advance and leaving it to stand in the danger zone temperature range for too long, or not carrying out food preparation and cooking processes properly, such as thawing, reheating, cooling etc. Simply by following some important rules and keeping the cooking and serving areas clean, outbreaks of food poisoning can be kept to a minimum.

Paul Grantham works for Safer Food Handler, which has produced a basic UK food hygiene course. Safer Food Handler offers the UK’s lowest cost Food Hygiene Certificate at Level 2 that fully meets the UK legal requirements. For food handling businesses with 5+ employees needing training, there are bulk food hygiene course discounts.

Food Safety Tips to Keep Your Backyard Barbecue Safe

November 18th, 2013

I have been to many a backyard barbecue over the years and I have seen food handling that leaves a great deal to be desired. Some of my friends had no concept regarding safe food handling at all. They are not alone however in their lack of knowledge about food safety.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 76,000,000 people get sick every year from some form of food poisoning. How they know this I am not quite sure, but based on my personal experiences I would tend to believe it. The CDC also estimates that about 325,000 people are hospitalized every year from some form of food borne illness.

That is why I decided to write an article about food safety tips. I wanted to help people keep their backyard barbecue a safe one for all concerned. The basics of safe food handling in your backyard is really not that much different from food safety at a restaurant. The science and basic principals are the same. You just need to adapt the science to your specific situation.

You see there are many types of bacteria, some good and some bad and it is the bad ones of course that can make you sick. However those bacteria can’t grow to a point where you can get sick unless certain basic conditions exist. Know the conditions that you can control and you can protect yourself and your guests.

There are six conditions that need to exist for bacteria to grow:

-Bacteria need an energy source for food such as a carbohydrate or protein like a meat.
-The food must have little or no acidity.
-Bacteria need the air temperature to be within a certain range to grow.
-Bacteria also need to be at those temperatures for a specific period of time to grow.
-Some types need oxygen to grow and some don’t.
-Bacteria need moisture to grow as well.

Of these 6 conditions, two are what really can come into play at your barbecue and fortunately they are the two conditions you have the most control over. Those two conditions would be time and temperature. There is a specific temperature range that fosters the grow of bacteria. This range is commonly referred to as the danger zone, but having food in these temperature ranges alone does not mean that bacteria will grow to a dangerous level. Your food has to be in this range for a specific period of time as well.

So you see it is both time and temperature that you have to worry about.

The danger zone that I refer to is technically between 41 degrees F and 135 degrees F, however to be safe I always suggest to my readers to keep your cold food cold meaning 40 degrees F or less and your hot food hot, meaning 145 degrees F or higher.

This really comes into play when you are entertaining all day long. If you keep your food out for your guests to eat all afternoon and you let it stay within the danger zone for longer than two hours then it is probably not safe to eat any more.

Side note here: there is a secondary danger zone with in the zone I am talking about. It is between 70 degrees F and 125 degrees F. This is the worst possible temperature range to let your food sit at. If your food is sitting in air temperature of 90 degrees F for example, one hour may be enough to foster the growth of bad bacteria to a point that it ruins your food and makes you sick.

The bottom line here is that if you are entertaining all day long you must be careful to keep your food out of the danger zone for extended periods of time. This is probably the most important food safety tip I can give you.

There are other things you should consider as well when it comes to BBQ safety.

Besides buying safe food and holding your food at the proper temperatures like we discussed above, there are some other things you can do to protect yourself.

Properly cook your food by bringing to a safe internal temperature before you eat it

1) Different foods need to be cooked to a specific minimum internal temperature in order to be safe. Below is a small sampling of what I am talking about.

  • Pork should be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 160 degrees. Side note on this though, the USDA has revised these recommendations lower as long as other conditions have been met.
  • Ground beef should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees.
  • Chicken should be cooked to between 165 and 170 degrees.
  • Beef and lamb should be cooked to at least 145 degrees (this would be considered to be rare).

2) Keep your hands clean

You should always wash your hands before handling your food, more importantly though you should always wash your hands after handling raw meat, poultry or fish. If you don’t do this before you handle cooked food, raw vegetables or anything else, you will basically be cross-contaminating what ever else you are touching. If it happens to be food that is not going to be cooked or cooked anymore you are putting bacteria on there that could make you sick.

3) Keep your utensils clean

This is the same as keeping your hands clean. If you use a knife to cut your raw meat, you need to wash it before you use it to cut anything else. Rinsing it in hot water would not be enough. You need to wash it using hot soapy water.

One side note here, touching a clean utensil with contaminated hands is just as bad. You will cross-contaminate your utensils and they will in turn contaminate your food.

The last thing I would warn you about is your leftovers.

People never really think about this especially while you are entertaining, but a few minutes up front practicing some safe food handling practices can save you a great deal of grief down the road.

First of all as we discussed earlier in this article, if you have left your food out in the danger zone for more than two hours it is probably not safe to save and eat later.

When you do save your food though you want to get it to less than 40 degrees F as soon as possible. People never think of this. They believe that just because it is in the refrigerator they are safe. That is not always the case though. A good way to do this is to break your food up into smaller containers. They will cool down much quicker this way. You could also put them in the freezer for a short period of time just to get your temperature down quicker.

