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Follow good safety food preparation techniques

Making sure your family’s food is safe and free from harmful bacteria is important for good health, not only now during these hot summer days but all year long. Young children (pregnant women, and the elderly) are at high risk for food borne illness making it even more important that you follow good food safety rules when preparing food at home. Here are some simple steps to help you keep your family safe:

CLEAN

• Wash hands and all surfaces equipment, counters, cutting boards, dishes and utensils with soapy water.

• Make a sanitizing solution by mixing 1 tablespoon chlorine bleach to 1 gallon warm (not hot) water.

• Sanitize all kitchen surfaces after cleaning.

SEPARATE

• Separate raw, cooked, and ready-to-eat foods while shopping, preparing, or storing.

• Keep raw meat, poultry, eggs, and fish away from other foods, surfaces, utensils, or serving plates.

• Use a separate cutting board for meats and vegetables. If you have only one cutting board, clean well with soapy water, then sanitize after using the board with meat

• Always wash hands, cutting boards and all utensils after coming in contact with raw meat, poultry or fish.

 

COOK

• Cook meats, poultry, eggs, fish and shellfish thoroughly at a safe temperature.

• Uncooked and undercooked animal foods are potentially unsafe.

• Reheat sauces, soups, marinades, and gravies to a boil when reheating.

• If using a microwave oven, cover the container, turn or stir the food to make sure it is heated evenly throughout.

 

CHILL

• Refrigerate perishable foods promptly.

• Do not leave food out more than one hour if the temperature outside is 90 degrees or hotter.

• Thaw meats on the bottom shelf on a plate in the refrigerator. Never thaw meats on the counter.

• Thawing food in the microwave is acceptable. Plan to cook it immediately after thawing because some areas of the food may become warm and begin to cook during microwave defrosting.

SERVE SAFELY

• Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Harmful bacteria can grow rapidly in the danger zone between these temperatures.

• Whether raw or cooked, never leave meat, poultry, and eggs or fish out at room temperature for more than two hours (one hour in hot weather).

• Be sure to chill leftovers as soon as you are finished eating.

These guidelines also apply to carryout meals, restaurant leftovers and home-packed meals-to-go.

Remember, when in doubt, throw it out.

If you aren’t sure that food has been prepared, served or stored safely, throw it out. For more information contact FDA’s Food Information Line 1.888.SAFE FOOD.

 

Tips To Help Your Family Get The Fruits And Vegetables They Need

Nothing can make a bigger impact on your overall diet than increasing fruit and vegetables. They are low in fat, high in fiber, and packed with vitamins. Here are some easy tips to help you and your family get the fruits and vegetables they need each day:

• Offer cut up raw vegetables with low fat dip for snack time. You can cut them up yourself and keep them in the refrigerator so they are ready to go.

• One day a month, have a family tasting party to try new fruits and vegetables.

• Create a “build your own pizza” party. Buy the readymade crust and sauce and have a variety of toppings, including peppers, pineapple cubes, spinach, squash, broccoli and onions, etc. Let family members make their own pizza or section of a large pizza. You may be surprised what your child is willing to try.

• Keep a basket or bowl with fruit on the kitchen table or counter for easy pick-up. It will also serve as a reminder to eat more fruits and vegetables.

• For a super sweet treat, cut up and enjoy a golden pineapple. Choose one that is beginning to turn yellow but has no bruises or soft spots.

• Make your own smoothies by blending together frozen fruit, such as sliced bananas or strawberries, and milk and or 100 percent fruit juice.

• Snack on the perfect grab-n-go foods: fresh apples, ripe plums and pears, carrot and celery sticks. Have these foods washed and ready for eating. Source: Excerpts from June’s issue of Color Me Healthy Newsletter/North Carolina Cooperative Extension System

Below is a delicious and cool recipe for you and your children to prepare together. Getting your children involved in food preparation will go a long way in encouraging them to try new foods and enjoy eating.

Banana Pops

• 1 package (3.4 ounce) instant banana pudding mix

• 2 cups skim milk

• 1 banana, cut into pieces

Instructions

1. Combine pudding mix and milk.

2. Add cut up banana into pudding and blend evenly.

3. Spoon enough pudding/bananas into Popsicle cups to cover bottom.

4. Periodically tap the cups to get any air pockets out.

5. Freeze till set and enjoy!