Bad moldy food

Some foods are really dangerous to eat when mold starts  growing on them.

Bad moldy food facts

Unsafe – mold on soft & cooked foods

Safe – hard foods, foods where mold does the preserving

Read also the other parts in this series:

Soft and cooked foods are usually to be thrown away

Even after removing the mold away, some foods still aren’t safe. This is because the roots of the fungus mold spread far beyond the visible mold.

On soft fruits and vegetables like tomato, cucumber, and strawberry, it is too dangerous to keep any portion of the seemingly unaffected part.

  • The soft flesh allows the penetration of mold beyond the surface.
  • It is safer to just throw the whole fruit away into your compost.
  • Even if you cook them, you would only kill the pathogens, but not eliminate the dangerous toxins.

If only one fruit is moldy in a basket, such as after a harvest, you can still keep intact fruits. Just make sure the skin isn’t wounded, bruised, or soft on the spot that was touching the moldy neighboring fruit.

  • However, mold will spread fast if left unchecked:

“A bad apple spoils the bunch!”

Typically a list of foods which should be thrown away even if only a little mold is found contains the following items.

Foods, fruits, vegetables to throw away when moldy

Several sources have tried to list all the foods and plants that aren’t safe to eat when moldy. Of course, it’s never complete so having the “soft food” rule of thumb is wise.

“Mold on soft food, throw away!”
“Mold on cooked food, throw away!”

All types of hard food, when cooked, is considered soft. Cooking breaks food down to make it easier to digest for our stomachs. If we find it easier to digest, then mold and fungi also do!

So it’s better to extend the list with anything soft or cooked you encounter mold on.

Here is an overview of such foods:

  • soft cheese
  • yogurt and sour cream
  • processed meat like luncheon meats, bacon and hot dogs
  • leftover cooked meat and poultry
  • leftover cooked grains and pasta
  • cooked casseroles
  • jams and jellies
  • bread and baked goods
  • berries and ripe fruit (for some firmer berries like mahonia berries, you’ve got up to a week before mold develops).
  • peanut butter,
  • legumes (beans and such, for example chili con carne or French Cassoulet)
  • nuts (for instance moldy walnuts you might have picked from under a tree).

Special cases

Some fruits, like sloes (on the blackthorn bush), medlar, and mahonia berries are most delicious after bletting. Bletting is a process where the fruit is actually over-ripe. In this case, the softened, sweetened flesh is a prime target for mold.

Smart tip about bad moldy food

Don’t take any risks – if there’s more than even a single dot on soft or cooked food, discard!


Sources:
USDA


Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Molding cooked dish by Skibka under Pixabay license