What is the difference between Raw foods and Ingredients? For examples, meats, vegetables, salt or sugar, sauce and so on. How can I sort those things?

Before I cook, I should wash up X first.
I should wash up X, before I start cooking.

By this, I mean I need to wash some raw foods that are with some dirt like soil, dust or agricultural pesticides or chemicals, but I don't need to wash ingredients like sugar and salt.


3 Answers 3


In the context of food, "raw" means "uncooked". Ingredients are the things that are combined to make some kind of food, like a cake, a sauce, a chicken dish, meatballs, or a souffle, whether they're something you make or something packaged that you buy at the store.

There is no "difference" between raw foods and ingredients because they're two separate concepts. Some ingredients may be raw, some may be cooked. Chocolate chips are an ingredient in chocolate chip cookies, and they aren't raw: the chips themselves were melted before sugar and other ingredients were added to them. The flour is raw. The eggs are raw unless they were pasteurized.


Raw food is simply food that has not been prepared (or cooked). Ingredients are the components of a dish. For instance, butter, milk, salt and eggs are the ingredients for scrambled eggs. Ingredients can be raw foods or foods that have already been prepared, but the point is that they are the elements you use as part of the process of making a dish.

A good analogy may be that of a residential house. Wood, cement, glass and some other materials are the ingredients that are necessary to build a house. By themselves, they can be raw materials (sand, cement etc.) or materials that have been preprocessed in some way (wooden planks, window panes etc.), but they are all the ingredients you need to build a home.


Green Grasso Holm's answer is right, and a good explanation of the difference between the words "raw" and "uncooked".

In your particular sentence about washing, I most often hear things like:

"I should wash the vegetables before cooking" or

"You should wash the produce before starting to cook"
Produce in this case is a noun which means fruits and vegetables.

Another thing to note is that the phrase 'wash up' is not used with an object.
"I washed up the vegetables" is not grammatically correct, it should be "I washed the vegetables."

"wash up" can only be used without an object. In this case, what you are washing needs to be implied through context.

Here are some examples:

"I always help mom wash up after dinner" - Here it is implied through context that the speaker and their mom are washing the dishes and possibly also the kitchen counters, depending on how messy cooking dinner was.

"The kids were playing in the mud again, so I told them to go wash up before we had to leave" - Here it is implied that the kids were washing themselves, or possibly just their hands, depending on how muddy they were.

  • In Australian English, we do use "wash up" transitively from time to time. It's mostly used as "wash up the dishes", "Wash up the vegetables" sounds slightly off, but I can still imagine a native speaker using it. "Washing up" is also used as a noun with the same meaning as "Dishes" - that is, the mess left behind after cooking or eating. "Why don't you go and wash up the dishes?" "You're not allowed to watch tv until you've finished the washing up" Mar 23, 2018 at 0:23

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .