The other day, a co-worker asked me whether it was OK to eat a piece of cheese that had grown slightly moldy. That question sparked a discussion on how to handle moldy foods. Can you ever simply cut off the bad parts and proceed to eat the rest? Find out the answer when you read more.
Any food completely covered in mold should be tossed. Discard cooked meats, poultry, casseroles, and grains — generally, leftovers — if mold is detected, because they have a high moisture content, and contamination has permeated below the food's surface. Toss baked goods, because their porousness puts them at high risk. Also nix delicate produce, preserves, yogurt, sour cream, and softer cheeses.
It's not unusual to see dry-cured meats like hard salami covered in a bit of surface mold. Scrub or cut the mold off the surface before eating it. The same applies to firm cheeses, such as pecorino romano or parmesan, which are impenetrable to anything beyond surface mold.
Firm produce — like cabbage, bell peppers, and carrots — can be saved, too, as long as the mold is cut away. Cheeses made with mold are tricky; brie, camembert, and other washed-rind cheeses shouldn't be consumed if they contain mold that's not part of the manufacturing process. Other selections, like gorgonzola and stilton, can be used if the moldy spot is removed.
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