We tend to wash everything before cooking it, but sometimes it does more harm than good. Of course, washing produce is an acceptable habit, but there are some foods that, even if they come from a grocery store, should never be washed – for one reason or another.
Here are six foods that you should never wash before cooking:
1. Poultry and Fish
There was once a time when we were told to wash chicken to get rid of bacteria, but it turns out to be the opposite case now. By washing raw chicken in the sink, you are actually spreading the bacteria around your kitchen by the splashes and drips. This rule applies to raw fish too.
2. Red Meat
As well as spreading bacteria, washing red meat adds unwanted moisture to the meat. When you cook it, the moisture will create steam, which affects the taste.
Instead of washing the meat, pat it down with a paper towel before cooking. If you marinate meat, keep it in the fridge and be careful to prevent cross-contamination from the marinating liquid that the meat has been in.
3. Prewashed Produce and Salads
If it says it’s been prewashed on the package, there’s really no need to wash it again. Apart from taking up time and wasting water, preparing the salad next to other foods increases the risk of cross-contamination. Put them straight in your salad or oven.
Wet mushrooms aren’t dangerous in bacterial terms, but their taste and texture changes if they are in contact with water for too long. Mushrooms absorb water; so to stop them becoming soggy and rubbery, wipe them with a damp paper towel instead.
This probably isn’t too common, as most people don’t wash their eggshells, but some people most likely do!
All commercially sold eggs in the United States are cleaned with soap and hot water, so the shells are already clean. This process removes the natural coating from the eggshells, so a coat of mineral oil is added instead to protect the egg.
Eggs always need cooking thoroughly until the yolks are firm to prevent food poisoning from bacteria that could be inside the shell.
Pasta isn’t at risk from bacteria, but there’s another reason you shouldn’t rinse it before or after cooking. Rinsing the pasta will wash the starches off, making it more difficult for the sauce to cling to.
Grains like rice, quinoa or spelt should always be washed with water just before you start cooking them, in order to get the right taste and texture.