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Fruits and vegetables are an excellent way to include healthy vitamins, minerals, and fibers into your diet. While they’re super healthy, eating them without washing them properly can result in illnesses. According to FDA reports, almost 48 million people fall sick by food contaminations each year. Illnesses due to contaminations in spinach, cantaloupe, lettuce, and tomatoes have been quite high over the last few years in the United States. Continue reading, and you’ll learn how to wash vegetables and fruits the right way to get rid of all potential harmful germs and residues before consuming them.
Why Do We Need To Wash Produce?
Covered in mud, fresh produce from the garden isn’t tempting to eat until you give it a good wash. Hardly anyone would want to eat something that came straight out of mud and compost! However, store-bought produce looks nice and shiny, and it can be quite tempting to eat straight out of the bag – but hold on! Though it might look clean, it has been passed through many hands before coming to you, so contamination risks are even higher with store-bought fruit and vegetables.
Whether you purchase them from the grocery store or harvest them from the garden, there are high chances that the produce is contaminated with harmful pathogens. When growing in home gardens or commercial fields, they can be contaminated by animals, pesticides, and other harmful substances in soil or water. Contamination is also possible during transport, packaging, selling, or storage.
Wash Produce to Prevent COVID
Given the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s even more important to wash produce properly when you bring it home since you never know if the fruits and vegetables you bought were coughed or sneezed on or even breathed on!
Whether you grow your own produce or buy it from the store, it’s vital to give it a good wash before bringing it to the table. Let’s read further to learn how to do it right.
Steps To Wash Vegetables & Fruits
Follow the steps to wash vegetables and fruits before cooking or eating them:
- Clean all the utensils, sink, and kitchen counter that you will use to prepare the produce.
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before handling produce.
- Remove any damaged or rotten areas by cutting away with a sharp knife. Remove the outer leaves of vegetables like cabbage and lettuce.
- For fruits and vegetables that require peeling, rinse the produce thoroughly with water before peeling it. If you peel unwashed produce, there are chances that contaminations are transferred onto the parts of the produce that are to be eaten.
- Place the produce under cool running water and scrub it gently to remove any dirt or germs on the surface. Avoid using hot water as it can encourage microorganisms to enter the blossom end or stem of the produce.
- You can use a clean, soft bristle brush to scrub the surfaces of firm produce like cucumbers, potatoes, and carrots. Leafy greens can be submerged and rinsed with fresh water. Berries and other delicate produce will break apart if scrubbed with a brush. Instead, just place them under cool running water and scrub away dirt gently with your fingers.
- Dry the produce using a clean paper towel before using them.
Tip: Berries should be washed right before eating. Their porous surface tends to retain moisture and develop molds.
DIY Vegetable Wash
As per FDA’s instructions, cool running water is sufficient to wash store-bought or harvested produce. However, you may want to take your vegetable and fruit cleaning a step further with your own DIY vegetable wash. After all, you wouldn’t want yourself or your family ingesting pesticides and any other harmful bacteria passed onto the vegetables and fruits during the produce handling phase.
Follow the recipe below to prepare your DIY vegetable wash and make fruits and vegetables germ-free before eating them. There are two recipes. One is the standard recipe you can use for most produce. The next one that we’ll provide is for cleaning leafy greens.
Standard DIY Vegetable Wash
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 cup vinegar
- 4 cups water
- Empty sprayer bottle
- Soft bristle brush
- Paper towels
- Add a cup of vinegar, 4 cups of water, and 1 tbsp lemon juice to the sprayer bottle and shake well.
- Place the fruits and vegetables in a colander and place them in the sink.
- Spray the mixture onto the fruits and vegetables.
- Let the produce sit in the mixture for 5 minutes.
- Rinse the produce thoroughly with cool running water, scrubbing gently with a soft brush.
- Dry the produce with paper towels.
