Growing up in a small town in West Texas, it was quite normal for my siblings and I to gather in the kitchen when our mother was baking and ask if we could lick the mixer beaters or the cake mix bowl. This was always something we looked forward to and back then, it was no big deal!
Either due to cross-contamination or poisonous quality, there are many foods and ingredients that we are better off avoiding in their raw or undercooked states.
Here are five of them you should know about:
1. Cookie dough
One reason, of course, is that the recipe may involve the use of eggs which carries the risk of salmonella in the uncooked state. But the flour itself may also contain harmful strains of bacteria such as E. coli. The contamination is likely due to the exposure to animal feces which are present in and around wheat fields.
The cookie dough concerns me due to my sons and grandchildren have always loved eating it raw. I myself have even raw cookie dough.
Raw potatoes, particularly the ones that are green or sprouted, are said to produce solanine. The toxic alkaloid can lead to diarrhea, nausea, cramping, headaches, and in rare cases, even lead to life-threatening effects. In fact, you should always skip consuming green potatoes even if they are cooked.
Even putting solanine aside, raw potatoes “contain starches that are resistant to being digested,” Dr. Lisa Davis, the chief nutrition officer at Terra’s Kitchen, told Reader’s Digest. So, you may end up with serious gastrointestinal problems.
Cassava is dangerous when consumed raw or undercooked as it contains compounds that are converted into hydrogen cyanide in the body. This can cause a long list of extreme symptoms such as rapid respiration, drop in blood pressure, dizziness, vomiting, diarrhea, confusion, and convulsions.
Food Standards Australia & New Zealand advises people to “first peel and slice the cassava and then cook it thoroughly either by baking, frying, boiling or roasting,” to reduce the risk of poisoning.
Thanks to better pork production laws, the risks associated with undercooked pork have reduced in recent years. Nevertheless, it is possible to find parasites like Trichinella spiralis. If transmitted, the person may experience illness and various side effects ranging in severity.
“The most common symptoms include fever, abdominal pain [and] nausea. And, in later stages of infection, it can cause myalgia, swelling of the face or around the eyes, as well.” stated Dr. Nipunie Rajapakse, a Mayo Clinic pediatric infectious diseases specialist.
Follow the recommended temperatures provided by the Department of Agriculture when cooking pork. The meat should be allowed to rest for at least three minutes before carving or consuming.
5. Kidney beans
“Eating raw red kidney beans can cause extreme nausea, severe vomiting, and diarrhea from a naturally occurring lectin, phytohemagglutinin.”
In order to get rid of the toxin, she explains how the beans need to be soaked for 5 hours. Next, you should drain the water and boil the soaked beans in fresh water for at least 30 minutes. Keep in mind that this does not apply to canned kidney beans which only need to be reheated.
Soaking beans and rinsing well is a practice I picked up from my mother and grandmother.
I found this to be pretty informative as I am always willing to learn better ways of keeping my family safe.