ATLANTA — ATLANTA – If you get a Christmas ham that looks a little green in places, that’s not necessarily a reason to throw it away.

In most cases, mold on food is not good.

However, there are times when mold on certain foods, like the cured ham you got as a Christmas gift, is okay.

Here’s why.

Let’s start with that cured ham. The U.S. Department of Agriculture tells us the curing and drying process allows harmless mold to appear on the ham’s surface. You don’t want to leave it there. Wash it off with hot water and a stiff vegetable brush.

The same goes for hard salami. Just wash away the mold.

Sometimes you’ll see small mold spots on firm fruits and vegetables like carrots or bell peppers. It’s hard for mold to penetrate the hard surface, so just cut the spots away moving your knife at least an inch around and below the bad spot.

If you see mold on soft fruits and veggies like peaches or tomatoes, toss them.

Some cheese is made with mold and if it’s part of the manufacturing process you’re ok.

Mold on the surface of hard cheeses can be cut away.

Mold on soft cheese that isn’t part of the manufacturing process isn’t good. Throw that cheese away.

Just be aware this Christmas, there are plenty of times when mold means a trip to the trash can, but not always.

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