Cooking Myths Debunked

Searing meat

There are many tips and hints about cooking, making food taste great and keeping healthy. Whilst there is lots of great advice, take some with a pinch of salt and do your research first. Here we look a  few myths, the background behind them and debunk them. Let us know your thoughts.

Salting pasta water makes it boil faster

Technically salted water takes longer to bring to the boil than pure water. This is calculated using the "ebullioscopic" constant of water. But if you compare 1 litre of pure water and 1 litre of salted water, it might be that the salted water is 80% water and 20% dissolved salt. So you are really boiling only 80% of water in comparison so it will get to the boil faster. So add a little salt for the taste and not for speed.

You need a massive amount of water to cook pasta

The myth is more the thought that having more water reduces the effect of the pasta sticking together. But in fact mixing with olive oil or sauce after cooking will separate the pasta as we expect to see. Technically pasta will “cook” just as well in a smaller volume of water and maybe even from cold water. Give less water a go and reduce your water usage.

Alcohol evaporates when cooked

Whilst a dash of alcohol adds to the flavour and a quick flambé might leave 75% of alcohol in your steak. Studies show that it might take 2-3 hours to fully evaporate alcohol. If you are cutting back on drink or are driving after your meal ask your chef to miss it totally from your meal.

Searing meat seals in juices

The Maillard reaction whilst searing adds to the flavour. Searing also make the meat more tasty due the contrast between the crust and the inside. Experiments as early as the 1930’s proved that seared roasts lost the same amount of moisture or more.

Microwaving vegetables destroys nutrients

Nutrients tend to be both heat-intolerant and water-soluble. So cooked correctly, microwaving vegetables with a small amount of water to create steam will retain more nutrients than in boiling on the stove for 20 minutes.

Food should be totally cooled before going into the refrigerator

Modern fridges are very efficient and are designed to chill and keep chilled food. Every minute the food sits cooling before going into a fridge is more time for spoilage and contamination to occur. We don’t advise putting boiling liquids in the fridge, but the sooner the better. Keep to the 1-2 hour rule for cooked food.

If you burn yourself, immediately treat it with ice

Wrong. Do not put ice on a burn. This can lead to frostbite and cause more damage. The best way to treat minor burns is with cool running water.

Searing meat photo by lmnop88a