The monsoon season in India provides respite from the heat of the scorching summer. Monsoons might bring freshness to our surroundings. However, it also brings along potential risks for some diseases and infections. One of the primary difficulties faced during monsoons is the maintenance of food safety and hygiene. Monsoon is the perfect weather for bacteria to thrive and diseases induced by mould, fungus, worms and spoilage might quickly occur. The following precautions for the rainy season can help you maintain food safety and hygiene during this period.
The best hygiene tips to keep your food fresh during the monsoon:
- Wash those vegetables
Yes, washing vegetables is such routine advice. However, take extra care while washing your vegetables during the monsoon. Wash them thoroughly as, during the monsoon, vegetables might contain tiny insect larvae in their crevices. If possible, use a vegetable wash during monsoons to take additional safety measures.
- Proper fruits and vegetable storage
Fruits and vegetable storage should be done in the refrigerator to avoid any chances of spoilage. After washing they should be dried properly and stored in paper bags in separate sections in the refrigerator. Check on them and remove any fruit or vegetable in case they start getting spoiled.
- Airtight containers are the way to go
The moisture in the air during the monsoon is the main reason why bacteria thrive. Keeping your food stock in airtight containers significantly reduces the risk of spoiling or moulding. Storing items like salt or sugar in glass containers also eliminates the risk of moisture spoiling their consistency. Keep your food items crisp and dry during monsoons by storing them in glass or stainless steel airtight jars.
- Keep your refrigerator clean
Refrigerators can keep away mould and reduce the risk of food getting spoiled. However, an unclean refrigerator might have a negative impact as it becomes a breeding ground for fungus or harmful bacteria. Food particles might get stuck in the corners of refrigerators, thus it is crucial to clean your refrigerator at regular intervals. A solution of vinegar and baking soda along with warm water is great for cleaning your refrigerator shelves. Dry your refrigerator racks properly after cleaning them. You can reduce odour and also absorb excess moisture in the refrigerator by keeping a small container with baking soda in one corner.
- Avoid keeping your food out
Monsoons are not a good time to keep your food out for too long. The excess moisture can easily spoil food items like bread and even vegetables. The tropical weather in India is amicable for fungus growth and the moisture in the air during monsoons aid fungal growth in our food. Take care to always store your food in airtight containers or the refrigerator.
- Dry Spoons
Using dry spoons to use condiments is a very underrated precautionary method. During the rainy season, moisture already damps condiments in our kitchens. Use a dry spoon to use condiments like spices, flour, salt, etc as even a little bit of moisture may spoil these condiments.
Your freezer can be very helpful during the monsoons. Freezing your pulses, grains and rice after buying them can help dehydrate the products and help you store them safely during the monsoons. Freeze these products for 1 – 2 days right after purchasing them and then store them in airtight containers.
- Home Remedies
Vegetables and fruits in the monsoon season can be refrigerated easily and stored but what about other food items? Age-old home remedies like using herbs to keep insects away from food are very beneficial during the monsoons. Herbs and spices like neem, cloves, turmeric and dried chillies can be stored along with pulses and rice to keep insects away from them during the monsoons. These are natural insect repellants. Putting a few grains of rice along with sugar and salt can help them be free from moisture as the rice grains absorb any excess moisture in the container.
Food habits to follow during the monsoon season:
- Increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables top the list if you are looking for healthy food to eat during the rainy season. These help in keeping your immunity levels high and naturally fend off any diseases which might harm you. Seasonal fruits and vegetables during the monsoon should be consumed in abundance as they are the freshest produce available during the season.
- Include herbs in your diet
Herbs and spices like ‘tulsi’, ginger, black pepper, turmeric and clove are great to be consumed during the monsoon. These boost our body’s immunity and also help us keep cosy during heavy rains. Adding these to a warm cup of tea can really liven up a gloomy monsoon day.
- Consume bakery products the same day you purchase them
Bakery items are very prone to attract moulds during the monsoon season. Consume them on the day that you purchase them and avoid storing them for long periods. Only purchase as much as you need and do not purchase them to store for later consumption.
Practices and foods to steer clear of this monsoon:
- Avoid consuming excessive fried food
The rainy weather is perfect to enjoy fried snacks, however, be aware to not consume excessive fried items. Strictly avoid street food during the monsoon, however, homemade fried items from time to time during heavy rains will not pose any dangers to your health.
- Fish and seafood
This is the time when fishes (especially saltwater fish) lay eggs. During their breeding season, it is best to avoid including fish in the menu because many people have a hard time digesting fish eggs.
- Cooking with oil that has already been used once
Cooking with leftover oil can trigger stomach infection during the monsoon when our digestive systems are sluggish.
The monsoon season in India is a sight to behold and leaves the surroundings fresh and nurtured. The season brings with it great seasonal fruits and vegetables like pineapples, pears, bottle gourds, bitter gourd and fresh herbs. Enjoy the full potential of these monsoon vegetables and fruits by following the simple suggestions above. Take care of your food habits and avoid getting too wet in the rain, as it might cause illnesses.
Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.