Recently I asked the question of what some of my missionary women friends would teach a visiting missionary on their survey trip. A few mentioned food safety (sterilizing and safely preparing food). I thought it would be interesting to see the different precautions and preparations we all do to keep our family safe and healthy. So here was the question:
What do you do to prepare/clean meats, veggies, and fruits? Be detailed in your methods. Please also let us know where your are serving... I would love to see how much of a difference that makes.
- Eggs- usually we just wash them well and cook thoroughly, but because we are under bird flu precautions, we now bleach the eggs while nothing is on the counter. This prevents the possibility of cross-contamination during cooking. 1 tsp bleach per gallon of water, 15 minutes. -Southern Asia
- Fruit- If it is peeled, no problem! If the peel is to be consumed, we bleach (1 tsp per gallon of water) then rinse with filtered water. -Southern Asia
- I use apple cider vinegar to clean my fruits and vegetables - Guatemala.
- We soak our fruits and vegetables in water with just a tiny pinch of potassium permanganate. We wash our eggs with just water. We are able to buy our meats from supermarkets that clean and refrigerate. - Uganda
- Fresh milk (not store-bought) must be boiled for a couple of minutes because of tuberculosis. (Romania)
- All fruits and vegetables either get a Microdyn or bleach soak in purified water. If the eggs look like they just came fresh from the farm, I'll wash them in dishwater.-Mexico
- Fresh Milk- we had to find a source that we knew wasn't allowing their cow to eat trash and dirty used diapers (no joke!). We also had to make sure the milk would not be watered down. We boil 3 to 5 minutes. -Southern Asia
- In Mexico we used either bleach (1 glub)* or silver nitrate (microdyn) (10 drops) in water as mentioned above, on anything that was not going to be cooked, even on fruits/veggies you peel. Reason? The knife would cross-contaminate. *a glub is probably about 1T.
- Veggies- All get cleaned no matter how they are to be prepared. Peeled? No problem. If they will be cooked well at least 10 minutes, no problem. If they will be fresh or only lightly cooked, we do a bleach soak. For light leafy veggies (cilantro, etc) 1 tsp bleach per gallon water for 5 minutes. For veggies with a thicker skin, 15 minutes. Rinse with filtered water. -Southern Asia
- We use Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) drops in water to disinfect our fruits and veggies. It takes 20-30 drops in a sink-full of water, a little less for a large bowl. It only needs a few minutes to work.
- We do not boil our fresh milk. But we know the farmers well, and they keep their equipment clean. We carefully wash eggs using water with a little bleach.
- I don't do anything different here than I do in the states. Fruits and vegetables are rinsed off before being consumed. I buy mine in the store. And even when we were here before, I trusted the meat I bought in the рынок (bazaar) better than what I bought in the store. The one where we shopped the meat was indoors in air conditioned building with stainless steel counters that were constantly being bleached. I don't buy raw milk as they aren't allowed to sell it anymore for the reasons that you all boil it. I realize some of you are in countries where all these precautions are necessary, and maybe I should be more cautious. The only time I thoroughly wash my eggs is when I make egg nog. No one in my family has gotten sick yet. (Former Soviet Union)
- I use veggie wash or vinegar water on my fruits and some veggies. That's about it.
- I am in Australia, and I don't do much differently. I have learned how to cook with kangaroo and buffalo, but other than that, it's all the same. Just clean the fruits and veggies before we eat them.
- Our fruits and vegetables are purchased in the market. Since we don't know what they may have come in contact with, we soak them in bleach water (1 tsp. per gallon of water) and then rinse them with filtered water. I rinse the eggs off just before using them; we get them from a chicken farmer in our neighborhood. We use powdered milk. - Ghana
- We are in Spain and don't have to do anything but rinse veggies and fruits. Our milk is UHT processed, although I think you can get it all ways still, including raw.
- We wash our eggs- they are often crawling w/ baby roaches-and also clean our fruits/ veg with potassium permanganate. (If I understand correctly, bleach, vinegar and citrus do not kill giardia.) You can use a sink or large bowlful of water, dissolve a tiny piece of the p.p. to make light purple water. Soak produce for ten-15 minutes. We wash the produce in clean water and dry it after the soak.
- We wash and grind our own hamburger meat-even the good shops do not clean the grinders after grinding dirty meat w/ remnants of innards in it. We got tired of stinky meat.
Flour gets sifted and put into containers in the freezer. We make muffin, bread, and cookie mixes ahead and store them in baggies in the freezer.
Store pasta in the freezer, too- keeps the bugs out- or in, actually. Haha! The eggs don't hatch if you freeze them.
Milk gets strained and pasteurized when it comes fresh- otherwise, we use UHT milk in boxes.
Sour cream- use canned cream and clabber with vinegar or lemon juice.
- Soak ALL fruit and veggies in bleach solution or permanganate (purple crystals that dissolve in pure water) 5-15 minutes. Rinse well with pure water. In the US, I even wash melons with detergent and rinse well since I have read that ecoli can be on the outer shell. If you cut thru with same knife that you slice the whole melon-- contaminated. We avoid leaf lettuce overseas-- very hard to disinfect. Use cucumber slices for crispy in sandwich.
- I don't measure the vinegar, but would guess 1/4 c. for a large bowl, a splash for a small? I know some people just use white vinegar.
- We use vinegar water to rinse fruits/ veggies and clean dishes, too, in Indonesia. We only buy meat at the grocery store, not the market. We also typically buy eggs in the carton, but when we buy them by the bag, we always wash them. We avoid leaf lettuce, too, but we can buy bagged organic lettuce from Australia when we absolutely have to have lettuce.
Thank you, ladies! Your treasure of experience and knowledge helps so much. It is clear to see, certain fields require a little more effort, but they all take research and diligence to keep us healthy. It looks like each one of you have put diligent thought into keeping your family (and/or yourself) safe and well fed in your country of service. Thank you for all you do, and thank you for passing on your experience to others.
In Christ (and He in me,)
Charity -- Southern Asia