Does anyone REALLY wash veggies with soap? Or is it just my compulsive husband?

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What he is doing is not good. Soap residue could cause a case of dysentery or the runs and cause havoc to the stomach..


Dysentery is caused by an amoeba as far as i know, in any case some germ, that is, living organism, because it responds to antibiotics.  Soap contains no germ.  Soap might give you diarrhea but not dysentery. 

I think the problem is trying to eliminate chemicals with another chemical.  First of all, soap can kill germs but does it remove chemicals? 

And soap can kill germs if it's rubbed on stuff, but does it remove germs generically like that with rinsing?  and do we need to remove all those germs?

but the chemicals, i don;t know, but i've read about baking soda removing them, but i imagine most stuff food is sprayed with is sprayed while it's young and it must have been absorbed by the cells by the time we eat it.  or not?
 
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tell your husband that veggies are not like clothes, veggies ar e for eating, clothes are for wearing. they are different, veggies don't need soap to wash
 
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Vitamin B12 is produced by bacteria in soil and not by fruits and vegetables. If you wash your produce too obsessively, you strip it of this essential trace vitamin.

If your husband is concerned about pesticides, he should be eating organic. Washing does not effectively remove pesticides, which may be absorbed in the tissues of the plant itself.

Most produce is already washed repeatedly by the time it reaches your shopping basket. There's really little need to rewash it yet again before cooking. You might as well wash it after cooking, too, as you put it on your plate. And then wash each bite again before placing it in your mouth :D
 
G

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Along this vein, I heard an interesting theory a while back. Some guy hypothesized that society is actually making itself more susceptible to disease by using so much hand sanitizer and other types of sanitizers. He argued that the presence of small amounts of bacteria is actually healthy and keeps the body stronger. And with more sanitizing, our bodies become weaker and therefore get sicker easier.

It may be a total crock, but it's definitely an interesting theory.
It's not a crock at all. Antibacterial agents may kill 99.97% of the bacteria, but guess what? The .03% that's left over is immune, and will multiply unchallenged. Next thing you know you've got an entire generation of resistant germs running wild in a monoculture on your countertop. Over time bacteria develop robust resistance and the antibacterial agents we use become useless. Keep in mind that antibacterial chemicals are themselves toxic (that's why they work) and you may think twice about slathering them all over your babies.Your immune system needs to be exposed to a healthy level of real world pathogens in order to tune itself and build the antibodies it will later need to fight off infections and illnesses. Your immune response is a learning system and it needs input. This doesn't mean you should go around licking doorknobs, but living in a sanitized bubble is not healthy. 

I appreciate that people feel a need for control but routine hand washing, basic hygeine, and general surface and utensil cleanliness is all you need. The only recent development in this picture is Proctor & Gamble's need to sell you more products by scaring you into believing you need them. Nothing they can put in a bottle will be anywhere near as powerful as your own natural immune system. Keep yourself healthy and leave those bottles of harsh chemical cleansers on the supermarket shelf!
 
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While I'm not the biochemist so many contributors to CT seem to be, it's a good rule of thumb not to put anything on your food you don't want to eat.

If your husband wants to use soap, set it on the table as a condiment reserved for him and anyone else who savors its flavor.    Otherwise... no.

BDL
 
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Yes, but I couldn't remember the exact results (insignificant amount, but not the measurements). 
 
Here we just rinse. The very idea of using soap on food is a turn-off.

Gobblygook, did you see the Alton Brown episode where he tested the conventional wisdom of mushrooms absorbing water? Apparently it's one of those things we just keep passing down to each other, but nobody ever tested it before.

Carefully weighing the mushrooms and water, both beforehand and afterwards, it turns out that there is such an insignificant amount of absorbsion as to not count at all. And that was from actually soaking them in a container of water for a period of time. He repeated this experiment several times, with different kinds of mushrooms.

The conclusion: Giving them a quick rinse under running water will only have one effect: cleaner mushrooms. They will not, repeat not, absorb any of the water.
 
OK, you two, and perhaps a glass of wine (or two), got me curious enough to run my own Alton Brown test - I like the guy, I just don't always agree with him.

10 oz dry-brushed button mushrooms

rinsed in cold water, then soaked for two minutes (In hind-sight I should have weighed them right after rinsing and draining as well for more complete information)

drained, but not hand-dried:

gain of 1.1 oz = 11% weight gain of water

thoroughly hand-dried:

gain of .45 oz = 4.5% gain of water absorption

That's a substantial enough of a difference for myself to stick to dry-brushing my mushrooms.  The water absorption would likely be at least halved again if rinsed and then hand-dried quickly, but, to my mind, that's not all that comes into play in the decision.  Mushrooms require little-to-no external chemical environmental control agents to thrive.  There is always the question of commercially grown foods, however.  I can't say with any real authority (without doing some truly sober research) how much of any pesticide agent is used on the typical big-agro business mushroom crop, but, I'd venture to guess that a good dry-brush will remove as much, maybe even more, pesticides than a rinse without a hand-dry.  On the note of mushrooms being grown in cow manure: well, yes and no.  Commercial mushrooms are grown in composted soil which contains manure (not always from cows) as an ingredient.  Much of the best produce is grown using manure.  I don't have a problem with it. 

