Top Myths in Cooking Debunked: From Sealing in Juices to Salting Beans

PPhoebe November 12, 2023 7:01 AM

The culinary world is full of myths and misconceptions. Some of them are handed down from generation to generation, while others are spread by well-meaning but ill-informed chefs and home cooks. Regardless of their origin, these myths can lead to subpar cooking results and even wasted food. Let's debunk some of the most widely spread cooking myths out there.

Myth 1: Sealing in the juices

One of the most persistent myths in cooking is that searing meat at a high temperature 'seals in the juices'. This myth has been debunked numerous times, but it continues to persist because the process of searing does affect the flavor of the meat. In reality, searing meat does not seal in juices but creates a brown crust through a process known as the Maillard reaction, which imparts a complex, savory flavor to the meat. This is why seared meat often tastes better, but it is not juicier.

Myth 2: Salting beans makes them hard

Another common myth is that salting beans before they're fully cooked makes them hard. This is simply not true. Salting beans at the beginning of the cooking process actually helps to flavor them. The salt penetrates the beans and makes them more tasty. It does not make them hard. In fact, beans cooked without salt can end up being quite bland.

Other popular cooking myths debunked

  • Myth: Salt makes water boil faster.

    Truth: Adding salt to water raises its boiling point, which means it actually takes longer to boil. The reason chefs add salt to boiling water is to flavor the food, not to speed up the boiling process.

  • Myth: Microwaving food destroys its nutrients.

    Truth: All forms of cooking can destroy some nutrients in food, but microwaving is actually one of the methods that preserves the most nutrients, because it cooks food quickly and without a lot of water.

  • Myth: You should wash chicken before cooking it.

    Truth: Washing chicken or any poultry before cooking it can spread bacteria around your kitchen, increasing the risk of foodborne illness. Cooking poultry to the correct temperature is the best way to ensure it's safe to eat.

  • Myth: Adding oil to pasta water keeps the pasta from sticking.

    Truth: Adding oil to pasta water does not prevent pasta from sticking. It can, however, prevent the sauce from adhering to the pasta properly. To prevent pasta from sticking, stir it frequently while it's cooking.

In conclusion, it's important to question the cooking advice you receive, even if it comes from a trusted source. Just because a technique or tip has been passed down through the generations doesn't mean it's accurate. Always seek out the most current and scientifically sound cooking advice, and you'll be well on your way to culinary success.

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