As the rainy season sets in, we should not just think about staying safe from mosquito bites. Food is also to be handled with extreme care during this time, as increased humidity poses risk of food getting infested with dangerous microbes.
The cool, damp weather becomes conducive for the growth of germs that cause typhoid, diarrhea, dysentery and stomach flu. So, you need to be extra cautious with what you eat during the season. Here are some dos and don’ts that you must keep in mind.
Fifteen minutes prior to cooking, soak your veggies in warm, saline water. This step is important for removing traces of pesticides.
For lettuce and cabbage, use ice cold water. It kills worms and keeps them fresh and crisp.
Vegetables that cannot be peeled-like tomatoes, brinjals, herbs and leafs should be cleaned with salt and running water.
You can also use potassium permanganate solution to clean your vegetables.
Dry your fruits and veggies with absorbent paper or a clean towel and only then keep in the refrigerator. Store your herbs in zip lock bags to maintain freshness.
During the monsoons do not store pre-cut veggies and fruits for long.
It is important to store them under right conditions. Warm climate crops like beans, eggplants, tomatoes and peppers should be best kept at less than 10 degrees temperature.
Potatoes should also be kept under cool, dry conditions to prevent growth of molds. But, do not refrigerate them, as below 4 degrees, their starch is converted into sugar.It is advisable to peel fruits and vegetables before cooking, at least during this season.
If you feel something does not taste well, discard it immediately. Don’t keep cut fruits and veggies for long.Foods to avoid
It is a general belief that fish should be avoided during the monsoons. The reason behind this is that high temperatures and damp weather increase chances of spoilage during transportation and storage. In general prefer deep sea cold water fish like tuna, salmon, pomfret and tout to avoid chances of contamination with industrial toxins that seem to travel long distances through rain waters in rivers.
Also avoid buying and eating cut fruits and salads.
Say no to fruit juices from local stalls.
Eat freshly prepared, warm food to stay healthy during monsoons.