Food Safety

grape tomatoes offered to you

I am not a food safety expert. I’m not a chef, or a commercial cook of any kind. My advice on food safety is offered as just that, advice, and does not replace the use of good judgment.

From time to time I may offer you tips on food safety and frugality. For instance, if you find some mold on your applesauce in the fridge, you can scoop it out and boil that applesauce and kill whatever was growing in it and put it back in the fridge in a clean container. Not necessarily an appetizing thought, but possibly a better option for you both economically and nutritionally than throwing out the applesauce and eating a 99 cent burger instead.

However, you still have to use your common sense. Food is something you put inside your body and it can make you very sick or kill you. If you eat bad food, you may spend a day throwing up and having diarrhea; you may end up in the hospital, dehydrated from vomiting and diarrhea for several days on end; or you may die. Botulism, which loves to grow in contaminated canned food, for instance, is a poison that can kill you.

If you have only a hot plate to cook on, or no source of heat, I will be posting about things that don’t need to be cooked. A lot of foods don’t need cooking. Some foods are very occasionally dangerous. In those cases (such as eggs or beef), the USDA may recommend that the food is very thoroughly cooked to kill any chance of bacteria or harmful things in that food, but chances are if you eat it, you’ll be fine. Those chances are very strongly influenced by the quality of the food in the first place. A steak in an expensive steakhouse has likely been properly stored, handled, and prepared. A frozen burger in a burger shack might be slightly less likely to have been properly stored, handled, and prepared. If you are a freegan or eating from dumpster-diving, you are taking chances with food safety and presumably you know it. You probably don’t really need me to tell you that eating pizza you found in a box outside can easily lead to serious illness. If you do, I’m telling you. Don’t eat food, especially dairy or meat, that you can’t be sure has been properly stored, handled, or served, certainly not without heating to 165 degrees Fahrenheit, or probably not at all.

(Salmonella is killed at 160 degrees; leftovers should be heated to 165 to be safe.)

I am aiming this resource at people who have electricity, but I can’t assume that all my readers will have refrigeration. You know what your resources are. Be safe before being sorry. I will indicate wherever possible when refrigeration is avoidable, and I will be posting many recipes that will hopefully require as little energy and space as possible. But again, I am not a food safety expert, and you are the one who is putting the food in your mouth. You don’t want to be hungry but you don’t want to be dead either. Use good sense, be careful with eggs and poultry and dairy, and don’t be so cheap that you make yourself sick. Those are good rules to live by for anyone.