10 Foods You Should and Shouldn't Wash Before Cooking
Foods that you should never wash before cooking and foods that you should always wash before cooking. Food poisoning can be prevent by knowing which foods to always wash and which foods to never wash.
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1) Never Wash – Chicken: Believe it or not, many people think that rinsing off their chicken before cooking to remove any present bacteria is a good thing, but this process is actually very wrong. Any water that drips off the chicken onto the floor, or the counter, or your hands, or anywhere for that matter will add pollutants wherever they go. Many people don't know it, but washing raw chicken before you actually start cooking it can significantly increase your risk of food poisoning. This food poisoning can be caused by campylobacter bacteria.
2) Never Wash – Eggs: Eggs contain their own protective layer that isolates any bacteria away from the inside of the egg. Think of it as nature’s very own Tupperware. Washing your eggs will actually remove the protective layer on the outside, risk your eggs of going bad faster, and you risk contamination. Many farmers actually put the eggs through their own cleaning process before sending them out into supermarkets, so by washing them again, you’re interrupting this process.
3) Never Wash – Fish: Much like chicken, washing raw fish will not eliminate the bacteria, it will only spread it to other surfaces. A wet, dripping raw slice of fish added to your cutting board will ensure that you ruin your cutting board as well by introducing bacteria into the cracks. This will also rob your fish of its ability to hold flavor. Cooking your fish to the appropriate temperature will ensure that any bacteria is killed off.
4) Never Wash - Pasta. Cooking experts and chefs state that washing pasta before cooking it is never a good idea. The reason for this is because when you wash pasta, the water removes the starch that absorbs pasta sauce. The starch on pasta keeps the noodles sticky, making it much easier for the sauce to stick to. If you want to wash pasta, it is best to do it after cooking.
5) Never Wash - Mushrooms: Most experts state that you should avoid washing your mushrooms before cooking them. While it's alright to rinse your mushrooms, you should avoid soaking them at all costs. This is because mushrooms tend to absorb water extremely well. They should only be washed right before cooking.
6) Always Wash – Dried Canned Foods: Foods like kidney beans, canned corn, canned potatoes, canned peas, or canned tomatoes contain preservatives and brines that may be harmful to the human digestive system. Consuming these brines can make you sick, and they should always be rinsed off.
7) Always Wash – Fresh Fruits and vegetables: Many fresh fruits and vegetables (yes even the ones with a skin) may contain pesticide sprays, preservative sprays or plain old dirt from the farm. You should always try to wash off your fresh fruits before cutting them, slicing them, peeling them or chopping them. Even foods with thick outer layers like onions can benefit from a nice wash.
8) Always Wash – Lettuce: Lettuce leaves are especially tasty to insects like Aphids, so farmers have little choice but to spray them with a pesticide to eliminate this from happening. Pesticides can make you sick, and may even help harbor additional bacteria such as Listeria or E. Coli. Investing in a salad spinner is a great way to remove all that moisture from your lettuce after it’s been washed.
9) Always Wash - Nuts: Soaking nuts before you eat them can help break down the phytic acid on them. Soaking nuts can also neutralize the enzymes in them, which makes it easier to digest. Phytic acid is also found in legumes and grains. If you eat nuts that haven't been soaked and cleaned off, the phytic acid can bind to minerals in your gastrointestinal tract. This prevents them from being absorbed in the intestine, and can possibly even create mineral deficiencies.
10) Always Wash - Dried Fruit: When purchased, dried fruit can be extremely dirty. Even in the event that you buy dried fruit in a package, it is still extremely important to wash it and soak it for a few hours to ensure that they are thoroughly washed. Dried fruit is also a large source of sulphate, which is a type of food preservative used to preserve both the quality and appearance of certain foods.