Kitchen Safety: Washing Fruits and Veggies

by Merissa on January 7, 2012

in Homestead Hints

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Hubby asked me once, "Do you really need to wash that? We just pulled it out of the garden!"

If the look I gave him wasn't enough it also came with a mini lecture and here's my take on it to share with all of you.

So I'm sure that all of us know to wash conventional produce (or at least I hope you do!) but did you know that you should wash any produce that you prepare?

Why wash organic produce?

Even though the produce is grown organically it's still sprayed with organic treatments and even though those my be non-toxic it's still a good idea to clean them off before you eat the produce. All produce, even organic, brings a risk of bacteria from being transported from where ever it came from so washing also helps remove this if it's present.

Why wash garden produce?

Let me ask you this...would you go outside, play with a couple bugs and then stick your hands in your mouth? Of course not! You may not spray anything on your garden produce, organic or otherwise but there is still dirt and bugs that have been on it. It's a good idea to wash it off before you use it.

Do I have to wash all produce?

Yes, all of it. Even the produce with a thick skin that you don't intend to eat. You are still going to use a knife to cut that produce and the knife will come in contact with the outside of the fruit or veggie and the inside part that you will be eating.

How do I properly wash produce?

Just like you'd wash your hands. Spray or drop produce wash onto the item and rub it under a steady stream of water for a good 20-30 seconds. For berries or other smaller produce, place in a colander and spray with produce wash. Toss under running water until clean.

For produce wash I prefer the BioKleen brand. It's nice and thick but not too thick that I can't keep it in a spray bottle. It's all natural and non-toxic too. What's the use of having a produce wash if it adds more chemicals to your food?

Find even more Simple Tips!

Do you wash all your produce? Do you think it's important to do so?

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 marci357 January 7, 2012 at 10:11 am

Some but Not all… I am of the opinion that if you do not eat a little dirt now and then you won’t stay healthy. Dealing on a small level with germs and dirt helps build your immune system – if your immune system isn’t built up over the years, the person can catch everything and anything later. If a person is always in a sterile environment, the immune system has no chance to build immunities to the little things, which helps stave off the bigger things.

Take 2 folks – one raised in a very sterile environment and one in a not so sterile one, expose to the same germs etc, and 99% of the time the sterile environment person will be worse off and/or ill longer than the non-sterile one whose immune system will be battling full force due to previous exposures and a lot of ammunition to throw at the germs, etc.

Ok – so that’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it :) I just know my kids ate a lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches out in the milking parlor and in the calf pens and barns, and they are about the healthiest people I’ve ever seen :) Or maybe it was just all the raw milk and all those wonderful (sarcasm font) bacteria in it ! :) lol

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2 Jane January 7, 2012 at 10:26 am

I agree, and what I do wash, I only use water. Of course, if my folks are visiting, I’m much more diligent about germs, etc., because my dad has been on chemotherapy drugs so is more susceptible to things in general.

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3 Laurie Sprague Stark January 7, 2012 at 10:34 am

Yes, absolutely I wash fruits, veggies, and some meats before eating!

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4 Dawn Dunham Seevers January 7, 2012 at 11:34 am

From the grocery store – YES!

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5 Dawn Dunham Seevers January 7, 2012 at 11:36 am

From my garden – if I’m going to peel it, I peel then rinse. If I’m eating the entire thing depends on if it was under ground or above ground. Underground gets a good scrub. Above ground usually rinsed.

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6 Lana January 7, 2012 at 12:11 pm

I use something called Liquid Detox on all my produce as soon as I bring it home. Having had intestinal parasites, that probably were from produce, I am diligent about thorough washing. If you think about who picks and packs produce you will think differently. Many of those migrant farm workers are living in their cars and do not even have a place to wash their hands, plus the fact that they have no bathroom facilities. I grew up in Florida and the migrant farm help is visible there and we knew how they lived.

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7 Kathy March 27, 2012 at 7:24 pm

I always wash all of my fruits and veggies whether they are bought from the grocery, farmer’s stand, organic or home grown. I use vinegar to wash and rinse in cold water. I have a spray bottle of vinegar to spray fruits and a larger bottle to make a vinegar and water bath for those that I want to soak for a few minutes.

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8 Keren May 31, 2012 at 11:53 am

I just use water to rinse. If I have a particularly dirty vegetable, like a potato, I’ll use a veggie brush on it under a stream of water.

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9 Erin D. July 28, 2012 at 6:54 pm

The produce cleaner called FIT was used by my cousin to get crayons out of her laundry after her child left them in her pockets and ruined the entire load of laundry after it went in the dryer. The FIT product is used to remove wax on store bought produce while cleaning it, so it worked well on the waxy crayons. That child survived to live another day…

Yes, I wash all produce including oranges and mellons with soap. I dunk cilantro upside down in a tub of water and shake vigorously to wash. This past week my mother in law got food poisoning from her store bought produce (and is now in the hospital).. Her doctor told her to never buy produce imported from Mexico because they don’t have stringent health codes as the USA does. He said many areas use sewage water to spray the fruits and vegetables and that is still on the produce when you get it!!!! He said other South American countries like Chile are fine and have higher health standards than Mexico….so forgoe the cheap strawberries from Mexico!

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10 Laverne Swanson April 29, 2013 at 10:35 am

I read that a good wash is a few drops or maybe a capful of hydrogen peroxide. And everyone has that. What do you think? I also read that it is a good spray mixed with water, for all surfaces. Disinfects just like bleach.

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