What To Remember So You Don’t Get Burned In The Kitchen
Make your kitchen a safe haven with these tips.
Getting burned in the kitchen is a reality that most of us have already experienced. After all, cooking is all about fire! Accidents still happen no matter how cautious we may be.
For these unfortunate times, here are tips to keep in mind so you and your skin are safe from stoves, live fires, and other hot kitchen mishaps.
1 Be calm and alert!
No matter what happens, you need to stay calm and alert. You are the master of the kitchen, and not the other way around. You have this room in control! When you lose your cool, you're only more prone to make more mistakes. Don't cook while sleepy! If you're feeling even a bit sleepy, drink a cup of coffee first or do whatever activity is necessary that will wake you right up so you can focus on cooking.
2 Always have a kitchen towel with you.
If you have to take a pot off the heat or remove a rapidly baking cookie, don't fish out anything with your bare hands! A good, thick kitchen towel that can mold into almost any shape of pan, casserole, or whatever vessel will save you from a world of pain. Always have it hanging from your apron or near at hand. Keep in mind, though, that when taking out things from the oven, you might need thicker towels, rags, or oven mitts.
3 Always use two hands.
Filled pots and pans can be heavy, and there's always a tendency to underestimate how heavy it actually is, especially as you bring it from one surface to another. Be extra safe by always picking up heavy pots and pans, especially when they're filled with hot food, using both hands and your kitchen towel. This will help you avoid dropping your pot or pan midway and making a hot, injury-prone mess. Also make sure you have a potholder, rag, or mat waiting so it's underneath your hot vessel to avoid inadvertently scorching your countertop.
4 Hold the handle while you're cooking.
With a potholder or kitchen towel, have a firm hold of your pot's handle as you're stirring or sautéing. This will keep it stable and help you avoid spilling or getting unbalanced on the stove.
5 Get those handles out of the way.
Handles can get really hot especially with all-stainless-steel pans and cast-iron skillets. You can bump into its hot handle and burn yourself or worse, have it drop to the floor. To avoid this mishap, always have the handle sideways, tucked into the stove, especially when you're leaving the stove even for a while.
6 Avoid jittery movements.
When you're cooking for the first time, it's not unheard of to be scared. Remember though, that any jittery movement can make the hot oil or anything else that is in your pot or pan move and create a splash. So, in spite of your fears, keeping calm is your best attitude when it comes to cooking. This way, you can carry on, and do your best to have a steady hand.
7 Use salt, not water, to tame out-of-control flames.
If you ever find yourself with a flaming pot or pan, grab the salt, not the water. Salt is your best defense against a flame since it won't catch on fire and will actually neutralize the flame. Better yet, have a kitchen fire extinguisher in your kitchen as your best defense against a kitchen fire.
8 Keep the oven door shut.
Right after taking out your baked goods from the oven, the oven door will be quite hot. Unless directed in the recipe to keep it open, close it. You don't want anyone bumping into that and having an accident.
9 Don't leave your utensils in the pot.
Leaving your utensils in your cooking pot will heat it up. Instead, have a plate or bowl on standby so you can put down your dirty utensils in between stirring breaks.
10 Use a timer.
If you're leaving your pot to simmer, braise, or any other long cooking process, use a timer! Set the time so you don't accidentally forget about it and wind up with burnt food.
11 Turn off the heat and let it cool.
After using the stove or oven, it will still retain much of its heat. Don't touch it! Don't clean it! Let it cool first.
If you take precautions and a fire-related accident still happens, here's what to do in each of these situations:
1 If a fire breaks out...
Be ready with a kitchen fire extinguisher which will work in any fiery situation. Also, remember that water will only make a grease-fire or electric fire worse so reach for the salt instead. If the fire is bigger than you can handle, leave the kitchen immediately and call the fire department.
2 If you get burned...
Immediately place your burned skin under cold running water. Then, be ready with the first-aid kit that should be near or in your kitchen. Your first-aid kit should contain burn cream. If you burn your face, the burn is more than just skin deep, or the burn covers more than a bandage can cover, you may need to go to the hospital for treatment. Anything superficial is easily remedied with the burn cream. If you need to keep cooking, have ice water nearby or a pack of frozen vegetables which you can place on the burn to help alleviate the burning sensation.
These pointers may seem like a lot, but these are all very practical tips that you should quickly memorize and learn by heart. Don't worry about it too much though! As long as you maintain your composure through any accident you may be involved in, keep on cooking because the best teacher, after all, is experience.
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