Also I would not keep your leftovers in your refrigerator for longer than four days without eating them. Even though the food is cooked it will become unsafe to eat if left in your refrigerator for too long. Another thing to remember is that gravy’s, sauces and soups should be brought to a boil before you use them. Also any meat that is to be warmed up should be brought to an internal temperature of 165 degrees to be safe to eat.

Please remember there really is a great deal more to being safe than just these few food safety tips I have given you here. There just isn’t room to put all the information you need into one article, but my goal was to give you some very basic information you could use to keep your party a safe one for you and all of your guests.

Choosing Catering Equipments for the Food Service Industry

October 25th, 2013

Providing accessories are used not just by catering services who journey a range to provide foods for guests in activities such as marriages, birthday parties and conventions. Other places in the food market such as hotel, restaurants, cafes, nightclubs, educational institutions and medical centers also use catering equipment.

A household run company, First Degree has a large anger of items to match all kinds of restaurant, hotel, food outlet, markets, cafe’s, butchers, etc. Not only do we have all your providing commercial kitchen needs, we also assistance all your serving ware needs. With one of the greatest variety that is consistently being modified, there is nothing we cannot get. There are many types of catering equipment. Like cooking equipment, commercial refrigeration, bakery equipments, vacuum packaging, food display, and food processor etc., choosing catering equipment is based on the particular requirements and preferences of caterers.

These resources are investment strategies including money. Thus, it is of significance to effectively and effectively choose the devices, which needs to be purchased. The resources to be chosen must be able to provide catering services to generate the best outcome. When planning, managing and dishing up meals for people, the chosen resources must make sure you do everything effectively. Catering equipments are not just those resources we see by which foods are provided on our table and plates. Instead, every element of catering needs appropriate resources for a more effective catering job. Some of the essential eating utensils are ice containers, meals golf trolleys, consume dispensers, etc.

One another important thing brand reputation is also important when you are going to purchase new catering equipment. The brand gives assurance of the product. Since the providing devices cost a lot and are a big part of your investment expenditure, you should make sure that you invest safe. Before spending to a product, you should do some due persistence by taking an internet evaluation or finding others in the market.

When you are going to choosing catering equipment, you should have to concentrate on these things Warranty and Service Agreement, Cost of Equipment, Output Speed of the Catering Equipment, Size of Equipment Costs also issue when choosing providing resources. It is a sensible thing to first evaluate the costs provided by various producers on a certain type of devices. This will provide you with a near calculate on how much money to assign for the devices. This way you also choose the best product for you personally and choices by evaluating beforehand the functions of the products you are evaluating. The apparent benefits that prevails when selecting to purchase your own providing devices is the comfort not having to fear about the unavailability of essential products you need during essential activities.

• Decide the style you like the most.
• Find which hardware can be best for your preferred style.
• Make sure that the kitchen is designed keeping in mind the health and safety issues. In case, if you are not sure contact relevant people to get everything sorted.
• Be sensible about catering equipments when investing in your kitchen.
• Avoid spending huge amounts on high tech gadgets, if you do not really require them.
• Try to create a simple yet efficient kitchen with more standard equipments.
• Do not use cheap kitchen appliances as they may cost you high in the long run.
• Better spend money on quality appliances.
• Try to create a space for comfortable move around of people.
• Complete your commercial kitchen design with proper planning and enough service space.
• Pay attention to washing up areas. They must have plenty of ventilation.

How To Choose A Commercial Wood Fired Pizza Oven?

October 25th, 2013

Times have gone when hand crafted pizzas were made through various time consuming processes. Helping to bake the pie in perfect way, pizza ovens have become a common kitchen appliance these days. Not many people realise the importance of pizza ovens in deciding the flavour and taste of the baked food. Available in different shapes and sizes, you can easily find the ovens that cater to residential and commercial needs. When it is about selecting commercial pizza DIy Kit, what all things you may need to consider?

Not everyone knows the features and technical specifications of an oven. It is not so easy to find the right oven that fits to your needs and budget.

1.Know the types of pizza Kit available in market: If you are planning to buy a commercial wood fired pizza oven, you should at least know how it differs from the other types. So it is often recommended to educate yourself about the varied types. Some of the types include deck, conveyor, convection and brick ovens to name a few.

Deck Ovens have stone shelves that are heated before we place the pizzas inside, while the conveyor ovens come with a cooking chamber and chain conveyor belt. If you are looking for a pizza oven that can cut down the cooking time and energy consumption, think about buying convection ovens. Another popular choice is commercial wood fired pizza Kit that can give an authentic taste to the food. Fuelled by wood or coal, this oven is a preferred option among gourmet chefs.

2.Number of decks: When it is about an oven for your restaurant or cafe, you have to decide on the number of decks. Single, twin and triple deck options are available, from which you can make the pick depending on your requirements.

3.Cooking time: Are you buying the oven only to cook pizzas? Most of commercial wood fired pizza ovens are designed not only to bake pizza, but also for pies, breads, tarts, pastries, wedges and garlic breads to name a few. Depending on your requirements, you can browse the right models and makes of commercial pizza.

4.Size: As per the size of pizza, you are planning to offer, buy the oven that fits to your needs. Also make sure that the oven fits to the space and budget.

Whenever you are planning to invest in wood fired ovens Australia, make sure to buy it from a reliable commercial baking equipment seller. Look for the reviews of the particular company products to ensure about its durability and energy efficiency. After all you are making a shrewd investment for your business and you need to make the best out of it.