You could be a Michelin starred chef, but if you’re not cleaning certain appliances and surfaces properly, some of your food just isn’t going to taste right.
Whether you’re cleaning in the wrong way or not cleaning at all, there are a few issues that could be drastically altering the flavour of your favourite foods and drinks — and here are nine of the most common.
1. Leaving grease and carbonised food on your barbecue grill
It is important to clean and degrease your barbecue after every use. The small bits of burnt food you often see on your barbecue grub don’t just look nasty, they taste nasty too. This carbonised nastiness has a very bitter taste, and that taste can make your favourite culinary creations taste awful.
2. Using scented dishwasher detergent
Why would you want your plates, cutlery and pans to smell like lavender? The taste of food is linked closely to how it smells, so strong scents have the potential to completely ruin your favourite dishes. Play it safe, and always use unscented detergent in your dishwasher.
3. Using too much dishwashing detergent
Have you ever doubled the dose of your dishwashing detergent in order to clean some particularly dirty dishes and pans? While this might deliver results, it can leave your dishes covered in a film of bitter residue — and that can completely change the way your food tastes. If you have stuck-on food to remove, washing these items by hand, and rinse thoroughly afterwards.
4. Putting anything that has come into contact with garlic in your dishwasher
Whether you use a garlic press or a knife to prepare fresh garlic, it’s always best to clean these utensils by hand. Putting them in your dishwasher could spread that stubborn and pungent garlic smell to anything else in there at the time. And let’s be honest, who wants garlic with their chocolate cake?
5. Not rinsing chemicals from food prep areas
It’s great that you’re taking food hygiene seriously, but don’t let it interfere with the flavour of your food. Every time you wipe down or sanitise a surface, make sure you rinse it with a clean cloth before placing food on it. Multipurpose cleaners and sanitisers perform a very important job, but they taste awful!
6. Not flushing out your coffee maker after cleaning it
Whether you use a dedicated coffee cleaning agent or simple vinegar and water to clean your brewing equipment, you need to ensure that it’s all gone when it’s time to make a fresh batch. Both of these substances WILL make your coffee taste horrible, so make sure you flush or rinse your coffee brewer thoroughly after every clean. Some advanced coffee brewing equipment offer an automated flush function.
7. Not cleaning up spills quickly
Greasy spills, particularly in an oven, can cause serious flavour issues for months afterwards — unless you clean them up as they happen. Imagine you’re cooking a juicy roast chicken with rosemary and garlic, for instance. This will spit and bubble, and possibly leave small pools of grease on the walls and floor of your oven. Every time you cook something else, that potent aroma left behind by your chicken could find its way onto whatever you’re baking or roasting.
8. Cleaning cast iron pans in the dishwasher
Cast iron pans such as skillets change colour over time, which is actually something you want to see. It is this “seasoning” that stops food from sticking and delivers the best possible food. But a dishwasher strips pans of this seasoning, which can cause food to cook unevenly, stick and burn more quickly than usual.
9. Not rinsing hand-washed dishes properly
Nothing ruins food like the taste of washing-up liquid. Just the tiniest amount of residue on a plate has the potential to ruin a dish. Always rinse your clean dishes off with fresh water before drying them. Dishwashing detergent can linger on dishes long after they’ve been dried and stored away.
Don’t despair if your cooking just hasn’t been up to scratch recently — as just a few changes to your cleaning rituals could make all the difference.