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Total Rookie - Super Basic Food safety Questions


Hope everyone is well!

Please bear with me as I am a lone student who doesn't have anyone yet to teach me how to cook.

First question,

I am starting with Chicken and ground beef.

In order to make sure everything remains clean and sanitary, here are my questions:

1) I don't have a cutting board, can I just put the beef on glass plates, and make burgers, and afterwards wash the plate in the dishwasher? (In other words, I read how you have to use at least vinegar and hydrogen peroxide for cutting boards, so does the dishwasher do the trick?)

2) Same question as above, but I will broil the burgers on a pan with a rack in it. So after using the pan/rack, do I just put it in the dishwasher as well, or are there any other extra cleaning steps?

3) Same clean/safety question, after weighing any meat in a stainless steel bowl weight, I can just put the bowl in my dishwasher?

After all of your help, I'll ask a few more questions about the cooking / recipe!

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  1. Yes all those are fine but I suggest you rinse all of those off unless you are starting the dishwasher right away. Also dont put the cooked burgers on the plate you use for prep before cleaning it. I suggest you watch some youtube videos, they might be easier to follow than what someone writes. I personally like a youtuber called foodwishes.

    2 Replies
    1. re: kpaxonite

      Thanks for your reply, if you can link me to videos that would be great. I tried searching on the foodwishes channel but didn't find anything specific to food prep and cleaning.

      1. re: CulinaryLearner

        He doesnt have any on cleaning I dont think..... I was just suggesting it for simple recipes in the future where someone shows you how to make it properly.

    2. Dishwasher is good for all of those, but depending on your dishwasher and how well it works, you may have to do some scrubbing with the pan that you are broiling the burgers on to get the cooked on stuff off.

      I also use the dishwasher for my cutting mats most of the time as well.

      1. Just remember that if raw meat has touched something, it should be kept separate from anything that is then going to hold food that you will be eating! Soap and water will work well to clean up hands and anything else. And buy a cutting board, they are worth the investment.

        5 Replies
        1. re: DrMag

          You need a cutting board. If you are poor, you can buy one in a dollar store, though you'll eventually want to invest in something a bit better (it need not be expensive). Remember, it is also important to eat vegetables!

          1. re: lagatta

            You can use the styrofoam tray the meat was packed on as a cutting board - but only once! Toss it out promptly as the raw juices will permeate the cuts.

            You don't need the dishwasher for cleanup. They didn't exist when I was a kid and everyone used a dishpan with hot, soapy water. I live alone, and would rather wash dishes in the sink than have them sit in the DW unwashed for days on end waiting for a full load, so decades ago I had the DW disconnected.

          2. re: DrMag

            Agree about getting a cutting board. You might like one made of synthetic/manmade materials over wood, since they are dishwasher safe and much more affordable for a newbie in the kitchen.

            My bf bought a few of these thin plastic ones for us to have on hand when we're both cooking simultaneously or have lots of veggies to chop and they're nice because they fold up when not in use and take no space. Would be great for a small space or a beginner. They're similar to these: http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/store...

            Also agree with everyone else--wash everything the raw meat touches (plates, cutting boards, forks, spatulas, etc.) before using them with "done" food. That includes chopping any veggies for burger toppings or salad BEFORE you pull your meat out (or at least use a clean knife and cutting board).

            Everything you mentioned can go in the dishwasher, but you should probably rinse them off first. If you're not going to run the dishwasher in the next hour or so, you should probably wash the dirty dishes with soap as well.

            And wash your hands after handling the meat :)

            1. re: nothingswrong

              Agree on the thin plastic cutting mats - I love mine. They are lightweight, and flexible, so it is easy to bend them to direct chopped foods into the pot or pan. The set I currently have is color coded and have holes for hanging. They are light, and I keep them hanging on a hook right next to my sink. They do get beat up eventually, but they are inexpensive enough to replace every once in a while, which I'd have to do anyway since I have a compromised immune system.

