Food Tips: Five common kitchen hazards to avoid

By Scripps Howard News Service Published:

Here are a few tips to help you safely navigate your way through common kitchen blunders:

1. Splitting Bagels Can Be Dangerous to Your Hand

Bagel-related injuries ranked No. 5 in a 2008 government study on finger cuts. Put an end to the pain by splitting a bagel the safe way: Lay it flat on a work surface while pressing down with one hand to keep it steady with fingers splayed upward and out of harm's reach. Hold a sharp serrated bread knife in your other hand and slice the bagel horizontally, keeping the knife parallel to the work surface.

2. Forgotten Kitchen Spills are a Hazard

Who hasn't dealt with a pot boiling over while a hot cooking liquid is sloshing out of the casserole that is being removed from the oven? Keep a stack of dishrags nearby and toss one over the danger zone for a visual reminder. Clean it up once order's been restored.

3. Washing Dishes Can Result in Nicks

Store sharp objects, like kitchen shears, steak knives and metal skewers, with the offending ends pointing downward in dishwasher utensil bins and on the countertop until they're ready to be washed.

4. Unstable Cutting Boards are Asking for Mistaken Cuts

Some kitchen surfaces don't play nice with cutting boards set on top, resulting in a board that wobbles or slides around -- never a good idea when working with a knife. Anchor your board to your counter with a damp paper towel or dishrag to keep things steady.

5. Skin Contact With Chile Peppers Can Cause Discomfort

Chopping and handling peppers can result in their natural oils burning your fingers and anything else they come in contact with. (Woe is the person who rubs his or her eyes using unprotected hands!) Wear rubber gloves when working with hot peppers, or, in a pinch, coat your hands with vegetable oil before carefully chopping away.

Courtesy Teri Tsang Barrett on foodnetwork.com

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