Don’t wash raw poultry!

Washing raw chicken in the sink.  Please don’t do this!

The USDA sent out another press release a few days ago, reminding us not to wash raw poultry. This is a topic that comes up every so often with callers. Some callers resist our advice not to wash poultry. Washing raw poultry simply is not very effective. Splashing water and hands not washed well will spread bacteria from the raw poultry to many other places in the kitchen. This simply is not an effective method for ensuring a safe meal.

Callers often do not believe that they will end up with bacteria in their sink or counter tops that will not be easy to clean up. According to the USDA, 60% of people that washed raw poultry had bacteria in the sink after washing or rinsing poultry. About 14% still had detectable levels of bacteria in the sink after washing the sink. The researchers for the USDA also found that 26% of these people had also transferred bacteria to their ready to eat salads. Therefore, even if you try to clean up after washing poultry, there is no guarantee that you can remove it from the sink or be sure that it does not transfer to your salad. This is not an appetizing thought.

Even if participants in this study did not wash the raw poultry, 31% still managed to transfer bacteria from the poultry to their salad. Researchers speculated that this transfer occurred due to lack of handwashing and contamination of the countertop from the poultry. We often explain to consumers that it is hard to be conscious of the “little things” that we do to cross-contaminate in the kitchen. Consumers also tend to underestimate the value of handwashing.

We do remind callers to use a thermometer to check the temperature of poultry (and all other meats) every time. Thorough cooking will kill bacteria that is present on the meat. That is why we can tell callers that not washing poultry is safe. Cooking kills bacteria. Knowing we have reached the proper temperature inside the meat or poultry ensures a safe product.

Liz Meimann

Liz Meimann

I received both my undergraduate and graduate degrees in Food Science at Iowa State University. I love to quilt, sew, cook, and bake. I spent many years gardening, canning, and preserving food for my family when my children were at home.

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Try something new, can some applesauce

boiling water bath cannersAre you new to canning?  Want to try it but a bit nervous about complicated recipes?  This recipe for home canned apple sauce is a great place to start.

Wash, peel, and core apples. If desired, slice apples into an anti-darkening solution to prevent browning. Place drained slices in a larger saucepan. Add ½ cup water per 4 cups, sliced apples. Heat until tender, (5 to 20 minutes). Press apples through a sieve or food mill; omit the pressing step if you prefer chunk-style sauce. If desired, sweeten with 2 tablespoons sugar per quart of sauce. Reheat sauce to simmer. Fill jars with hot sauce, leaving ½-inch headspace.

 

 

Type of pack

Jar size

    Minutes of Processing at Altitudes

0-1,000Ft

1,001-3,000Ft

Apple sauce

Hot

Pints

15

20

Quarts

25

30

Remember, we have free canning recipes for fruits, jams and jelliesvegetables, pickles, tomatoes, and meats.

Liz Meimann

Liz Meimann

I received both my undergraduate and graduate degrees in Food Science at Iowa State University. I love to quilt, sew, cook, and bake. I spent many years gardening, canning, and preserving food for my family when my children were at home.

More Posts - Website

Grilling Made Easy with Marinades

Salmon in a soy sauce marinade
Salmon in a soy sauce marinade

My favorite time of the year is finally here – time to grill! Who doesn’t love the aroma of meat and/or vegetables coming from a grill as you walk around your neighborhood? My family made chicken and steak kebabs last weekend, adding a new touch with the addition of peaches and pineapple. Why have I not tried grilling fruit before now? Both the peaches and pineapple were sweet, juicy and succulent!

The use of a marinade is one way to keep your grilled foods juicy and tender. A marinade not only keeps your food from drying out but also can add additional flavor to your dish. It is important to remember food safety when using a marinade. The effects of marinating are hastened by higher temperatures, but so is the danger of bacterial activity. Refrigerate any foods in their marinade if the immersion period indicated is 1 hour or more. Allow about 1/2 cup of marinade for every pound of food to be processed. Cubed meat is soaked just 2-3 hours; a whole 5-10 pound piece, overnight. Sometimes a recipe calls for the marinade to be made into a sauce for the dish. When doing this, it is important to bring it to a boil on the stove to destroy any harmful bacteria before using it on cooked foods. Using these tips will result in safe, tender, and juicy meats, vegetables and fruitsfrom your grill!

BEEF OR PORK MARINADE

Combine:

  • 1 1/2 cups flat beer
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • Stir the oil in slowly, then add
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3 cloves

FISH

  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper

Marinate the meat refrigerated and covered for 2-3 hours. Turn frequently.

CHICKEN

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 minced clove garlic
  • 1 finely chopped medium-sized onion
  • 1/2 tsp. celery salt
  • 1/2 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. dried thyme, tarragon or rosemary

Mix well. Chill several hours in covered jar or dish. Shake well, then pour over the chicken pieces. Chill about 3 hours, turning pieces at least once. Baste during cooking with any excess marinade

REF: Joy of Cooking

Liz Meimann

Liz Meimann

I received both my undergraduate and graduate degrees in Food Science at Iowa State University. I love to quilt, sew, cook, and bake. I spent many years gardening, canning, and preserving food for my family when my children were at home.

More Posts - Website

Botulism poisoning–could this really happen?

Clostridium Botulinum bacteria
Clostridium Botulinum bacteria under the microscope.

We often speak to callers about the possibility of botulism poisoning if they don’t process their low acid vegetables properly. But really, what is botulism poisoning and is there really a risk?

Clostridium Botulinum bacteria live in the soil. The vegetables that we harvest and preserve were either grown in the soil or rain water may have splashed dirt up onto them. It is not uncommon for green beans to have dirt on them; this dirt could contain botulism bacteria.

This bacterium grows well in low acid foods (high pH) and the absence of oxygen. These are just the conditions you will find inside a jar of home canned beans (or other low acid vegetables). The heat of canning from a boiling water bath canner is not hot enough to destroy the bacteria if they are present. The “if” is a big part of this equation. We often speak to people who have processed their beans in a boiling water bath canner for years and “nobody has died yet”. However, if the bacterium is present you will not be able to see, smell, or taste it. Likely your first indication of the contamination in your jar will be symptoms of the poisoning. Botulism toxin is a neurotoxin that may first cause gastrointestinal symptoms (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation). The neurological symptoms will appear in a very short time—blurred or double vision, difficulty in swallowing, breathing, speaking, dryness of the mouth, and paralysis of different involuntary muscles. Death usually results from respiratory failure.  It takes only a very small amount of the toxin to sicken or kill you.

Since the consequences of ingesting the toxin are very high (possible death), even though the frequency is low, it is important to process vegetables according to the directions in tested recipes. Remember that all of the vegetables that you grow in your garden are low acid and must be processed in a pressure canner.

Liz Meimann

Liz Meimann

I received both my undergraduate and graduate degrees in Food Science at Iowa State University. I love to quilt, sew, cook, and bake. I spent many years gardening, canning, and preserving food for my family when my children were at home.

More Posts - Website

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