Washing vegetables and fruit has been a hot topic within my circle of people for a few months now, way before the current COVID-19 pandemic.
In Hong Kong wearing gloves and a mask is paramount as per my brother who currently resides there, but it's not here in Australia. There handle on the virus seems to be far better than ours thus far.
Whilst frequenting the supermarkets, trying to buy essentials, food, cleaning products and regular stuff, which is very hard, I noticed supermarket staff using their bare hands to handle all the fresh produce, ordinarily this is no big deal, but given the current circumstance of COVID19 travelling through the globe, I think it's time they put on gloves? This is out of my control, what I can control however is cleaning my fruit and veggies prior to loading them into the fridge, storage and consumption.
The discussion between my friends and I is "what's the best method for washing veggies and fruit?" this spurred up answers including: just water, water and vinegar solution, soapy water, salt water and so forth. Initially this was raised from concerns of heavy use of pesticides when not able to buy organic produce, now we have to worry about virus transferring from human contact.
I've been reading many comments on the various ways to wash food, but I concluded for myself that I would be happy to wash my fresh produce with tepid soapy water (using tiny amounts of dish detergent). However, note that this spiralled into is dish detergent safe? The short answer is no, most are not safe. They can contain nasties such as;
- Sulphuric Acid - a carcinogenic
- Formaldehyde - another carcinogenic
- Fragrances - generally high in chemicals
- And the list can go on...
So how do I safely wash my fruit and vegetables?
Use a dish detergent (like Dr Bronner) that isn't harmful, as suggested in this article Carly Fraser or try using a natural soap bar.
Steps for washing fresh produce
- Using a clean bowl, add a drop of soap (or change it for vinegar or whatever you'd like to use - if you have a suggestion leave this in the comment section below)
2. Add tepid filtered water (or pre boil and cool down), if you are washing leafy greens or mushrooms, use cold water to avoid them wilting or turning slimy. Although I did wash coriander in tepid water and they were still fine.
3. Thoroughly wash fruit using your clean hands or where required a food scrubbing brush*. Get all the dirt off! Remember you can't see nasties such as bacteria and viruses so don't be afraid to apply enough pressure without bruising the fruit and veg.
4. Rinse washed fruit and vegetables under cold water (rinse well to ensure all suds/soap residue are gone) and transfer to a colander to dry. You will notice the dirt left over from washing in the original wash bowl. See pic below...
5. Allow freshly washed vegetables and fruit to dry or pat down with a paper towel before storing, otherwise they will ruin quickly.
Regardless of the type of diet you maintain, food safety is a must. The WHO - World Health Organisation has five keys to safer food that everyone should note:
- Keep clean.
- Separate raw and cooked.
- Cook thoroughly.
- Keep food at safe temperatures.
- Safe water and raw materials.
Here's the link to their manual with an explanation of this.
How do you wash your fruit and vegetables? I would love to learn your technique.
I soak my produce in a solution of one gallon (4 liters) of clean, cold water, and 1/4 cup of baking soda, stirring until the soda is dissolved, to which I then add one or two drops of dish washing liquid, soaking all produce for 20 seconds. I wash what I can in the solution, using a soft vegetable brush. Leafy greens I swish in the solution, and dry them in a spinner, placing the spun veggies in a paper lined container, and thence into the fridge, replacing the towels daily.
Both fruits and veggies are thoroughly rinsed after the soaking and rinsing in cold water.
The fruits are paper towel dried.
The baking soda neutralizes several pesticides and weed killers.
Hopefully, the mechanical scrubbing under the solution removes most the clinging bacteria and other undesirable agents.
i alternate between soap and vinegar water
Sounds like a plan
I use a green soap... Letting it soak for a bit. The amount of dirt. Eww. No more of that run under water type of washing for this mom.