Preserving vegetables in oil
When preserving vegetables and herbs in oil it’s important to get the recipe right to prevent the growth of dangerous bacteria such as Clostridium botulinum which causes botulism.
What to do
Vegetables and any fresh herbs should be soaked in vinegar overnight with a ratio of 300 grams of vegetables and herbs to 100 millilitres of vinegar. This ratio should provide a sufficient level of acidity to control botulism.
Drain the liquid, then add oil. Jars are best stored in the fridge to minimise the risk of spoilage.
Dried vegetables, herbs and spices can be safely added to oil without soaking in vinegar, and then stored at room temperature.
If you fancy trying to make fermented food like kefir, kimchi, kombucha or homemade yoghurt, remember you must take care to avoid food poisoning.
What to do
Follow good hygiene practices and use clean containers to avoid food poisoning and stop food-spoiling bacteria growing during fermentation.
A commercial starter culture is recommended, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions including fermenting at the recommended temperature. Use a new starter culture for each batch and don’t be tempted to ‘backwash’ a starter culture from an existing batch to make a new one as you could transfer undesirable micro-organisms.
Only use pasteurised milk for fermented dairy foods and never try to make your own fermented meats at home as this is far too risky.
And lastly, keep it clean
Transferring germs from dirty surfaces to food.
What to do
Before you start any food preparation wipe down kitchen surfaces using detergent and warm water to remove surface dirt. Then, if necessary, sanitise the surface with a household disinfectant or diluted bleach. Always follow the instructions on the product label about how it should be used, including how much it should be diluted, what types of surfaces it can be used on, and whether it needs to be left on the surface for a certain amount of time.
Don’t mix different types of cleaning product as they may create fumes that can make you ill. Keep all cleaning products and hand sanitisers out of reach of children. After cleaning surfaces wash your hands with soap for 20 seconds and dry them thoroughly.