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Can the dishwasher really be used to help us prepare our meals?

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SAN FRANCISCO, Dec 1 — TikTok users have struck again, believing that they have found an infallible trick to clean several pounds of potatoes without resorting to scrubbing — just stick them in the dishwasher and run a cycle! American authorities, however, have warned that this “hack” is not recommended from a hygiene point of view. However there are some other specific cases where this cleaning appliance can come in handy for culinary uses.

Throughout the month of November, the US population, which was busy preparing for last Thursday’s Thanksgiving, shared a time-saving tip for home cooks via TikTok. The videos encouraged them to clean potatoes more quickly by using an appliance that normally we only use once the meal is over — the dishwasher. Proponents of this “hack” weren’t encouraging followers to run a normal cycle with detergent but simply by using a rinse cycle (for those whose dishwashers have this feature). The goal behind the hack was to find a way to avoid the chore of brushing potatoes under running water by instead placing the spuds in the top rack.

Even with the rinse cycle, using the dishwasher for this type of task is not recommended. According to the US Food Safety Administration, residues of detergent used in a previous wash can potentially still be present in the machine, Meredith Carothers, a specialist in Food Safety and Inspection, told US media outlet Today. Furthermore, cleaning potatoes this way is not recommended since these vegetables have a very porous exterior. There you have it; you have been warned if you find yourself tempted to try this “hack” while you’re preparing your next big festive meal.

@emilytenharmsel Sh** TikTok taught me… potato rinsing in the dishwasher #lifehack #thanksgiving Yummy – Justin Bieber

But should the dishwasher be off-limits when it comes to all culinary undertakings? Strange as it may seem, the appliance can offer an advantage for some food prep: its temperature. Depending on the model, these household tools offer cycles that heat the water to between 65 and 70°C, a perfect temperature for removing dirt from dishes and for cooking certain foods at low temperatures. The condition — and this is the major difference compared with the potato “hack” — is that in “dishwasher cuisine,” the food must be protected by totally hermetic packaging: a jar, a vacuum-sealed bag, etc… Delicate dishes that don’t do well with too much heat, such as foie gras or salmon, can be well suited to this type of sous-vide-style preparation or for recipes generally done in a bain-marie.

Nevertheless, when one looks at dishwasher temperatures, the appliance cannot be used to sterilise jars before preparing preserves. According to the brand Le Parfait, known for its glass containers, the heat treatment for sterilisation must exceed 100°C. So, back to the pressure cooker. One should refrain from using the dishwasher to cook eggs, because the shell, once again, is a very porous material. This is also why it is recommended never to put an egg under running water.

Finally, the dishwasher may not be the most energy-efficient appliance to use for sous-vide style cooking compared to other cooker devices. — ETX Studio

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