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Celebrate summer - safely!
Summer is here! Bringing with it sunshine (we hope!), fun times and friends - with the promise of unrestricted social gatherings pinned to 19 July!
After a miserable winter and party pooping lockdowns, if ever there was a time to fire up the barbie and celebrate, it’s now. But one guest you don’t want to invite? Food poisoning.
With soaring temperatures, outdoor cooking, and a tenancy for burnt rather than barbequed meats, unsurprisingly cases of food poisoning double during the summer months.
Make sure you don’t serve up more than you bargained for by following these simple guidelines:
- As things heat up, check your fridge is at the right temperature. It needs to be below 5°C to stop germs from growing. The ideal is 4°C.
- It’s not just what goes into your fridge that’s important, where it sits matters too. Ready to eat food such as dairy products, cooked meat and leftovers should be stored on the top shelves. Raw BBQ meats should be stored on the bottom shelf of the fridge. Fruit and veg can be tucked away in your salad drawer. And if the temperature means your storing even more food in your fridge and it leaving you short on space, how about buying a little mini fridge just for your drinks?
- Keep worktops clean and disinfected and use different chopping boards and knives for raw meat. When you’re outside grilling it can be easy to muddle up plates and utensils – keep one side of your BBQ for uncooked and one side for cooked (try right for raw) to avoid confusion and cross contamination.
- Using frozen meat? Frozen poultry must always be fully thawed before cooking. It’s best to do this in a cool area, ideally at the bottom of your fridge, but keep in mind this will take longer. Red meat can be cooked from frozen but remember to increase the cooking time. If you plan to cook and eat the food straight away the alternative is to use a microwave on its defrost setting.
- Don’t mix your marinades! If you’ve used a tasty marinade for your kebabs, don’t be tempted to use any runoff as a sauce for other dishes. It will be harbouring hidden bacteria from the raw meat and using it is a recipe for disaster.
On the grill
- Don’t lift food out of the fridge until it’s needed or sit it in a cool box until you’re ready to cook.
- Barbequing is different from oven cooking. The heat source only comes from one direction, so it’s important to turn food regularly to ensure even cooking.
- A danger with barbequing is that food can look cooked (ok, burnt!) quickly…but that doesn’t mean it’s cooked properly inside. It’s essential to check before you serve. Cut into the thickest part to make sure none of the meat is pink and that the juices run clear.
- BBQ safety isn’t just about the burgers and bangers! Soil can carry harmful bacteria too, so be sure to wash and peel your veggies to help remove bacteria from the surface.
- The curse of the buffet! How long has that food really been sat there? Food might look great, prettily arranged on the table, but try to avoid lifting items out of the fridge too soon. Keep them cool and always make sure any food returned to the fridge hasn’t been sat out for too long. At this time of the year food warms up quickly, meaning those bacteria nasties start working fast.
- Don’t forget the flies – keep food covered to prevent unwelcome guests at the table.
- Leftover cooked meat should be stored in the fridge and eaten within two days.
- Make sure leftovers are not reheated more than once and that they are piping hot before serving.
Get BBQ ready with Martin Dawes
At Martin Dawes, we are proud to offer a fantastic range of fridges and freezers from all the big-name brands, available to rent or buy. So, whether it’s a bigger freezer to house ice cubes and ice cream, or a small undercounter fridge for extra storage space to help see you safely over the summer season - we’ve something for everyone.
Why not take a look at what we have available and place your order online today? Oh, and just in case the British weather gets the better of your plans – check out our range of indoor cooking appliances too.
If you’d like to find out more, speak to a member of the team by calling 01925 938 999, or pop in to see us in-store.