Please Clean Your Spice Jars
Whether you're making a simple green salad with a tangy vinaigrette or a large, roasted piece of meat with an aromatic, crusty bark, you will, at some point, grab a jar or two from your spice rack. Afterwards, while cleaning up, you will return the jars to their home, be it a highly-organized, alphabetized spice rack, or a less organized spice drawer. You probably won't clean the jars, however. Most people do not. You should.OffEnglish
According to The Kitchn, a recent study found that spice jars are less likely to be cleaned than other "high-touch" spots like cutting boards and countertops:
In a recent study, 371 participants were asked to prepare meals in test kitchens using raw ground turkey patties and a ready-to-eat salad. The secret ingredient on the menu? An innocuous virus called MS2. The real purpose of the study was not to try out new recipes (as the participants were told) but to see how much cross-contamination happens in a kitchen. Researchers discovered that MS2 cross-contamination was found on most surfaces less than 20 percent of the time, but there was one high-touch spot that was contaminated a whopping 48 percent of the time: <strong>spice jars.
Though MS2 is a harmless trace virus, it demonstrates how other harmful pathogens can make their way around the kitchen, even if you think you're practicing good kitchen hygiene.
Though they may not be as obviously dirty as knives, pans, cutting boards, and countertops, spice jars are susceptible to getting hit by splatters, spills, and splashes. You also have to touch the jars with your hands to access the spices inside, and while I'm sure you're vigilant about hand washing, mistakes happen. (One never means to grab a jar of garlic powder with the same hand that touched the raw chicken.)=
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Luckily, there is a very easy solution to this grody problem: Clean your spice jars. Make it part of your clean-up routine. Before you return your dried herbs and spices back to their home, give the (closed) jars a quick wipe down with a cloth dampened with all-purposed cleaner or, if you want to go a more "natural" route, a 50/50 mixture of water and white vinegar. This will not only prevent harmful pathogens like salmonella and E. coli from contaminating your kitchen, but keep gunk and grime from building up on your herbs and spices. (Gunk and grime not only look and feel gross, they can serve as a breeding ground for bacteria.)