Mushrooms absorb moisture very rapidly and are almost impossible to dry out once they’ve been wet. This makes them soggy and unappetizing. If you feel that you need to clean your mushrooms, be sure to use a dry paper towel instead. Loose dirt or debris can also be shaken off.
2. Pre-washed salads
Packaged salads usually have a label on them stating if they’ve been washed prior to packaging. This means that you can save time and water by not washing them again. Note that a food-grade sanitizing agent, such as hydrogen peroxide or chlorine, is often used in pre-washing. If you’re not comfortable with that, then go ahead and give your salad a little rinse.
Eggs produced in the United States are washed using machines that shampoo them with soap and water. This removes their natural protective coating, as well as any traces of salmonella bacteria. American eggs need to be kept refrigerated to ensure their freshness as a result. In Europe, the situation is different. Chickens are usually vaccinated against salmonella, allowing their eggs to be stored at room temperature, thus keeping them fresh for much longer.
Although it might seem sensible to wash poultry prior to cooking it, it can actually increase your chances of getting sick due to the likelihood of spreading harmful bacteria all over its surface. The only way to truly kill bacteria present on raw poultry is to cook it thoroughly.
Raw fish is much the same as poultry – washing it will likely result in harmful bacteria being spread all over its surface, as well as kitchen surfaces that will likely come into contact with other food. Remove the scales from a fish if a recipe calls for it, but leave it unrinsed to prevent germs from breeding.
6. Red meat
Washing red meat is just as risky as washing poultry or fish, but it can also ruin its quality. The added moisture from the water will create steam, affecting the meat’s taste. You should pat it down with a paper towel to remove excess moisture from cooking. Marinating the meat in the fridge will also prevent any liquid from spreading onto countertops or food.
Turkey should only be washed if it was brined, and the same applies to meat and poultry. Washing turkey if it isn’t brined can result in the spread of harmful bacteria around your kitchen and sink.
8. Packaged quinoa
If you’ve ever bought quinoa in bulk, you’ll know that it can have a slightly bitter taste if it isn’t washed. This taste is due to saponins, which are natural compounds that are designed to keep birds and insects from eating quinoa in the wild. Pre-packaged quinoa, however, has usually been pre-washed. A pre-wash means that the saponins have been removed and that the quinoa is ready to cook.
Despite some people being inclined to wash pasta prior to cooking it, doing so just removes the starches from the outside of it. These starches help sauce stick to it and also provide flavor. Seeing as packaged pasta is highly unlikely to be harboring harmful bacteria, there isn’t really a need to wash it. Skip the rinse and put it straight in a boiling pan of water.
10. Certain types of rice
Whether you should rinse the rice you want to cook or not actually depends on a number of factors, with the primary one being whether it’s imported (some imported rice is processed with talc or rice powder to give it a whiter appearance). In reality, washing rice has more downsides than positives, such as removing the natural starches that coat its surface, and negatively affecting the creaminess of a finished dish like risotto.