Cleaning your produce before you eat it is a lot easier than you think. Not to mention, it’s a healthy step that may protect you from food borne illnesses. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that rinsing produce under water can prevent you from norovirus infection, which is the country’s leading cause of outbreaks in contaminated food. What if there is a more effective way to clean your produce than using water and a cloth?
When To Wash Your Produce?
Washing your produce is an excellent way to remove grime, pebbles, insects, and other debris that lingers on the outside of the produce. To put it lightly, produce items pass through a lot of hands before you bring it home. The general bacteria and debris that exist on the produce may seem harmless, but eating unwashed produce increases the risk of listeria, E.coli, and salmonella.
The general rule of thumb is that if your produce is out in the open, i.e. not in a sealed plastic wrap, you should wash it. Some produce items have “ready to eat” or “washed” labels on them, and they are often sold in sealed bags. Washing those items can actually put you at risk of consuming contaminants that exist in your kitchen. On another note, some produce should remain unwashed until you are ready to consume it. Berries, for example, develop mold quickly if you wash them before you are ready to eat them. When you wash other produce items, be sure to refrigerate them as soon as possible to reduce the likelihood of wilting or molding.
Vinegar For Your Produce
When you make your own produce wash, it is a good idea to include distilled white vinegar. Working to remove dirt and waxy residue from fresh produce, white vinegar leaves your produce fresh and clean. Vinegar is very effective at removing bacteria and fungi, helping to sanitize your produce. Now, you don’t soak the fruit in vinegar; rather, you spritz it with a vinegar solution that contains water and lemon juice. That way, you don’t have to worry about biting into an apple that tastes like an acidic overload.
How To Properly Wash Produce
Water is a great option for washing produce, but when you use the vinegar produce wash in this article, there are a few things to keep in mind. If you want to ensure that your produce is properly washed, keep the following tips in mind:
- Remove any stickers to ensure that you clean all areas.
- Wash your hands thoroughly.
- Make sure to cut away all bruised and damaged areas.
- Rinse produce with cool water prior to using the produce wash.
- Inspect the produce items to ensure that they are free of insects or visible dirt.
- Dry produce with a clean paper towel and then either use right away or refrigerate for later use.
DIY Natural Produce Wash
- 2 cups filtered water
- 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 glass spray bottle
- Pour all of the ingredients into a large bowl and whisk to combine.
- Using a funnel, pour the ingredients from the bowl into a glass bottle. Screw on the top of the bottle and store in the fridge until ready to use.
- To use the spray, spray on the produce and then wash it away with cold water