How to keep food Safe and Hygenic, Natural ways to keep food safe, Use of Parchment Paper, Use of Food Wrapping Paper, Leaves are natural wrapper, Use of Banana Leaf, How safe is use of Leaves for wrapping and Cooking Food.
Some ten to fifteen years earlier you would find food being served in pattals and dona, which is nothing but plates and bowls made with sal or banyan leaves. This was how any public function would be solemnized, be it a wedding, festivity at a temple or even a roadside hawker. There was little littering and there was no problem of non-biodegradable waste as everything would become part of the earth.
Use of Leaves for Serving and Wrapping Food
In many cultures of the world food is cooked and served on a leaf. Sometimes the leaf is to be devoured with the dish and sometimes not. Why go far, in Southern India dosa is traditionally served on a banana leaf which is hygienic, flexible and waterproof way of serving your food. This banana leaf is also used in cooking. The food is wrapped with banana leaf and steamed to perfection. The leaf imparts a subtle sweet flavour to the dish, lends an overwhelming aroma and acts as a platter for serving. Not just south India, the culture of using banana leaf is widely popular in many other Southeast Asian countries like Thailand, China Vietnam.
Different Cultures use Leaves for Cooking, Wrapping and Serving Food: Tamales from Mexico
In Mexico, their popular breakfast Tamales are steamed and cooked wrapped in a corn cob leaf and served in the same leafy wrapper. Similarly, in many countries bamboo barks are used as natural eco friendly packaging material. The list is endless. However, over years the culture of using leaves as food wrapping and packaging material has been replaced by clay, ceramic, metal and now plastic. This advent has been, not only a disaster for environment but has also exposed our food to a number of hazards. The plastic reacts with our food and makes it toxic. Also, the plastic doesn’t biodegrade itself. When it breaks it readily soaks up and releases toxins that then contaminate soil and water.
Plastic is unsafe for food and is a Bio Hazard
It’s understandable, the world is moving at a fast pace where everything is portable and in a hurry. Fast food chains are mushrooming up with junk food and adopting unsafe ways of cooking and serving them. On the other hand, finding such leaves appropriate for wrapping and cooking food can be quite a task. They may not be readily available or may be too expensive. So the pertinent question arises what are the other safer available food wrapping material, which do not cause havoc to environment, are safe to use and sound on your pocket?
- Of Course nothing replaces the good old Banana Leaf. As discussed earlier they are convenient, safe and natural product used both for cooking and serving.
- Traditional cotton towels can be used to wrap lunches. However, care has to be taken to wash them after every single usage. Otherwise, they themself can be storehouse of germs and highly unsafe for the food you wrap in it. You can cook your food wrapped in parchment paper or en papillote (Read More https://www.uniwraps.com/blog/cooking-in-parchment-paper-or-en-papillote)
- Use of good quality Food wrapping Paper is a safer way of wrapping food for storage, for take aways and hygienic lunch boxes.
- Parchment Paper is another multi purpose and safer option. It can be used for baking, wrapping and even lining confections.
- Airtight containers are another option, but they have their own limitation. They are to be washed after every usage. They are not very compact and not that light weight and of course they can be messy as the food can spill inside the container.
Different things we can use to wrap and serve food
If there are other viable options do write them in the comments below. The intent is to make food safe for us and our family and at the same time be concerned about our environment. Remember to leave the world clean for our future generations and not a pile of non biodegradable toxic waste. Stick to natural ways of cooking,storing and wrapping food and if adjustments have to be made they should be food safe and environment friendly.
4 Things about food safety, you may not have known
Safety First, Safety is Paramount, Food Safety and Hygiene, Safe Food Practices, Ignorance of Safe Food Habits, food safety is just like a car’s seatbelt
As a teenager I used to drive my car like a retard and was often injured in small accidents. I am not proud of it but I blame it on the hormones. Today when I have taken the role of a mother and I look back, I feel what a fool I was. I knew I would be endangering my life and still for the adrenaline rush I would indulge in such morbid acts. This happens with all of us. It’s a human nature that we know the consequences of a certain act but would still indulge in it. It can be purely ignorance, laziness or even a self created illusion that nothing would happen to us. For Example the other day I was watching a documentary on earthquakes. A very pertinent point was raised that a good percentage of people do not find safe shelter when the earth shivers, believing it shall pass and nothing would happen to them. Unfortunately, many a times the fury of nature can take a toll on us. The point I am trying to make here is that we are not safe in this world, The dangers can range from terrorist activities, to acts of God, to road rage, to occupational hazards and even food related hazards. There are many of these where we have little or no control but certainly there are many things which we can tame and bring them under our command such as Food Safety.
Isnt it funny how we know the perils of not putting the seat belt and we also know how keeping the food on room temperature can make it go bad and lead to food poisoning. We are often careless and compromise our safety. Of course you may not get sick by eating unhygienic street food every single time but then there is always a chance. It can be compared to jumping a red light. You may not get caught every time but then when you do, you have to pay a hefty amount. If one follows simple healthy food practices you can mitigate a lot of risk and live your life with ease and care. Some of these practices are:
Clean: Hands are a storehouse of germs which need constant scrubbing. Hands must be effectively washed with soap and at least for 15-20 seconds. Care must be taken to rub the soap between fingers, behind the hand and near the wrist area. Kids must be taught at school and home to wash hands before coming in contact with food, eating and after toilet. Use of hand sanitizers should also encouraged.
Separate Raw Food from Cooked Food: Cross contamination is a big hazard and leads to food poisoning if care not taken. One must be careful that raw meat and raw vegetables should be kept separate from cooked food. Food such as Meats and Poultry need special care and temperature to be stored. You can wrap your meat and poultry in food wrapping paper which keeps it from getting in contact with other food and also maintains its freshness.
Cook: Undercooked cooked especially meat and poultry can pose a serious danger to your life. Even reheating the food should considerably bring up the temperature of dish which makes it free from germ contamination,
Storage: Storing food at right temperatures is a major issue tackled by households and restaurants. meat Poultry and cooked food starts getting bad at room temperature. Therefore, they should be kept at temperatures between 4 degree to 60 degree Celsius.
If we abide by these basic rules we can ensure that our health will be safe. Food is the basic essential thing for subsistence and if that is contaminated we will fall prey to many diseases.Let’s make our lives disease free by adopting healthy practices and develop a culture of consciousness.