I rarely hear of a mushroom recall.  I remember one from a couple of years ago dealing with a farm in PA over concerns of listeria, but I don't remember hearing of any sicknesses associated with it.  Mushrooms do not make my list of problematic produce, I like the earthy flavors they have and, particularly for my specialty mushrooms, I want to preserve as much of that flavor as I can.  If it makes one feel much more comfortable to rinse ones mushrooms, then I say: do as you must, just don't soak them, and dry them off quickly after rinsing.  I might be willing to look the other way if someone in my kitchen was rinsing buttons or criminis, but if I saw someone heading toward a sink with chanterelles, lobsters, or (Lord help them) truffles, I would have something to say.

As an after thought: Mushrooms like morells have substantially more surface area per volume than the buttons I tested, so they would hold more water weight than the buttons.  In addition, they would be virtually impossible to hand-dry well, in a timely fashion, and without destroying their integrity.  Perhaps lining a salad spinner with paper towels and drying that way would work best for certain varieties, if one were so inclined. 
 
3,599
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Joined Aug 13, 2006
10 oz dry-brushed button mushrooms

rinsed in cold water, then soaked for two minutes (In hind-sight I should have weighed them right after rinsing and draining as well for more complete information)

drained, but not hand-dried:

gain of 1.1 oz = 11% weight gain of water

thoroughly hand-dried:

gain of .45 oz = 4.5% gain of water absorption

That's a substantial enough of a difference for myself to stick to dry-brushing my mushrooms.  The water absorption would likely be at least halved again if rinsed and then hand-dried quickly, but, to my mind, that's not all that comes into play in the decision.  Mushrooms require little-to-no external chemical environmental control agents to thrive.  There is always the question of commercially grown foods, however.  I can't say with any real authority (without doing some truly sober research) how much of any pesticide agent is used on the typical big-agro business mushroom crop, but, I'd venture to guess that a good dry-brush will remove as much, maybe even more, pesticides than a rinse without a hand-dry.  On the note of mushrooms being grown in cow manure: well, yes and no.  Commercial mushrooms are grown in composted soil which contains manure (not always from cows) as an ingredient.  Much of the best produce is grown using manure.  I don't have a problem with it. 
Why on earth would you rinse the mushrooms and THEN soak them?  Why would you soak them at all?  Obviously soaking is going to make them absorb something.  But if you wash them quickly one by one under running water, rubbing where there is dirt attached, holding them with the gills down if the gills are open (or whatever they;re called) you won't get any water.   (And it's a lot less time than brushing them dry! that's my main objection).

You don't need a salad spinner to spin them dry, you can shake one by one.  But then i never have the wild kind, just the usual varieties of cultivated ones. Never saw a morel for sale where i shop. 
 
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kcz

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From the Cook's Illustrated website...

"When we learned that mushrooms were over 80 percent water, we began to question their ability to absorb yet more liquid. We decided to replicate an experiment found in food scientist Harold McGee’s The Curious Cook, wherein he weighed mushrooms before and after soaking them in water for five minutes. Like McGee, we found that six ounces of mushrooms gained only one and one half teaspoons of water—and most of this water, we found, was on the surface."

So it seems that washing AND drying are OK, but since mushrooms are mostly water, maybe this is all a moot point?  /img/vbsmilies/smilies/confused.gif
 
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To each his own when it comes to mushrooms.  If you want to sit there and brush off manure then it's up to you, you're the one eating them.  I find that certain mushrooms are more porous than others.  Oyster mushrooms for example do absorb quite a bit of moisture and it's difficult to get them dry and will steam up in the pan if I want them to sear.  Where as shiitakis don't absorb anything at all.  If you really want your mushrooms clean and dry wash them well, put them in a colander and dry off with a paper towel and then set in the fridge uncovered to dry overnight. 
 
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Siduri, You are right Dysentery is caused by Amoeba Entamoeba Histolytica. However if you read up on it , it can be caused by a chemical irritant. I remember from years ago when soap was soap and not detergents that ingestion of soap could cause it.
 
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While I'm not the biochemist so many contributors to CT seem to be, it's a good rule of thumb not to put anything on your food you don't want to eat.

If your husband wants to use soap, set it on the table as a condiment reserved for him and anyone else who savors its flavor.    Otherwise... no.

BDL
ROFL BDL - thank you for that.  Do you think the soap should be grated finely or coarsely - or cut into personal serving sizes?  Hmmm, my choice would be finely grated :p  Don't know what fragrance of soap would be best  - perhaps Pears soap - you can see thru that one if you try really try hard,  I guess it would be decided by what's on the menu.....
 
 
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Joined Aug 13, 2006
From the Cook's Illustrated website...

"When we learned that mushrooms were over 80 percent water, we began to question their ability to absorb yet more liquid. We decided to replicate an experiment found in food scientist Harold McGee’s The Curious Cook, wherein he weighed mushrooms before and after soaking them in water for five minutes. Like McGee, we found that six ounces of mushrooms gained only one and one half teaspoons of water—and most of this water, we found, was on the surface."

