Along with summer, the wonderful smell of barbecue hangs in the air. Unfortunately, sultry temperatures are ideal conditions for bacteria to multiply at a lightning speed. How do you prevent the row for the brochette from turning into a row for the toilet? These tips from the Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (FAVV) will help you.
Summer is the time of the year to enjoy the sun, each other's company and a delicious barbecue with friends and family. Marinated ribs, grilled sardines or stuffed portobello mushrooms — is your mouth watering already?
Unfortunately, we humans are not the only ones who like those conditions. In hot weather, bacteria and other microorganisms can multiply to a million in seconds. Especially when food is under preparation. How can you avoid possible contamination with salmonella, campylobacter or other evils? let's figure it out.
It all starts with the groceries in the store. In addition to one or more regular reusable bags, also bring cool bags to safely store products.
Preferably use separate bags for fruit and vegetables on one hand and fish and meat on the other to avoid possible cross-contamination. If possible, even try to pack fish, meat, and poultry into separate bags. Always buy meat and fish at the end of your shopping trip. Just before you visit the frozen section.
Go straight home after your shopping trip. Especially in the summer a car trunk or a bicycle bag can get very warm. When you get home from the store, immediately put everything in the fridge. Store everything smartly so that enough air can circulate.
Also know that the temperature is not the same everywhere in the refrigerator. Place fresh meat and fish in the coldest zones and the rest in less colder ones. The plan below can be a guideline, although this can of course differ from refrigerator to refrigerator.
Are you going to use frozen products? Then let them thaw in the fridge or microwave. If you use a microwave, then you should use the thawed product immediately. Do not keep anything out of the refrigerator for more than two hours. And make sure that your refrigerator is set correctly — fresh food should be stored at a temperature between 4 and 7 degrees Celsius.
Using a cool box next to the barbecue can also be a good idea to keep meat, fish or vegetarian alternatives cool for as long as possible. And it prevents dozens of trips back and forth from the fridge to the grill. Always put the food in a cool box at the bottom and the cooling elements on top. Close the cool box as soon as possible after opening.
Before you really roll up your sleeves, wash your hands well. Also, thoroughly clean the surfaces you will be using. Do not cook raw meat and fish together with other foods. To avoid cross-contamination, use a different cutting board and knife or wash it carefully before using it again.
Whoever says barbecue means side dishes in addition to meat, fish or vegetarian alternatives: a fresh salad, jacket potatoes or some cooked pasta. Especially if you expect a lot of people, it is practical to prepare those side dishes in advance. Keep everything cool as long as possible. This applies not only to side dishes, but also to sauces and marinades.
The golden rule in baking is to keep raw and baked food as far apart as possible. This way you prevent cross-contamination, because raw products are always contaminated with bacteria. Also keep those raw products away from other food that are ready to be served such as bread, sauces or vegetables.
Minced meat, roulades and chicken must be well cooked. Other meats should be heated to at least 60 degrees Celsius. Not sure about the temperature? There are special thermometers to check the temperature of meat. Appearances can be deceiving — seared meat isn't necessarily cooked inside.
Do you bake on charcoal? Then wait with firing until the charcoal is red hot and covered with a thin white ash layer. Do not keep your meat, fish or vegetarian alternative too close to the heat source during baking. Watch out for flames. And try to prevent grease from falling on the coals. Place the grill at least 10 centimeters above the heat source.
When the meat, fish or vegetarian alternative is fried, it's time to feast. Try to serve food warm. Do not immediately put all cold side dishes on the table. Especially when it's really hot, it's better to supplement those side dishes than to take the entire stock from the fridge. This also keeps the vegetables and sauces fresh for much longer.
Time For Dessert
The higher the mercury rises, the more tempting it is to end the barbecue with a fresh ice cream. Ice cream is quite sensitive to bacteria. Especially if you made it yourself. Therefore, only remove the ice cream from the freezer just before serving and put the box back immediately after scooping it out.
Ice cream is best placed in the place of the freezer where the temperature is lowest and most stable, i.e. as close to -18 degrees Celsius as possible. Also, don't forget to clean the ice cream scoop regularly between scoops.
It can be wonderful to enjoy a day after the barbecue with all kinds of leftovers. But be careful. If something has been on the table for two hours or more, it's better to throw it away. Otherwise, keep the leftovers in the fridge in a clean, sealed storage box.
How long can you keep BBQ leftovers? Prepared vegetables can be refrigerated for up to three or four days. Prepared fish and meats if kept well in a sealed box, for two to three days. Make sure that the food has cooled sufficiently before you put it in the fridge.
© 2022 Hamza Hussaini