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Cool off with a salad -- but keep it germ free

Westlake Regional Hospital sponsors heart-healthy news such as this from Kelli Bonifer, Adair County Extension Agent for Family and Consumer Sciences, who says, "be careful not to serve harmful germs with your summer salads"...

Salads taste good at any meal. Many salad ingredients are fresh and uncooked which means we need to be careful not to serve harmful germs with them.

It is easy to keep salads safe. Always wash your hands before you start to prepare a salad. For that matter, wash your hands before you prepare any food. Clean your hands by rubbing all hand surfaces with soap under running hot water. This includes between the fingers. Rinsethoroughly and dry with a fresh paper towel. Make sure utensils, equipment, bowls and all surfaces have been washed in hot soapy waterand then completely rinsed. Don't use the same cutting board to cut up raw meat, poultry or fish as you do to cut up your salad ingredientswithout washing the cutting board in hot soapy water after each use.

If you have the money, the easiest way to prevent spreading harmful germs is to buy two different looking cutting boards. Use one for raw meat, poultry and fish and the other for foods that require no further cooking.

Now that all surfaces that will touch the salad ingredients are clean, you can start to prepare the salad. Many people enjoy a green salad. Start with fresh greens -- only gathering the amount that you will use quickly. Greens don't stay fresh very long. Use them as soon aspossible. Handle all salad ingredients gently. Fruits and vegetables bruise easily. Bruised ingredients don't make a pretty salad. Thoroughlyrinse fresh fruits, vegetables, and greens under running water. As you put the salad together, work quickly. Ingredients can loose theircrispness if held at room temperature. For the best tasting and the healthiest salad, keep the salad in the refrigerator until ready to serve. If there are any leftovers, return them to the refrigerator quickly.

If the salad is out of the refrigerator longer than 2 hours or you are unsure of the length of time, throw it out. It is better to be safe than to serve a salad full of harmful germs.

Remember for the best looking, best tasting and safest salads follow these simple tips:

-- Start with fresh ingredients that are not bruised

-- Keep it clean -- wash hands, all utensils and surfaces with hot soapy water and rinse fresh fruits, vegetables and greens with running water

-- Keep it separate -- keep raw meat, poultry and fish and their juices away from ready to eat foods such as salads

-- Keep it cold -- keep salads out of the refrigerator for no more than a total of 2 hours

Enjoy this recipe: Sweet Slaw

3 cups shredded cabbage1 cup pineapple chunks1 cup diced apple1 cup mini-marshmallows1/2 cup celery1/2 cup mayonnaise

1. Wash hands and all surfaces.2. Combine all ingredients.3. Mix well.4. Refrigerate.

Makes 6 servings at 33 cents per servings. 110 calories; 4g fat; 5mg cholesterol; 2g fiber; 14g sugar per serving.

---Reach Kelli Bonifer at (270) 384-2317, or by e-mail:

Healthy Lifestyle advice is sponsored by Westlake Regional Hospital, an acute-care, JCAHO-accredited hospital serving Adair County since 1980. For more information, phone 270-384-4753 or visit the Westlake website by clicking on the IOP logo in the top right corner of this web site, or going to

This story was posted on 2003-08-15 11:44:05
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