How to wash produce

It’s important to get your fruits and vegetables daily, but getting fresh produce can lead to a lot of questions with one of the biggest comes down to cleaning it and the best practice for doing so.

There are a few reasons it’s important to rinse every fruit and vegetable you consume with water. First, there’s often dirt on them before they’re washed, and no one likes eating dirt. And more pressing if you aren’t able to grab organic, many fruits and vegetables are sprayed with pesticides, which aren’t exactly safe for consumption.

The best time to wash produce is immediately before eating or cooking the product. You should avoid rinsing and then storing produce because it creates a perfect, wet habitat for bacteria to grow. Too much moisture can cause fruits and vegetables to go bad more quickly.

But do you need to wash your produce with soap or fancy produce washes? No. You should definitely not be washing your fruits and vegetables with soap before eating. Soap and water is meant for cleaning hands. In fact, ingesting soap has been known to cause things like vomiting or diarrhoea in humans. And as far as washes go, they can end up leaving other chemical deposits behind on your fresh produce.

Here’s the big question: Can you get away with running water over your fruits and vegetables and call it a day? Not necessarily. Here are some tips to clean your produce as efficiently as possible.

Start by properly washing your hands with soap or water, which ensures that no microbes are transferred from your hands to the fresh produce.

When actually washing, use running water and rub fruits and vegetables briskly with your hands to remove dirt and surface microorganisms. For something with a hard rind or firm skin, a vegetable brush can be used to scrub the surface.

Avoid using hot water, which can allow microorganisms to enter the stem or blossom end of the produce.

Adding baking soda to the water is the best way to remove pesticide residue.

To take bacteria elimination a step further, use a vegetable brush when washing produce with thick skin and throw away the outer leaves of leafy green vegetables such as cabbage and lettuce before washing.

To make a DIY vegetable wash, fill your clean kitchen sink with cold water and add 4 tablespoons of baking soda. Soak fruits and vegetables for about five minutes, rinse with cold water and pat dry. Exceptions to using this wash are berries or other soft fruits and vegetables that may get too soggy. They still need to be cleaned, but make sure to rinse in the baking soda solution quickly. Vinegar is also an option which I use due to Prophet Medicine.

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