Getting fired up over the start of grilling season

May is the unofficial start of grilling season, so get the grill cleaned off and pull out that bib or apron because it is about to get messy. Grilling is beloved part of the summer. Some of the benefits of grilling include health, convenience, gets us outdoors, takes the formality out of entertaining, and of course the taste!

There are food safety steps to follow no matter what you are cooking.

Clean: Always start with clean hands, and re-wash your hands anytime you have touched raw meat to prevent the spread of foodborne illness bacteria. Always wash fruits and vegetables before preparing. However, you should never wash or rinse meat because this can increase your risk of spreading bacteria. If you have to rinse a brine or marinade, be sure to thoroughly clean and sanitize all surfaces, including the inner sink and counters.

Separate: Keep raw foods separate from cooked foods. As soon as you put raw items on the grill, get a clean plate or serving dish ready for when the items are done. Be aware of the utensils used to place the raw meats onto the grill surface and those you are using to pull off the grill.

Cook: Grilling uses direct high heat to cook items and is what creates those beautiful grill marks that everyone loves to see. This high heat can make the food look done, so use a thermometer to check internal temperature to make sure the food is cooked entirely through.

Steaks, roasts, and chops: 145 F, with a 3-minute rest time

Whole poultry: 165 F

Fish: 145 F

Keep in mind that marinating is a great way to infuse both flavor and moisture, but never use leftover marinade that has been used for raw meat on your vegetables.

We know the healthy choice is not always the easiest choice, but small changes can make a big difference. Chautauqua County Office for Aging Services Dietitian, Carey Skelton RDN is available for nutrition education through SNAP-ed programs. The SNAP-ed programs are FREE for those who receive or qualify for SNAP benefits. We want to help you save time, save money, and eat healthy! Chautauqua County Office for Aging Services Senior Nutrition Program also provides nutritious meals through Home Delivered Meals and the Dining Out Program throughout the county. We also sponsor several exercise programs. Please remember to contribute toward your OFAS nutrition services if you can. These programs are not sustainable without the support of participant and community contributions. Be aware that SNAP benefits can be used toward your contribution. Call NY Connects at 716-453-4582 for more details and information about any of these Nutrition and Wellness programs provided by Chautauqua County Office for Aging Services.


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