Summer can be a brutal season. With the sun scorching down on you and the humidity making it almost unbearable to stand outside, it’s important to know how to handle your food in such weather in order to avoid unwelcomed diseases. Meat and poultry that has been sitting in the sun for too long is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and with the scorching heat wave that’s been spreading across the US and Canada recently, a real good piece of meat can go real bad, real fast.
If you plan on grocery shopping during your day, make sure it’s the last chore on your list that you’ll need to complete. It’s better to refrigerate the foods that need to be kept cold right away so that bacteria don’t begin to fester all over them. If you plan on purchasing meat, put it in the fridge as soon as you get home. If you’re cooking outside, or in your home without proper air conditioning, avoid cross contamination by cleaning your cutting board and utensils thoroughly. If you can’t use two cutting boards to prepare your food (one for your meats, one for your vegetables), make sure to completely disinfect the surface between each type of food your plan to prepare on it. Bacteria can grow at a staggering rate in high temperatures.
If you plan to defrost some meat for tonight’s BBQ, don’t leave it on your counter to heat up in the hot summer sun. The proper way to defrost meat is to leave it in the refrigerator, where it can thaw safely. If it’s left to defrost outside the fridge, the surface of the meat will become too hot too quickly and airborne bacteria will be able to settle on it. If you’re in a hurry, you can always defrost meat partially in the microwave and throw it on the grill to complete the cooking process.
In heat like this, is important to keep a cool head. Be sure to keep all your cooking surfaces clean, and your food at the right temperature so that a bad case of food poisoning doesn’t bring your well deserved vacation, to an abrupt end.