If you’ve ever cooked dinner for yourself or family members, then you know just how tough it can be to choose between buying fresh and affordable ingredients versus using cheaper products that may come with undesirable trade-offs.
But if you’re interested in finding out what you should and shouldn’t do when it comes to washing your chicken, there’s no need to worry.
We’re here to give you all the information you could possibly need.
Is it necessary to wash your chicken before cooking it?
Let’s start off by addressing a very basic question: Is washing your chicken necessary?
The short answer is yes!
If you’re going to cook chicken, you have to wash it.
But why does it matter whether you werehes your chicken or not?
There are two main reasons why washing your chicken is important:
- Washing removes excess dirt from the skin and surface, which helps prevent food poisoning.
- Washing kills harmful bacteria on the chicken that can cause illness (and even death) if consumed.
So, next time you’re looking at buying chicken, consider whether or not it should be washed before cooking.
In fact, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that you wash your chicken every time you buy it.
What are the risks of not washing your chicken before cooking it?
Not washing your chicken is dangerous because it allows bacteria to grow on its surface.
This bacteria can cause illnesses ranging from mild diarrhea to vomiting and more serious gastrointestinal disorders such as salmonella poisoning.
In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 48 million Americans got sick from contaminated poultry each year between 2011 and 2012.
That number doesn’t include cases where people got sick from other sources of contamination.
The CDC also says that these illnesses cost millions of dollars each year.
For instance, one of the most common illnesses associated with eating contaminated chicken is salmonellosis, which affects approximately 1.4 million people annually — and costs the U.S. economy $3 billion.
And while washing your chicken isn’t the only way to avoid food poisoning, it’s likely the easiest and safest method.
Washing your chicken will remove any traces of fecal material, blood, grease, grime, and other contaminants that might otherwise be present on your bird — all of which are possible sources of illness.
How do you properly wash your chicken before cooking it?
You don’t have to go crazy scrubbing your chicken with antibacterial soap (unless you want to).
Just use plain old tap water to wash it under running water.
Remember, don’t let the water sit around for too long, though, or you’ll risk spreading bacteria around your kitchen sink and throughout your home.
Next, pat the chicken dry using paper towels.
Then, you can either freeze your chicken for about 30 minutes or place it in a plastic bag for up to 2 hours so it won’t absorb moisture from the air.
Once you’re done, cut open the package and remove the chicken from the packaging.
What are the benefits of washing your chicken before cooking it?
One big benefit of washing your chicken before cooking it is that it removes potentially harmful bacteria from the surface of your chicken.
Another advantage is that it reduces the chances of transferring germs to your cutting board when chopping vegetables.
Is it better to wash your chicken in cold or hot water?
It’s recommended that you rinse your chicken under running water, but there’s nothing wrong with rinsing it in warm or cold water.
However, hot water can actually kill certain types of bacteria, making it a better choice than cold water.
How long should you wash your chicken before cooking it?
As we mentioned earlier, a good rule of thumb is to rinse your chicken under running water immediately following purchase.
But once it has been refrigerated, you can keep it for up to 4 days.
So, if you bought your chicken yesterday, you would probably want to wash it within 24 hours of purchase.
Just remember that the longer you wait, the more likely you are to spread germs through contact with the outside of the chicken.
When it comes to chopping vegetables, you can make sure to wash your cutting boards after each meal to reduce the spread of bacteria.
What are some common mistakes people make when washing their chicken before cooking it?
Unfortunately, many people don’t wash their chickens properly.
Here are several things you should never do when preparing your chicken:
- Do not leave the chicken in a sealed container for extended periods of time. It may take on moisture from the surrounding air and become infected, leading to food poisoning.
- Don’t submerge your chicken in a pool of water, nor allow it to stand in water for long periods of time.
- Don’t use antibacterial dishwashing liquids on your chicken or let it stand in them for extended periods of time.
- Avoid putting your chicken in the refrigerator for longer than 2 days.
- Cooking your chicken in an enclosed area, like a slow cooker, oven, or grill, makes it difficult to wash your chicken properly. Don’t cook it inside the same cabinet where you store your dirty dishes.
What are the consequences of washing your chicken in dirty water?
Washing your chicken in dirty water is a bad idea because it can lead to cross-contamination.
Cross-contamination happens when bacteria are transferred from one object to another.
For example, if you wash your chicken in dirty water, you’ll transfer those germs onto your cutting board, countertop, stove, etc., increasing the chances that they will contaminate other foods you prepare later.
And if you use dirty water to wash raw meat, you might transfer microbes from the outer surface of raw meat to the inner surfaces of your utensils.
Cross-contamination is especially risky because it can increase the chances of you getting ill.
To reduce the likelihood of getting sick from cross-contamination, it’s critical that you always wash your hands thoroughly before handling food and follow proper hygiene rules.
Can washing your chicken too much make it less safe to eat?
Yes, washing your chicken too often can increase the chances that you will get sick from consuming it.
In general, the CDC recommends washing your chicken twice per week.
But if you have young children, elderly people, or anyone who suffers from compromised immune systems, you should wash your chicken more frequently.
According to the New York Times, Dr. David Acheson, director of the Foodborne Illnesses Epidemiology Program at the University of California at Davis School of Medicine, suggests washing your chicken 3 times per week if you have a child, 4 times weekly if you have older relatives, or 5 times a week if you have a weakened immune system.
- 1 Pan
- Sprinkle salt and pepper on the chicken’s two sides.
- In a pan over medium heat, warm some olive oil.
- Add the onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, and cumin powder to the pan.
- Remove the spices from the pan once they begin to become golden brown and set them aside.
- Chicken is added after extra olive oil is added to the pan.
- The chicken should cook for 5 minutes on each side before being placed back in the pan.
- Stir the chicken after adding lemon juice to it.
- The pan should be covered with foil and baked for 15 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Bake for an additional ten minutes with the foil removed.
- Remove the chicken, let it to rest for two minutes, then cut.