              1. re: jw615

                Those thin mats kill your knives, though.

          3. I'd start with a book, something simple like Modernist Cuisine.

            No but for real, I keep some 99% isopropyl alcohol around at all times for cleaning purposes.

            1. I've never cleaned cutting boards with anything other than hot water, soap and elbow grease. I'll spritz and wipe down the counters with vinegar after prepping a turkey, to catch splashes, though.

              The basic steps I take (I don't have a dishwasher, so everything is hand washed).

              - store raw meat, poultry and fish separately from vegetables. Put them in a separate bag for transportation home from the grocery store, and put them in the fridge so that the packages don't touch, and can't drip on, other food (ie, the bottom shelf of the fridge).

              - prep raw meat separately from vegetables. When I'm finished with the meat and it is cooking I scrub down the cutting board with soap and hot water (including the back and sides), wash the utensils and any other dishes I've used, and wipe down the counter before moving to other food.

              - always wash my hands with soapy water between raw meat and handling anything else.

              - make sure to clean stuff you touch with meaty hands. For example, if you turn on the kitchen tap with meaty hands and wash your hands, but don't wipe the tap, you'll get meat juice back on your hands when you turn the tap off. Ditto for spoon handles, or pot handles.

              Two of the biggest sources of contamination for home cooks are when organisms from raw meat are transferred to vegetables which are served raw (like salad fixings), or cooked food that is contaminated (say, by touching it with dirty hands) and then sits at a temperature where the bacteria can multiple.

              And I agree with other posters that for the rack, you'll want to hand wash it, maybe with steel wool, to get the crunchy burnt bits off. That's not for safety, but because the dishwasher won't get it off.

              2 Replies
              1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                I guess OP could also get designated "meat" and "veggie" cutting boards. May be out of budget, but if he/she is really worried, it couldn't hurt.

                I hesitate to mention this... My mother always taught me to prep meats on disposable plates or aluminum foil, and transfer meats the same way. So when she'd make burgers, she'd prep a large paper plate (Costco) wrapped in foil and set it next to the sink. Then she'd make the patties and set them on the plate as she made each one, not touching the rim of the plate. Then she'd carry the whole thing out to the grill, transfer the patties to the grill, and throw the whole foil plate away.

                She did the same thing with chicken or steak or shrimp when grilling(which was several nights a week).

                I do this too now, even just when prepping in the kitchen, and find it very simple with no risk for cross contamination. I do cook meat quite rarely though, and it's usually just for 2. Not sure how "green" this would be for a whole family eating meat nightly.

                1. re: nothingswrong

                  Thanks for this, I might do this from time to time!

              2. The main thing is to avoid cross contamination with raw chicken. If you put it on a glass plate, just put the plate directly in the dishwasher when finished with it, and wash your hands well after handling raw chicken.

                Ordenary washing in a dishwasher is sufficient for glassware, but I always select the sanitary (extra hot) rinse when raw chicken residue is in the dishwasher. A plastic cutting board requires even more care. Nicks in the such a board can harbor bacteria, so some people recommend discarding them when the surface shows cuts. I don't, but I wash them differently. I lay the board flat on the rack with the working side down and select both the extra hot wash and rinse. After washing, I might leave it in for another trip (the usual way, on edge) if there is room.

                2 Replies
                1. re: GH1618

                  Thanks. My dishwasher only has normal, heavy or pots. I usually use normal. Maybe I'll try heavy.

                  1. re: CulinaryLearner

                    "Heavy" probably means longer, not hotter. Higher heat is what kills bacteria.

                2. You've gotten great food safety tips here, and I have nothing to add to those. But I do want to urge you to get a couple of cutting boards --preferably wood or bamboo, it's actually easier to sanitize than plastic, and definitely not glass. Cutting on a glass board or plate will ruin your knives.

                  Good luck and have fun!

