Saturday, January 14, 2012

Which Grub needs a Scrub?

Step away from the sink! You may be washing food you shouldn't or not washing food you should.

Should I wash....

CANTALOUPE?
ABSOLUTELY! Bugs love to snuggle in the crevices of cantaloupes netted skin - and the hitch a ride on your knife as you slice into the juicy center. Scrub the whole melon with a vegetable brush under running water to dislodge clingy microbes. The same goes for other produce with tons of nooks and crannies, such as kiwis, avocado, and pineapples.

CHICKEN?
No way!!! The USDA specifically warns against it bc that bacteria in the meat and it's juices can so easily spread to other foods, utensils, and surfaces in your kitchen. Besides water doesn't kill the dangerous bugs in chicken, HEAT DOES. The best way to "clean" your chicken is to cook it to a safe 165 degrees.

PREWASHED LETTUCE?
Lose the guilt - the answer is no. Rinsing the stuff at home increases cross-contamination opportunities, because your kitchen - thanks to your kids, pets and constant food prep - cant possibly be as clean and controlled as the plant where the lettuce was washed.

CANNED BEANS?
They are Better for you when you do! Most canned beans are really high in sodium. Purge nearly 40% of it when you put the beans in a strainer and run them under COLD water. Plus the viscous liquid you wash away won't make your dish taste any better - it's just thick, starchy ├╝ber salty water!

THYME, ROSEMARY, OREGANO?
YES!!! You know to wash big leaf herbs like parsley and basil because you can see the dirt, but with all herbs and produce the most important reason to wash is to get rid of microscopic pathogens aka the bugs we can't see and could make us really sick. To clean these small leaf herbs, place them in a strainer and rinse thoroughly. Pat dry with a paper towel or give them a whirl in a salad spinner.

ORGANIC FOOD?
For sure! Organic produce is grown with fewer pesticides but it's as likely to carry the invisibly microorganisms that cause food poisoning. All produce - whether from a garden, organic farm, or commercial grower should be washed with water unless it's PREWASHED lettuce.

POTATOES?
You sure do! Thank about all the dirt you get on your hands just from holding a potato?! As soon as you peel it, you drag the dirt onto the flesh. Boiling your potatoes will kill the pathogens but who really wants to cook food in dirty water - Really?!

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