When you’re cooking, it’s natural to want to keep things clean and tidy in your kitchen — after all, 48 million people get sick from foodborne illness each year. While you should continue to keep your utensils and cutting surfaces super clean, sometimes the actual food your prepping should be left alone. If you think you’re beating bacteria by washing these 6 food items, thing again. Save yourself the time and trouble:
Mushrooms act like little sponges and actually change texture and taste when they come in contact with water for too long. While this doesn’t mean they’re dangerous, mushrooms are extremely absorbent and can become soggy and rubbery if they’re soaked for too long. Instead, use a damp paper towel to clean them.
You might have considered washing your eggs before cracking them open into that omelet — after all, eggs come out of you know where. But if you live in the United State, you don’t have to worry. Standards are pretty high in the US, and all eggs sold commercially are already cleaned with soap and hot water. This removes the natural ‘bloom’ or protective coating on the outside of the egg, but in return, the USDA says they replace it with a light coating of mineral oil.
You should still, of course, always make sure to fully cook your egg to prevent salmonella or other bacteria inside the shell from giving you food poisoning.
Pre-washed salad mixes
If you always rinse your prepackaged produce, pay attention next time. Some packages note that the contents — most often salad mixes or leafy greens — have already been pre-washed or triple-washed, so there’s no reason to wash it again. And actually the chances of the contents becoming cross-contaminated with bacteria during the process of you rewashing it, outweigh any benefit you may think it gains. So go ahead and save yourself sometime and toss those ingredients right into your salad, smoothie or casserole, and enjoy.
Pasta won’t make you sick, but there’s another reason why you should never rinse it off. Many people run their pasta under water after cooking it, but this only rinses off the starches that help make the sauces stick. However, to get the right consistency, grains like quinoa and rice should always been rinsed.
POULTRY AND FISH
Bacteria can spread up to two feet around your kitchen when you rinse your raw poultry, according to the USDA. This means nearby kitchen towels, countertops, soap dispensers, and appliances can all quickly become contaminated leaving you open to illness. The only way to get rid of unwanted bacteria is to thoroughly cook the meat at about 325ºF, until all areas of the meat reach at least 165ºF.
Red meat is just as dangerous as washing chicken and poultry, in terms of spreading disease causing bacteria, but you’re actually altering red meat by adding moisture when you do this as well. The extra moisture will create steam when cooked which will affect the taste.