PREPARATION AND STORAGE OF FOODS
PREPARATION OF FOODS: Some does and don’ts that should be followed have already been mentioned for using the different cooking methods. In addition certain measures and hints have been given in the following points which will ensure hygiene in the kitchen and retention of nutrients in the food. These are
- Always wash hands with soap before touching any food especially after using the toilet.
- Tie your hair in a tight plait or bun so that hair does not fall into the food.
- Keep the dust bin well covered and clean. See that no litter falls on or around the dust bin.
- Do not handle food if you are suffering from an infectious disease.
- Coughs and sneezes should be covered with disposable tissue.
- Always wash vegetables before cutting them. NIN has recently developed two solutions for washing vegetables and fruits to remove adherent pesticides which are hazardous if consumed over a long period of time. This shows how important it is to wash the vegetables and fruits thoroughly before consuming.
- Do not cut vegetables and fruits into very small pieces but them into big pieces.
- Always wash leafy vegetables in a weak solution of potassium permanganate.
- Do not sieve cereal flours since it removes bran, an important constituent of the diet contributing soft fiber and some vitamins and minerals.
- Cook root vegetables like potatoes, beetroots with their jackets or skins on. This helps to minimize loss of nutrients into the cooking water.
- Use minimum amount of water while cooking vegetables, dals and rice and cook them with minimum exposure to air.
- Utilize the cooking liquid or water either in soups, gravies or curries instead of throwing it down the drain.
- Reduce cooking time to the minimum.
- Make use of knoll-knoll greens, cauliflower greens, radish tops, onion tops, etc. in preparation. They are often through away due to ignorance of their nutritive value.
- Include germinated legumes as often as possible.
- Avoid using soda-bi-carb in cooking of pulses, legumes and vegetables.
- Use of substances like tamarind, cocum, vinegar and lime in food preparations has a preservative effect on vitamins.
- Try to consume food immediately after cooking. Avoid reheating the food too often.
- Distribute your meals as evenly as possible throughout the day, avoiding large meals at one time.
- Include a combination of foods from the various food groups.
- Include at least one serving of raw vegetables in the form salads, raitas and chutneys.
- Make use of leafy vegetables or yellow and orange vegetables at least once in a day.
- Do not use the oil in which foods have been deep fried, more than twice.
STORAGE OF FOODS: proper storage of food not only prevents wastage but also ensures hygiene and safety from food poisoning.
If foods are kept for a very long time under poor storage conditions they often spoil. Some types of food spoilage may harm our health while others may not, but eating a food which is of doubtful quality after storage invites trouble since it is very difficult to distinguish between a food which will cause food-poisoning and one which will not.
For this reason proper storage of fresh and perishable foods is important. These must be used soon after purchase. If storage of food items is necessary then they may be maintained under proper temperature and humidity conditions and used as soon as possible. Under optimum storage conditions there is loss in the freshness and nutritive value of the food.
It is necessary, therefore, to make the optimal use of our best storage device at home, the refrigerator. The refrigerator has four compartments—the freezer, the chiler tray, the shelves and the crisper. The crisper has the highest temperature in the refrigerator. The freezer and the chiler tray have the coldest temperature in the refrigerator. Among the shelves, the top shelp has lower temperature than the shelves below. When air circulates in the refrigerator, the cooler air moves downward and forces the warmer air to move upwards. The door area usually has a temperature several degrees higher than the rest of the refrigerator. It is necessary to defrost the fridge at regular intervals so that the efficiency of the fridge is not affected. Also it is necessary to see that the door of the fridge is not opened frequently or kept open for longer periods since it raises the temperature of the fridge. Also, the fridge should not be overcrowded. This will ensure good air circulation. Foods can be stored in the different parts of the refrigerator.