A food enthusiast has shared the unpleasant reason why it’s essential to wash your vegetables before cooking.
There’s no denying broccoli – known for its versatility and for being rich in vitamins, minerals, fibre, and antioxidants – is a popular choice, when it comes to home cooking.
However, now a TikToker (known as @andrelifehack) has deterred many from picking up this humble veg by exposing a disturbing revelation.
In a recent video, he placed a broccoli floret on a plate, banged it against the surface and revealed numerous tiny black bugs falling off onto the plate and crawling around.
Horrified, he added a nauseous emoji, shocking his followers who were quick to comment.
‘Omg I can’t believe I haven’t cleaned my broccoli,’ said one user.
While another added: ‘Ok so I’ve stopped eating strawberries because of TikTok now I’m never touching broccoli.’
Others shared their cleaning methods, such as using baking soda and vinegar.
So, if you come across some bugs on your broccoli, should you be worried and is washing the vegetable a must before cooking?
‘Broccoli can be commonly infested with insects such as aphids, cabbage loopers cabbage root maggots, cabbage webworms, cabbage worms, cutworms, Diamondback Moth caterpillars, flea beetles and thrips,’ explains Dr Deborah Lee from Dr Fox Online Pharmacy.
‘They often live on the underside of the leaves and inside the florets and can be hard to spot. Although this doesn’t sound very appetising, these insects are not harmful to human health.
‘They grow naturally on the broccoli plant in the fields. Farmers use pesticides to control them.’
Dr Deborah notes that the insects in the video look like aphids and pose no danger to us. ‘While these are not harmful for humans, they can suck the sap from the broccoli plant, weakening the plant and also spread other infections to crops,’ she adds.
However, it is very important that we wash all vegetables that come into our home. The bugs may not be the problem, but according to Dr Deborah, other diseases are.
‘It’s advisable to wash broccoli carefully before cooking,’ she notes. ‘Remember that broccoli like other raw fruit and veg, can harbour bacteria and viruses – such as salmonella, E.coli, and listeria, hepatitis A and norovirus, all of which can cause serious illnesses in humans.
‘The parasite cyclospora has been reported in the UK in people who had recently returned from eating contaminated vegetables when on holiday in Mexico. It’s always important not to eat unwashed fruit and vegetables abroad and cyclospora was identified in food trays which contained broccoli.’
And the best way to clean and prep your veggies before dinner? Cold water, salt and white wine vinegar.
‘Soak the broccoli for 20 minutes in a sink full of cold water and add a few teaspoons of salt and two tablespoons of white wine vinegar,’ Dr Deborah advises.
‘This will cause any insects to become detached from the florets. Then shake the broccoli vigorously before rinsing thoroughly and steaming or boiling.
‘Broccoli should be stored in the fridge and loosely wrapped to allow the air to circulate it. Once washed and prepared it should be stored again in the refrigerator until cooking and it should last 3 to 5 days in the fridge.’
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