Do You Have to Wash Beef and Chicken Liver Before Cooking?
Do you have to wash beef and chicken before cooking? Since ancient times, cleaning is an important issue, and we have seen our fathers and ancestors washing foods before cooking. However, with time a lot of research has been done, and now people are better aware of everything than before. As a result of which they really want to know what health benefits of washing food are.
For people washing is equal to cleanliness and it is a must part before cooking any food. Moreover, they are particularly more into cleaning in the case of meat and poultry like beef and chicken liver. People have mixed reviews regarding washing beef and chicken liver. Due to different opinions, people have no idea whether it's okay to wash the liver before cooking or not. To ease out your query in this article, we will explain whether you have to wash beef and chicken liver before cooking or not from all aspects.
Do You Have to Wash Beef and Chicken Liver before Cooking
If I have to give numbers, almost 90 percent of people wash or rinse beef and chicken liver before cooking. Different people hold different views, and they wash it for different purposes. Moreover, people use several different methods to wash the liver like rinsing under running water or with strainer, soaking in a container of water, vinegar, lemon juice, or in milk.
However, after numerous studies and researches, it is recommended not to wash beef and chicken liver before cooking. Because there are bacteria in the raw meat and poultry juices that can spread to other foods, utensils, and surfaces due to cross-contamination. We have not challenged people in the past because, at that time, cleaning was necessary to remove dirt, fat, slime, and blood due to unhealthy manners of slaughtering.
However, nowadays, people use a modern food safety system; thus, minimizing the chances of dirt in the beef and chicken liver. Therefore, there is no need for further washing. Besides, never use soap and detergents for washing the liver because it can contaminate food with chemicals that are unsafe to eat.
Most people wash beef and chicken liver out of habit, and they saw their other family members doing so. We can understand this by a simple example like people never wear seatbelts in the past, but now they know its importance. The same is the case for washing meat and chicken. Recently, according to the study of USDA, washing poultry and meat is unsafe as it has its chances of cross-contamination in the kitchen. As a result of which it can give birth to foodborne diseases. However, this is time to leave the habit of washing the liver before cooking.
Raw liver contains bacteria that can splash on the surface of your kitchen while washing. However, many people failed to wash these surfaces due to which many people suffer from foodborne illnesses. But when it comes to raw liver cooking, boiling, baking, grilling, or frying will kill germs and bacteria. Therefore washing it means spreading bacteria and is quite risky not necessary.
The Department of Agriculture also never recommends washing beef and chicken liver. Juices of the raw liver contain bacteria like Campylobacter and Salmonella. But the critical point is most of the time you won't notice this cross-contamination and thus end up worsening the situation. And finally, many people soak beef or chicken liver in the saltwater. But to be honest, this won't affect the meat. If you really want to does this, then do this in a refrigerator?
Do You Have to Wash Beef and Chicken Liver before Freezing
If you have stocked up on fresh liver, then the best option is to freeze extra liver. Moreover, always try to store fresh chicken or beef liver in the refrigerator instead of cooked one as it might change its taste for the second time. Long story short when it comes to freezing just like cooking, there is no necessity for washing it. We have already explained in detail that it can result in cross-contamination. Defrosting cooking will kill all the bacteria.
However, when it comes to freezing, make sure you are freezing it at 0°F constantly. At 0°F, bacteria will become inactive, and they will not be harmful as they are unable to grow. Keep in mind that as time passes, the quality and the taste of the liver will decrease. Moreover, cook the liver quickly after defrosting as now bacteria will again grow. And finally, avoid freezing out of the date liver.
Important Things about Washing beef and Chicken
No, I am not washing the beef liver or chicken liver process. However, I want to convey complete information regarding it so that you won't miss anything. Therefore, in this section, we will explain a few important things related to the washing of beef liver and chicken liver.
Use Thermometer for Safety:
It is always better to be on the safe side to avoid issues and diseases. Therefore, the USDA's food safety service recommends using food thermometers. This is the only and the best way to know whether your food has reached high enough temperature to destroy all bacteria and foodborne diseases or not. The minimum temperature to kill bacteria and other germs are 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Moreover, allow your cooked chicken or beef liver to rest at least for 3 minutes before consuming. Using a food thermometer, you will easily measure the temperature of the food without the hassle.
Rinsing May Decrease the Quality of Your Meat:
Apart from cross-contamination, there are numerous other reasons to stop you from rinsing the liver. The liver's surface contains excess moisture; however, when carbohydrate molecules react with amino acid, it will result in a complex chemical process. The reaction of these molecules can produce hundreds of different chemicals. These chemicals then, in turn, give a brown color to the liver. Therefore, now you need to cook it at 230 degrees Fahrenheit.
Soaking in Salt Water is Unnecessary:
One of the methods people use to wash the liver is by soaking it in saltwater or plain water. It depends on your personal preferences, but the thing is washing the liver doesn't have much about removing bacteria. On the contrary, many claim that washing the liver before cooking improves the taste of cooked liver. Soaking in the saltwater method is usually used when you want to store the liver in the refrigerator. However, anyone on a sodium-restricted diet cannot benefit from washing or soaking in saltwater. Washing removes only a small percentage of salt, and USDA doesn't recommend it.
Result of USDA’s Washing Study of Meat and Poultry
In this section, we will claim our results through scientific results and research of USDA's. Usually, people have reasons like to remove slime, fat, blood, and skin almost 30 percent, out of habit 28 percent, and to remove germs about 19 percent. USDA has done a study about washing meat and poultry liver. They have recommended three safe and easy ways to prevent diseases when preparing meat or poultry liver in your home. These are:
- To reduce the risk of diseases significantly while cooking the liver after washing is cooking vegetables and salads before handling raw poultry and meat liver.
Almost 60 percent of the participants who washed their raw liver had bacteria on their sink. Moreover, 14 percent had bacteria in their skin even after cleaning or sanitizing. When you wash other foods after washing beef or chicken liver, the chance of foodborne illness-causing germs will increase.
Once you wash beef or chicken liver thoroughly clean and sanitize all surfaces that come in contact with the liver and its juice, including sink inner.
During the analysis, one of the participants has not washed meat and beef. On the other hand, 31 percent of participants can still get bacteria from raw meat to their lettuce. The main reason for this high rate of cross-contamination is because participants haven't washed their hands.
To prevent this, cross-contamination uses soapy water or homemade sanitizer to clean the sink and countertops. Moreover, specifically focus on your inner sink and countertop surroundings, including sink, cutting board, knives, and packaging. Once you handle beef liver or chicken liver, immediately wash your hands with water, soap and then scrub your hands for 20 seconds.
- Cook beef or chicken liver at a safe internal temperature measured by a food thermometer to destroy germs.
Keep in mind no matter whether you wash in saltwater, vinegar, or lemon juice, it will not kill any bacteria. Use a clean cutting board to remove fat, skin, or blood vessels. Use a knife to cut away all the flaws or pat raw items with a paper towel and throw them immediately. And then immediately wash your hands.
The exact answer to the query does you have to wash beef and chicken liver before cooking is no. It can increase the chances of cross-contamination and can thus result in foodborne diseases. The only benefit you will gain is having a better taste of cooked liver.