How to Avoid Home Cooking Accidents

You’ll achieve your health & fitness goals far quicker if you cook your own healthy food at home, rather than ordering takeaways or buying ready-meals. As a personal trainer, I’m keen to get my clients cooking for themselves. However, if you’re new to cooking meals from scratch, beware these top accident blackspots:

Cuts

Cutting yourself with sharp kitchen knives is the number 1 accident waiting to happen in the kitchen. To reduce this risk, don’t chop vegetables when you’ve had too much alcohol, make sure you use a stable chopping board, make sure your hands and the knife-handle are dry, and don’t try to chop too fast, or too close to your fingers. Finger food is great at parties, but don’t take it too literally.

Another common cause of cuts is the sharp edges of lids from tins of food, such as tinned chopped tomatoes, so watch out.

If you accidentally smash a glass, beware of getting shards of glass in your fingers in an attempt to pick up the pieces. Better to use a dustpan and brush, then vacuum the area to pick up any remaining fragments.

Keep plasters and bandages handy just in case.

Slips

You can easily slip on spilled water, sauce or oil. Make sure you wipe up spills as you go along, and dry the floor with kitchen towel for good measure.

Burns & Scalds

It’s so easy to forget to wear oven-gloves when taking hot food out of the oven, particularly if you’re new to cooking, so keep oven-gloves at the ready. The best oven-gloves are in the form of actual gloves, with heat-resistant and non-slip material. If you do burn yourself, run your hand under the cold tap for 10 minutes. Also beware scalds from boiling water and steam, and splashing hot oil.

Fire

If you’re cooking on the hob with hot oil, fire is a real risk, so don’t leave the hob unattended even for a minute. As a precaution, have a fire-blanket handy, and even a small fire-extinguisher. If your wok or pan of hot oil does catch fire, don’t try to move it. The worst thing you can do is carry it to the sink and turn on the tap, as this will just spread the flames. Turn off the power to the hob, and use the fire-blanket or fire-extinguisher.

When you’re cooking, particularly with gas flames on the hob, avoid wearing long loose sleeves or ties, and tie back long hair. You’re supposed to be cooking food, not yourself.

Food-Poisoning

If you’ve ever had food-poisoning, you’ll know how nasty it is, and potentially dangerous.

When you store raw meat or fish in the fridge, store it securely and don’t let its juices drip onto salads and other food. Keep your fridge clean by emptying it and thoroughly washing the shelves once a week.

Straight after chopping raw meat/fish on the chopping board, wash up the chopping-board in hot water and dishwashing liquid. Don’t chop salads on dirty chopping boards, or you’re asking for a bout of food-poisoning.

Throw away food that’s out of date, particularly raw meat/chicken/fish/seafood. If any of these smell off, throw them away to be on the safe side, even if they’re within the use-by date.

If you’re making a salad and drop some on the floor, don’t pick it up and pop it into the salad-bowl. Chuck it away. Blowing on the item you’ve dropped to remove any fluff will not remove the bacteria.

Don’t re-freeze food that you’ve defrosted and not used. Chuck it away.

Bumped Heads

Don’t leave cupboard doors or kitchen drawers open, or you’re liable to bang your head or poke out your eye, neither of which are conducive to a fun cooking session.

Electrocution

The most common cause of electrocution in the kitchen is poking a live toaster with a metal knife or fork to get the toast out. The second most common cause is handling electrical appliances with wet hands.

If you’re aware of these dangers in advance, and do what you can to reduce the risks, you’ll have a far better experience in the kitchen. Enjoy your home-cooked food!

(Dominic Londesborough is a personal trainer in London and an online nutrition coach.)