2. Leafy Greens DIY Vegetable Wash
- 1 cup vinegar
- 4 cups water
- 1 tbsp salt
- Large bowl
- Paper towel
DIY Vegetable Wash Instructions:
- Add 1 cup vinegar and 4 cups water into a large bowl and mix well.
- Place leafy greens into the mixture and let them sit for 5 minutes.
- Remove the greens from the mixture and transfer them to a colander.
- Rinse the greens thoroughly under cool running water.
- Pat them dry using paper towels.
Tip: Wash leafy greens or use the above method to clean leafy greens right before eating them. Storing moist greens in the fridge can encourage decaying.
Best Vegetable Wash – Review
Don’t feel confident in the capabilities of your homemade vegetable wash? No problem. We have just the right products for you. These vegetable washes are carefully formulated to remove pesticides, waxes, and harmful chemicals from your produce, leaving them clean and germ-free so you can enjoy a healthy meal. Choose the best vegetable wash from the list below:
Fit Organic Produce Wash
USDA-certified Fit Organic Produce Wash is formulated using natural ingredients. It removes germs and bacteria that fruits and vegetables may have become exposed to during unsanitary growing, transit, and handling processes before reaching your home. Since it’s all-organic, the product leaves no taste, smell, or further chemicals onto the produce.
From lettuce, carrots, and apples to delicate produce like grapes, Fit Organic Produce Wash works great on all kinds of fruits and vegetables and is easy to use for everyone. Just spray the produce, rub it for a minute and rinse with water. The entire process barely takes minutes to complete, leaving your produce as clean and healthy as can be. With Neilson’s # 1 market leader, you’ll never have to worry about contaminants or chemicals on your dinner table again.
Trader Joe’s Fruit and Vegetable Wash
We love Trader Joe’s Fruit and Vegetable wash as another all-natural, chemical-free product you can use to make produce cleaning easier, faster, and more effective in your kitchen. This vegetable wash is derived from natural ingredients, including purified water, natural cleansing agents derived from coconut oil and corn oil, lemon-orange extract, and grapefruit seed extract. It does an excellent job at cleaning produce naturally.
It’s a non-toxic formula that guarantees to remove all kinds of pesticides, waxes, and chemicals that may be present on the surface of fruits and vegetables. The 16 FL OZ bottle isn’t just effective but also super easy to use. For cleaning only a few fruits and vegetables, apply a few drops of the bottle’s contents directly on the produce, rub it on the surface of the produce for 30 seconds before rinsing with cool water.
For bulk washing of produce, make a mixture with 1 tbsp of Trader Joe’s Wash and 32 ounces water. Swish produce in the mix for half a minute, scrubbing with a soft brush if necessary. Rinse thoroughly with water, and the produce is clean, germ-free, healthy, and ready to eat!
Environne Purely Essential Fruit & Vegetable Wash
Pesticides, waxes, and chemicals don’t always wash away completely with just water. With Environne Fruit and Vegetable Wash, you can rest assured that you are consuming the healthiest produce, free from any germs or contaminations.
Made solely from natural ingredients, including purified water, cleansing agents derived from plant oils, grapefruit seed extract, and lemon-orange extract, Wash guarantees to remove 400% more contaminants from produce’s surfaces than water. Since it’s formulated entirely from natural products, you won’t have to worry about any foul after-taste or residues.
The formula works excellently on all kinds of produce, including delicate leafy greens and berries. Usage is simple too. All you need to do is to apply a few drops on the produce, massage it with your fingers before rinsing it with water, and it’s done! For delicate produce like greens and berries, you can submerge them in a mix of 1 tbsp Environne Wash and 32 oz water. Swish the fruits and vegetables around for half a minute before rinsing with clean water, and the produce is ready to eat!
How to Wash Vegetables & Fruits – Conclusion
Making fruits and vegetables a part of your regular diet is essential, but not enough for healthy living. You also need to ensure that the vegetables and fruits you are eating are clean and germ-free. Though germs and contaminations might not always be visible, they can make you sick. Employ good food cleaning practices in your kitchen to ensure your family can benefit from a healthy diet.