How to Wash Produce
Posted on Wednesday, May 13th, 2015 at 7:00 am
Fresh fruits and vegetables are tasty, healthy, and good for you and your family. They tend to be more expensive than those that are canned or frozen. Fresh produce has a limited time in which it is safe to eat. Before you eat it, or serve it to your family, it is very important to wash the produce.
Why should you wash your produce? Some of it may have residual traces of the pesticides that were used when the plant was growing. Organic produce also needs to be washed. Think about how many people may have touched that particular apple, pepper, or zucchini before you bought it at the grocery store or farmers’ market!
To keep yourself, and your family safe, you need to make sure that all fresh fruits and vegetables have been properly washed before you serve them. Better Homes and Gardens points out that you should not use soap or detergents when washing produce. Part of the reason is that you might not be able to get all the soap off the food. People can get sick from consuming even small amounts of soap or detergent.
You don’t necessarily need to buy a special produce wash in order to ensure that your fresh fruits and vegetables are clean. Cool, clean, tap water is perfectly acceptable. Stick the produce in a strainer. Put it in your sink and spray water over the produce. Check it to make sure that everything has been thoroughly washed. Dry it off with a clean cloth towel or paper towel. Doing so will reduce any bacteria that might still be present.
Firm produce, such as melons and cucumbers, can be cleaned with a produce brush. Run them under clean tap water and give them a good scrub! Don’t use that produce brush for any other purpose.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also has some great tips for making sure fresh produce is safe for your family. These tips are ones you need to follow long before you bring the produce home and get ready to wash it.
Don’t purchase produce that has been bruised or damaged. Take a close look at the produce before you buy it. Does that apple have a large bruise, or flat spot, that may have happened when someone dropped it on the floor? Put that apple back and select an undamaged one instead.
Ready to wash your produce? Before you do, examine it closely. Cut away any areas that are damaged or bruised. What if you find mold or rot? Produce that has become moldy or rotten needs to be thrown away. You cannot simply cut off the mold or rot that you see and assume the rest is safe. In reality, the mold or rot can be all through the produce (even if you can’t see it).
What if you are planning on peeling the produce before serving it? Go ahead and wash it anyway. Doing so will help remove the dirt and bacteria that is on the produce before it can be spread to other foods.