So it seems that washing AND drying are OK, but since mushrooms are mostly water, maybe this is all a moot point?  /img/vbsmilies/smilies/confused.gif


I think the difference is that the water in mushrooms is probably INSIDE the cells, and if you fry them you will want to not have any loose water in there.  Almost every food has water - look at meat!  but you want to have the water stay INSIDE the meat, mushroom, etc, and not leak out into the frying pan

I donl;t know enough about cell structure and what happens in cooking, but i imagine that even a little water on the surface (in the crevices and in the gills) of mushrooms will prevent them from browning, while the water inside the cells should stay in the cells.  You dry meat off well before expecting it to brown, no?  you don't try to brown wet chicken legs.  Potatoes are also mostly water, as is practically every living organism, but you don't put wet potatoes in the pan.  If you cut spongy vegetables like eggplant, and soak them they will become watery and not brown, even if they contain water in their cells.  The spaces between the cells will absorb water.  etc. 
 
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I don't know how you cook them, Siduri, but I've never seen a cooked mushroomm that didn't give up it's liquid. That's why, in fact, so many recipes specify cooking them until their liquid has evaporated. And, in fact, mushrooms won't brown until that happens.

Seems to me, just shooting from the hip, that any surface moisture would just slow down the process. But it shouldn't make any real difference in the final outcome.
 
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I don't know how you cook them, Siduri, but I've never seen a cooked mushroomm that didn't give up it's liquid. That's why, in fact, so many recipes specify cooking them until their liquid has evaporated. And, in fact, mushrooms won't brown until that happens.

Seems to me, just shooting from the hip, that any surface moisture would just slow down the process. But it shouldn't make any real difference in the final outcome.


 It all depends on how you cook them.  When I'm sauteeing mushrooms I do it in small batches, just a handful of mushrooms go in the pan.  Anymore and they start to steam in their own juices.  Lots of space between each shroom.  I don't cook them in nonstick, and I use very high high.  It's pan grilling in reality.  Of course they give up liquid.  But the heat is high enough and there is enough space between each mushroom that the liquid evaporates instantly.  I get great results.
 
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Washing with soap? No.  I do buttons sometimes on veggie trays.  I quickly run under cold water and shake off water.  When panfrying, I do the same thing, but sometimes paper towel drying as the water will cause the hot oil to splatter.

I wash cucumbers with a white vinegar wash before cutting. 

I knew a woman once who would wash a glass after it was washed in a dishwasher.  Always thought, different strokes...
 
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But the heat is high enough and there is enough space between each mushroom that the liquid evaporates instantly.  I get great results.

I'm sure you do, KK. But the question wasn't where the liquid goes, nor how quickly. Siduri's point was that water inside mushroom cells remains there. My contention is that it doesn't. Whether you slow cook them, or sear them quickly over high heat, they give up their liquid first. Then other things, like browning, take place.

I don't know the actual science, but I suspect that mushroom cell walls rupture in the presence of heat, which is why they give up their liquid so readily.
 
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But the heat is high enough and there is enough space between each mushroom that the liquid evaporates instantly.  I get great results.

I'm sure you do, KK. But the question wasn't where the liquid goes, nor how quickly. Siduri's point was that water inside mushroom cells remains there. My contention is that it doesn't. Whether you slow cook them, or sear them quickly over high heat, they give up their liquid first. Then other things, like browning, take place.

I don't know the actual science, but I suspect that mushroom cell walls rupture in the presence of heat, which is why they give up their liquid so readily.
No, KY, what i meant is that it stays there at the beginning, enough to get an initial browning, with high heat.  Depending on what i want to use them for, i may want the liquid inside the mushroom to leak out later so i can use it in a sauce, like in a chicken tetrazzini, but i would like them to get brown first.  If you soak them, the spaces between the cells get water which comes out long before they brown. It may not be much, but it's enough to prevent browning and by the time that evaporates, you'll have the other water coming from the cells.   (There;s no experimental or theoretical science here, just empirical observation so maybe this is all wrong).  You have to cut the stem to wash them, and the gills, if open, will leave spaces for water to accumulate, and so you would have more immediately available water, no?  capillary action would absorb water through the spaces between the cells in the stem, and would cling in the gills.  I find mushrooms with closed caps but not always are they available and not all varieties.

So, anyway, putting them in a very hot pan, widely spaced as KK says, will give them an initial browning, after which they will leak.  If you can balance the leaking with the heat, that liquid will also turn brown and be part of the nice browned flavor, and they won;t boil.  If you cook a lot together and if you don;t use high heat, they'll probably boil before they brown.  Then to brown them you have to overcook them. 

I usually don;t salt them till later, not to make the water come out as soon.  I'm convinced this is true, but many say it isn't.  You salt eggplant to get the water out, and cucumbers, too, right?  If you salt just as you cook, wouldn;t that leach out the water?  But i guess this comes down to the question i raised in the watery chicken thread - it's my impression (i should do a double blind trial, but who has time?) that salting makes more water come out.  we do get set in our beliefs, i guess.  It does certainly seem to work in mushrooms. 
 
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