Photo of tape measure, spoon and apple pieces on wooden worktop with text: The Dirtiest Inch in Your Kitchen

The Dirtiest Inch in Your Kitchen

A young friend recently sent me an email. She wanted to warn me about the dangers of not washing off the tops of cans before opening them.

After all, dirt can accumulate on the cans in the warehouse or on the grocery store shelf.

And then there are the diseases carried by critters of all kinds walking about on the cans. To say nothing of reports of bugs and small rodents found in bottles and cans – ugh! (We kids always laughed at my dear Mom, who would habitually check the glass Coke bottle after she took her first sip!)

Aside from the obvious good advice for removing any accumulated dust, I remembered an even greater bit of wisdom I once heard about the dirtiest inch in your kitchen.

That would be the blade on your can opener.

I bet if you walk over to your electric can opener or hand-crank rotary can opener right now and take a close look at it, you will be amazed at the crud hovering on the blades – especially on the backside.

Equally you will also be horrified at how utterly filthy – and potentially dangerous – that can opener blade, and the adjacent can opener gears, can be.

Yickety yuck! Imagine all that gunk and built-up bacteria that you will introduce to the liquid in canned food every time you use the can opener to make a family recipe from your family cookbook!

My oh my, it’s a wonder we’ve ever survived. The nooks and crannies of the can opener gears alone can give you nightmares.

This is true even if you wash your can opener repeatedly. There’s always a residue – especially with tomato sauce – which builds up on the can opener over time.

Excuse me, but I’m embarrassed to say it’s time to get out the paring knife and toothpicks and spend some quality time with my can opener.

Well, I suppose we could all go back to the P-38 Can Opener. Now, THAT was easy to keep clean.

Happy cookbooking,


About Erin Miller

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