What Is That White Stuff on Your Food?

What Is That White Stuff on Your Food?

You know the moment: You’ve just seared a skillet of chicken thighs and notice a mysterious pool of jiggly white goo in the pan. Or, you’ve dutifully saved up vegetable scraps to make stock and see some puzzling white scum rising to the top of the pot. We field a lot of cooking questions over here. But we’ve noticed with remarkable frequency how many of them can be boiled down to—say it like a daytime TV game show chant—what is that white stuff?

We’re not here to be lewd about it. The truth is many of these purported mystery substances on and in your food can be boiled down to one of three categories: protein, fat, or yeast. And while the discovery can be disconcerting in many of these cases, that white stuff is usually safe to eat. In fact, in some instances, like bloom on fresh grapes or crystals in aged cheese, it’s actually a good thing.

Today, we’re spinning the wheel for every category. From how to cook your salmon to avoid that gelatinous schmutz to how to properly store chocolate to prevent a cloudy coating—we’ve pulled all of your squidgy, powdery, slimy questions into one handy guide. Scroll on, so you never have to ask, “What is that white stuff?” again.

What is that white stuff on…

Known as bloom, this is “the most common defect in finished chocolate pieces.” Here’s what to do when you encounter it in the wild.

What Is That White Stuff on Your Food

This cloudiness is also known as bloom—and when it comes to fresh fruit, it’s actually a good thing. We asked an expert why.

Lucky for us, salami has two white stuffs to unpack. The first one is mold—but it’s on purpose.

Are those powdery splotches friend (calcium lactate) or foe (mold)? Here’s how to tell the difference on that precious hunk of parm.

Does one moldy blackberry ruin the whole (not cheap, actually quite expensive) pint of fruit? Let’s break it down.

The upsetting appearance of albumin depends on how gently (or not) you cook your salmon. Use these tips to sear without fear.

Whether it’s chicken or bean broth, it probably has a foamy layer of scum on top. Should you leave it alone or skim it off?

The stringy bit of an egg white is the chalaza—and it’s harmless. But you may want to ditch it in certain recipes. Find out which ones.

Did you thaw then freeze your chicken breasts? That could be the answer to the mysterious white goo in your skillet.

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