Should You Eat That Moldy Food?
By Sara Butler
Mold is a big turnoff. When you see that science experiment you forgot about from your last dinner party lingering in the back of your refrigerator growing something you're worried might try to get you in your sleep, you probably just chuck the whole container out. And most of the time, throwing out moldy foods is exactly what you should do. But sometimes, it may just be safe to salvage that moldy food. Here are a few times when you should go ahead and eat foods that have mold and sometimes you definitely should not.
Firm Vegetables and Fruits
For a lot of foods, simply cutting away the moldy part won't get rid of all the mold. That's because many molds have usually penetrated deeper into the food than you realize. But some foods are just fine to use after you cut out the moldy part. With firm fruits and vegetables such as pears, cabbage, carrots, peppers, potatoes, and turnips, it's fine to eat as long as you cut away the moldy part and about an inch around it.
Some Cured Meats
Moldy meat is right up there on the nightmare scenario list -- no way you'd ever eat it. Right? Well, maybe.
Certain dry-cured meats such as country hams and hard salamis already have white mold on their surface. It's part of what it takes to cure it and actually keeps bacteria from growing on it. So, don't let mold on these types of meats frighten you. If you prefer, you can cut it away before eating.
If there's one food that just seems to go with mold, it's cheese. In fact, mold is used to make a lot of different types of cheese. Cheeses such as Stilton and Gorgonzola have mold in them already, so a little surface mold probably won't hurt anything. Hard cheeses such as Parmesan and Asiago are also good to go. All you really need to do is cut away the moldy part and enjoy the rest.
Just be aware that soft cheeses with mold should definitely be thrown out. These soft cheeses have more liquid in them, which helps mold to grow and spread. So, let that cottage cheese go -- it's no good!
Other Foods to Toss
Some other foods you must be sure to get rid of if you see mold include:
- Nuts and legumes
- Lunch meat
- Jams or jellies
Mold isn't always bad, but it's worth doing your homework to make sure!
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