June 29th, 2010 | Simcha Weinstein | 2 Comments »

Earlier today I was doing a little research about selecting ripe pineapples, and discovered that for years I have been spreading misinformation. I was under the impression that one of several indicators of a ripe pineapple was when a leaf from the crown portion of the fruit could be easily pulled out. Turns out . . . not true. It is actually an indicator of, well, . . . nothing. I kind of feel like there are probably hundreds of people I owe an apology to from my early years in retailing, proclaiming with absolute certainly, after pulling a leaf out, that this pineapple will be delicious. I was wrong. It turns out to be one of those very popular myths, that while popular, it’s just not true. So, of course, this got my little wheels spinning and wondering what other myths are floating around out there that we have all internalized and acted upon, and that we would be devastated to find out that they were simply myths. So today, after a little bit of research, I’m here to do some mythbusting. Below were a few of my favorites that I discovered:

Myth: Leaving an avocado pit in a bowl of guacamole will prevent the guacamole from turning brown.
This one is an easy one to disprove – just try it. The browning of the guacamole is caused by certain compounds in the avocado reacting with oxygen in the air. The best way to minimize this reaction is to add some acid to the mix, which is why a little lemon and/or lime juice will help. The best way to prevent your guacamole from going brown is to simply cover it. That will eliminate the root issue – contact with the air.

Myth: Throw a strand of spaghetti against the wall and, if it sticks, it’s done.
It is true that spaghetti will stick to your wall when it’s done; but it will also stick to your wall when it’s overcooked or undercooked. Not a reliable indicator. The best way to tell when pasta is done – taste it!

Myth: Certain foods burn calories.
This is definitely a myth. Muscle can burn calories. Exercise burns calories. Just breathing even burns calories. Foods do not burn calories.

Myth: Fat free food is calorie free.
This one is pretty commonly accepted as fact. When you are looking to reduce your weight – eat fewer calories than you burn. When fat is removed from food a lot of the flavor is removed as well – consequently, extra sugars and chemicals are often added to give back the flavor. Fat free food can sometimes be far worse and fattening for you than regular full fat food.

Myth: Decaf coffee has no caffeine.
This is one that more people may be aware of than I know, as I am not a coffee drinker. But, go figure, what could possibly be a more deceptive name than Decaf, which implies no caffeine. Decaf varieties contain between 8 and 32 milligrams of caffeine, depending on the cup size. Although this is significantly less than regular coffee (a typical 8-ounce cup provides 100-150 milligrams of caffeine), even a small amount may matter to caffeine-sensitive people.

Mythbusting is fun, and these just scratch the surface. Do share if you know any good ones.