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: P_penelope

                    Many restaurant kitchens have different color cutting boards specifically used for different items: blue for cooked chicken, white for any raw meat, green for veggies, and etc. Make up your own chart, but if you're afraid to mix things up, this works well.

                    1. re: coll

                      I got rid of my large maple cutting board...very reluctantly some years ago. It was too big to put in the sink even upright. I bought some 'sink-sized' plastic cutting boards.
                      I advise you invest in a couple. One for veg only. One for meats.
                      It sounds like you are starting on a culinary journey. You need to buy the 'steel toed boots', so to speak, before you give yourself a nice case of food poisoning.
                      Protect yourself using the proper safety equipment.

                      1. re: Puffin3

                        what do you mean get steel toed boots??

                        1. re: Puffin3

                          What safety equipment are you talking about?

                          1. re: CulinaryLearner

                            1. Proper knives, sharpening stone, good steel, etc.

                            2. if you drop anything NEVER attempt to catch it and just get your feet out of the way.

                            3. If you're going to start butchering get a cut resistant glove so you don't sever an artery or lop off your thumb.

                            4. Never, ever, ever, ever, EVER put your knives in a dishwasher. Once you're done, you clean, sanitize, dry and store your knives before doing anything else.

                            I have a whole course outline you can follow but you'll need to send me a message. Mods don't like like outside links.

                            1. re: Zalbar

                              My knives go in the dishwasher regularly. In special compartments.

                              They live to chop another day.

                        2. re: coll

                          my wooden cutting board of sizeable weight&heft that resides in the motorhome has many colors of those plastic sheets built in a slot in the cutting board. a corner of each one says what it's used for. even I can't goof.

                      2. You can get cheap cutting boards at the dollar store or a second hand store. Just don't buy glass cutting boards...they're terrible on knives.

                        1. 1. yes. But seriously, but a few cutting boards, they're cheap and last forever.

                          2. yes. But seriously, as a cook, it's way easier to clean as you go. Food, grease, burnt bits come off a lot faster while hot rather than after dinner.

                          3. Yes. But seriously, butchers paper works better and you can throw it out after.

                          1. Of course you can put your raw meat onto a plate to cut it. Just don't spill the juices, and make sure you don't cross-contaminate raw stuff with cooked stuff... I use a plate all the time to thaw meat in the microwave, but as soon as it's used it goes into the washing-up tub so it doesn't get used again before it's washed. Then I get a clean plate out for the vegetables, and another plate to eat from. Oh, and wash the knife off between cutting the meat and the vegetables, or use a fresh one!

                            Rule one - raw stuff does NOT touch cooked stuff (or stuff that you're going to eat without cooking.) If your meat or the meat juices touches your countertop, make sure you clean it before you move on to the next stage of cooking.

                            1. Thanks again so far everyone!!

                              I did cook a batch of burgers, and dishwashed all of my plates and pans right after.

                              But since I cooked in the evening, I had to scrub the rack the next morning before adding it to a dishwasher load.

                              I may pick up some cutting boards, but I don't really do any cutting at this point. I just need to take the beef out of the butcher paper, and put it directly on the grill or on a glass plate.

                              As for chicken, I buy all the pieces I need and either boil it or bake it. More elaborate prepping and cutting are things I don't have time for at this moment.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: CulinaryLearner

                                Even if you buy all of your meat ready to go, you'll still probably eventually want some type of cutting surface for prepping veg. I can't imagine what my cooking would be like without a surface to chop onions and garlic on.

                                Glad that your cooking has gone well so far. It really is something that you have to learn by doing. You can read and watch a lot about it, and that helps your base of knowledge, but a lot of things you just need to actually do with your hands to get it.

                                1. re: CulinaryLearner

                                  If you are scrubbing the rack, using soap and hot water, there is no need to add it to the dishwasher.

                                  1. re: CulinaryLearner

                                    I hope you meant 'broil' not "boil".
                                    The worst thing you can do to a knife's edge is to use a ceramic surface to cut on. That's why cutting boards are some sort of plastic or wood.