New ways of making our own food can be exciting, especially for anyone who wants to maximize their food’s health benefits while also possibly saving a little money. If you’ve been curious about a cooking trend that’s growing—literally—then an important tip that’s come out of a new study might help ensure the fruits of your dedication are actually plenty safe for you to eat.
Food Safety News published their report this weekend about a study led by a food safety specialist at Oregon State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences. Joy Waite-Cusic, Ph.D., conducted the study to examine a way to cut down Salmonella risk due to an increasingly popular practice: “Activating” some grains, sprouts, nuts, seeds, and legumes to create the conditions for them to become a plant. According to Mind Body Green, activation is said to release these foods’ most nutritional properties, causing them to deliver their greatest possible benefit to the consumer.
To achieve activation in the process known as “sprouting,” an important step takes place: Soaking the food in water, often overnight and in waters at room temperature. However, this step that’s necessary for sprouting can also create the very kind of moisture that becomes a hospitable habitat for harmful microorganisms to grow, causing contamination to these foods.
Fortunately, Waite-Cusic’s study led to three valuable discoveries. She and her research team inoculated 15 grains, nuts, and seeds (among the 15 were reportedly almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, brown rice, flax, and hemp) with six different strains of Salmonella bacteria and soaked them in a variety of conditions. Of their findings, Food Safety News reports that refrigeration and salt during soaking significantly decreased the risk of Salmonella growth, as did using cold water to soak the sprouts.
Waite-Cusic said that “including salt in the soaking process and refrigeration were determined to be the most cost-effective and easily implementable options for modifying current procedures.”
Nothing like kitchen solutions that are simple, since it’s so important to keep food safe. Read what happened when cashew contamination turned major in At Least 7 People in 3 States Are Sick After Eating This Recalled Food.