Sometimes we don’t realise it, but when we cook, we tend to perform tasks in a certain way, either out of habit, because that’s how our parents taught us, or because we’ve been doing it that way from the beginning.
However, many of these habits that most of us have may not be entirely advisable. Some of these mistakes may only result in a dish not turning out as expected, but others could cause real health problems. And even if you do cook regularly at home, chances are you make some of the following mistakes.
10 Mistakes We Make When Preparing Food.
When we come home with eggs, we usually take them out of the carton and place them in the area of the refrigerator that the appliance manufacturer has designated for them, which is usually located on the door. Error! Throughout the day we frequently open the fridge, and the door area experiences the most temperature variations. It is, therefore, the most dangerous place to store sensitive products such as eggs. It is best to leave them in their carton and place them on one of the refrigerator shelves, where they will be protected from temperature changes, odours, and impacts.
Washing chicken? No, thanks.
Are you one of those who wash chicken before cooking it? Well, stop doing it. Chicken, and other meats, have moderately resistant pathogenic bacteria. Washing it will only spread them around the sink and other kitchen surfaces, which can cause cross-contamination. Instead of washing it, we will cook it well to make sure we eliminate the bacteria.
Cut the meat too soon
It took you nearly 30 minutes to prepare the dish, it’s finally in the oven, and your stomach is protesting. The smell is so good you can’t stand it. Could it be ready? How about now? Finally! Now you have to wait because it’s too hot. Maybe just a bite? So you cut into it, blow for a few moments, and what glory?! But wait, something is not right. Why is the meat so dry?
When you take the meat out of the oven, you have to let it “rest” for a while. This way, the boiling juices that oozed out of it are sucked back in, and it remains tender and juicy the way you like it. If you cut it too soon, all that brown goodness leaks on your plate.
Opening the oven during cooking
We are impatient by nature. That’s why, even if the recipe clearly states that the dish we put in the oven needs 35 minutes of cooking, some strange force compels us to open the oven door every ten minutes to check if it’s progressing.
All we achieve with this is causing a temperature change every time we open the door. It affects the final result of the dish, and it can also lead to splatters inside the oven and over the glass window, which can be hard to remove.
And if you don’t have the time to clean them immediately, our best advice is to use an oven cleaning service. Especially if you want your dishes to be tasty as they always have been and to extend your oven’s lifespan.
Alcohol does not entirely evaporate when cooking
You’ve probably heard it many times: “This dish has a little alcohol, but it evaporates when cooking.” Well, in reality, it’s not entirely true. Or not completely. It takes cooking a stew over low heat for more than 2 hours to evaporate 95% of the alcohol we used. Below that time, the remaining alcohol is significant.
For example, when we flambé a dish, only 25% of the alcohol evaporates, and if we choose baking, almost half of it remains in our preparation. Keep this in mind, especially if you are cooking for young children.
Adding oil to the pasta to prevent it from sticking
Do you usually add a drizzle of oil to the water to prevent the sticking of he pasta? Well, that’s also a mistake. Olive oil is excellent for many things, but not for boiling spaghetti or macaroni.
All we achieve with that is creating an impermeable film around the pasta that prevents it from absorbing the flavours of salt and the subsequent sauce we will add. If we don’t want it to stick, the trick is simple: use an abundance of water to cook the pasta and stir it, both when submerging it and during cooking, with a wooden spoon.
Not washing fruit because we’re going to peel it
Sometimes, we use fruit as an ingredient in baking or other dishes. We never forget to wash it before consuming it directly without peeling it. However, sometimes we don’t do it when we’re going to remove the peel, and that’s a mistake. Dirt, chemicals used for tree spraying, and residues from other products that have come into contact with the fruit during transportation all accumulate on the fruit’s skin. And when we start peeling the fruit, all those substances spread to the “clean” part. So, don’t forget, even if you’re going to peel the fruit, it’s better to wash it first.
Storing open cans in the refrigerator
We open a can of crushed tomatoes, artichokes in brine, or anchovies. We don’t use the entire content, so we put a piece of plastic wrap over it and put it in the refrigerator. Again, mistake! Cans are usually made of aluminium or steel, two materials that are highly resistant to oxidation while they are sealed.
However, once we open the cans, oxygen enters, and oxidation of these materials begins, which can damage the food when it comes into contact with it. The best option, if we don’t use an entire can of preserves, is to store the leftovers in a more suitable container. For example, a plastic or glass container with a lid.
Neglecting the care of the cutting board
The majority of us have wooden cutting boards in our kitchen. They are handy when preparing ingredients for any recipe. However, we don’t take care of them as necessary. How many of you have “cured” it before its first use? Few, right?
Well, you should know that wood is a porous material that tends to absorb products (including bacteria), so “curing” it, for example, with olive oil, is very useful to waterproof the material. Therefore, before using it for the first time, we should rub it two or three times with olive oil and let it dry.
Post-cleaning hygiene is also crucial. Water and other liquids are the enemies of wood, so every time you use it, wash it immediately and dry it afterwards. Don’t leave it on a wet countertop (mould will develop), and washing it under running water is better than putting it in the dishwasher. When chopping foods on it that leave odorous or coloured residue, you can use lemon juice and coarse salt to remove the remains.
Neglecting the hygiene of kitchen towels
Another helpful item in the kitchen is towels, probably the ones we pay the slightest attention to. If we don’t give them proper hygiene, it’s pretty likely that they will become a breeding ground for germs and bacteria. Ideally, wash them after each use to avoid spreading the germs that remain on them after drying our hands or using them to clean kitchen surfaces. You can wash them with boiling water, ammonia, and vinegar or in the washing machine with a hot water program.
Try to Avoid Cooking in a Rush
Cooking is a pleasure, although it may not seem like it to many. But the worst enemy of a dish is indeed hurrying. And nowadays, we’re always in a hurry. We thought that identifying the mistakes we make when cooking in a rush would help us avoid them and ensure that our dishes turn out well even when time is pressing. Lastly, we can help you with transforming your ordinary kitchen into a dream one.