Are moldy foods safe to eat? This sounds like a ridiculous question but the answer is more interesting than you might think.
There are two things to consider here: do you have a mold allergy? Might the mold be toxic? Also important: what type of food and what type of mold?
Probably the most commonly moldy foods that might be good to eat is cheese. Cheese is made by adding certain types of bacteria to milk. The type of bacteria and the process determine the type of cheese. So does the mold. For example, blue cheese is blue because of the type of mold added (Penicillium). Some people are deadly allergic to penicillin, and must completely avoid blue cheese. If you have a more mild and general mold allergy, blue cheese still isn’t a good choice. But for everyone else it is safe and yummy if you like the strong and sharp taste of blue cheese.
Other types of cheese such as cheddar should not be moldy. However in most cases, the mold grows just on the surface and can simply be shaved off. Do not eat the moldy part of a hard cheese.
If a soft cheese has an invading mold on it, do not eat any of the cheese. The mold can make you sick, and may also be accompanied by deadly bacteria such as listeria or salmonella. If you see a mold on a soft cheese and it is not part of the cheese, throw out the cheese.
Bread is not supposed to be moldy, but mold does not necessarily make the bread dangerous. Avoid if you see any black mold or black spots in the mold, but if it is blue/green mold, remove the mold, toast the bread, and you will be fine. If you have a mold allergy, you may want to be more cautious.
Moldy vegetables are not good, but the unspoiled parts are fine. Remove the soft and spoiled parts and the rest will be good.
The same goes for fruit, although watch out for mold or spoilage that has gone into the core of the fruit, and do not eat fruit that has gone slimy on the outside. It may be possible to peal it and eat the inside if the inside looks good and tastes OK.
Jam is much like fruit, you can shave of the top moldy later and eat what is below in most cases.
You have to be careful with rice, and if you are, you can keep it. Cooked rice must be refrigerated right away. It can grow mold that will make you feel ill after a few hours left out at room temperature. However, if you cool cooked rice and immediately put it in the refrigerator, it will keep just fine for a couple of days. It can be microwaved, steamed or fried (which is especially tasty) when you want to reheat it.
The same goes for gluten-free pasta (or regular pasta if you eat that stuff) and potatoes. Mashed potatoes can be fried into patties.
How do you feel about using moldy food? Please leave a comment.