Risks of Cooking – Common Foods that Catch Fire
If you have ever been cooking and came face to face with a gas stove fire, then you know how horrifying that can be. A kitchen fire can be caused by some things, including the very foods we are trying to prepare.
From spices, to grease popping out of the pan, to simply munching on your favorite snacks while cooking, knowing which foods can catch fire key to preventing a kitchen fire.
Understanding that some of the common foods we eat on a daily basis can cause a kitchen fire is key to protecting you and your family from an unwanted disaster.
Sure, there are some common sense foods that everyone is aware of, such as overcooking bacon, grease fires due to hamburger grease popping out of the skillet, and even drip fires in the oven caused by baking something in too small of a container, creating a fire hazard.
But what about those other common foods that we may not be aware of when cooking? How about everyday household items that are extremely flammable that we may have sitting a bit too close to the kitchen stove top during meal preparation?
We wanted to investigate the most common foods that catch fire and provide our readers with the information they need to protect themselves from the risks of cooking.
While this is not a complete list of all foods and ingredients, it does give you some insight into common household items that may put your home at risk.
Common Flammable Spices
Believe it or not, most dry spices are extremely flammable. Not because of their components, but because of the increased surface area, and dried properties that lend to spontaneous combustion and burning on all sides, making a pinch of pepper a bit spicier than one would think.
When cooking with spices, it is recommended that you combine all your ingredients into your dish before actually placing the food on the fire. This will prevent one from accidentally sprinkling the spice onto the flame, causing a fire.
• Dried Oregano
• Cayenne Pepper
Common Flammable Fruits
Did you know that if you squirt orange juice on a flame, it will ignite? Yep, that’s right, the orange is a catalyst that can spark a fire. Orange juice is not the only part of the fruit that is flammable; the peel is also quite oily making it perfect for a fire starter.
Oranges have oil on their outer skin, causing it to be quite dangerous in the kitchen.
• Orange Peels
Common Flammable Meats/Grease
This category would seem to be a no-brainer, but worth mentioning. All foods/meats that expel any amount of grease is at risk of catching fire. Have you ever been cooking a hamburger, only to come back to grill to find the entire thing is on fire?
What about frying up some pork chops, or making your world famous fried chicken? A stove top fire can be caused by the meat directly, or the grease that is cooked out during the preparation stages. Either way, keeping a close eye on the level of heat and amount of oil accumulating in your pan is key to preventing a fire.
• Hamburger Meat
• Pork Chops
• Fried Chicken
Common Flammable Cooking Ingredients
If you have ever tried to cook up your own 5-star restaurant cuisine, then chances are you’ve thought about lighting that alcohol based sauce and putting on a show. While the main category of cooking ingredients, in fact, does include alcohol, there are other factors when it comes to keeping your kitchen stove top safe.
If you are cooking with flour, keep that plate of batter far away from the stove. Flour is extremely flammable. Sugar can also spark a flame causing one to unexpectedly be facing a firestorm instead of a sweet treat.
• Alcohol Based Sauces
• High Sugar Content Foods
Common Flammable Household items
Need a non-conventional fire starter at the campground? Why not try Doritos? That’s right, a handful of Doritos is so flammable its’ recommend by Life Hacker as a viable fire starter. While one tends to not consider tossing Doritos onto the stove top, one should be careful while having a snack and cooking.
There are tons of flammables in your home, but here are a few that might make it closer to your kitchen stove than others:
• Non-Dairy Creamer
• Graham Crackers
• Hand Sanitizer
Basic Fire Safety Tips when Cooking
Its important to realize that a fire can start while cooking regardless of your stove type. Gas stove tops and electric stove tops are equally at risk for a fire. While gas stove tops offer a bit more risk, it’s always recommended to follow basic fire safety tips when cooking. Preventing a stove top fire is all about knowledge, preparation, and common sense.
Always remain in the kitchen when you are cooking, paying close attention to foods that require frying, grilling or broiling. If you do have to leave the kitchen, even for a moment, it is recommended to turn off the stove.
Also being in the kitchen at all times, it’s important that you check on your food regularly, even if it’s just boiling noodles for pasta night. Avoid wearing loose clothing that can catch fire, keep flammables away from the stove top, and maintain a clean kitchen to reduce the risk of grease and stubborn buildup that could cause a kitchen fire.
Cooking is a way of life and a necessity, but it doesn’t have to be a hazard. By understanding your cooking ingredients, following proper heating instructions, and keeping a close eye on your stove while preparing your meals, one can significantly reduce the risk of common foods catching on fire.
So next time you are planning an exotic meal for your family, take some time to research your ingredients to know which spices to leave on the shelf, instead of placing a spice bomb next to your favorite dish.