Fresh fruits and vegetables are a healthy way to incorporate vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants into your diet. Before eating fresh fruits and vegetables, it has long been recommended to rinse them well with water to remove any unwanted residue from their surface. This article reviews the best practices for washing various fresh fruits and vegetables before eating them, as well as which methods are not recommended.
- 1 Why you should wash fresh produce
- 2 Best methods for cleaning fruits and vegetables
- 3 How to wash fruits and vegetables with water
- 4 Best practices for washing fruits and vegetables
- 5 An important hygiene practice for good health
Why you should wash fresh produce
Global pandemic or not, washing fresh fruits and vegetables properly is a good habit to adopt to minimize the ingestion of potentially harmful residues and germs. Fresh produce is handled by many people before you buy it at the grocery store or on the farm. It is best to assume that not all hands that have touched fresh produce have been clean. With all the people constantly bustling about in these environments, it’s also safe to assume that much of the fresh produce you buy has had coughs and sneezes on them. Properly washing fresh fruits and vegetables before consuming them can significantly reduce the residue that may be left on them on their journey to your kitchen.
Best methods for cleaning fruits and vegetables
While rinsing fresh produce with water has long been the traditional method of preparing fruits and vegetables before consumption, the current pandemic has many people wondering if this is enough to actually clean them. Some people have advocated using soap, vinegar, lemon juice, or even commercial cleaners like bleach as an added measure. However, health and food safety experts urge consumers to ignore this advice and stick to plain water.
The use of these substances may pose additional health hazards, and they are unnecessary for removing the most harmful residues from the products. Ingesting commercial cleaning chemicals like bleach can be deadly and should never be used to clean food. Also, substances such as lemon juice, vinegar, and fruit and vegetable washes have not been shown to be any more effective than plain water in cleaning fruits and vegetables, and may even leave additional deposits on food.
Although some research has suggested that using neutral electrolyzed water or a baking soda bath may be even more effective in removing certain substances, the consensus continues to be that cool tap water is sufficient in in most cases.
How to wash fruits and vegetables with water
Washing fresh fruits and vegetables with cool water before eating them is good hygiene and food safety practice. Note that fresh produce should only be washed just before it is ready to eat. Washing fruits and vegetables before storing them can create an environment conducive to bacterial growth.
Before you start washing fresh produce, wash your hands well with soap and water. Make sure all utensils, sinks, and surfaces you use to prepare your produce are also well-cleaned. Start by cutting off the bruised or visibly rotten parts of the fresh produce. If you’re handling a fruit or vegetable that needs to be peeled, such as an orange, wash it before peeling to prevent surface bacteria from entering the flesh.
Best practices for washing fruits and vegetables
Firm-skinned fruits and vegetables
Firmer-skinned fruits like apples, lemons, and pears, as well as root vegetables like potatoes, carrots, and turnips, can benefit from a brush with soft, clean bristles to better remove dirt. residues from their pores.
Spinach, lettuce, Swiss chard, leeks and cruciferous vegetables such as Brussels sprouts should be trimmed of their outer layer, then plunged into a bowl of cool water, stirred, drained and rinsed with cool water .
Berries, mushrooms and other types of produce that are at risk of falling apart can be cleaned using a steady stream of water and light finger friction to remove grains.
Once you have rinsed your produce well, pat it dry with a clean paper or cloth towel. More fragile products can be spread on the towel and patted or rolled gently to dry them without damaging them. Before consuming your fruits and vegetables, follow the simple steps above to minimize the amount of germs and substances that may be in them.
An important hygiene practice for good health
Practicing good food hygiene is an important habit for good health. Washing fresh produce helps keep germs and surface residue that could make you sick to a minimum. Recent fears over the pandemic have many people wondering if more aggressive washing methods, like using soap or commercial cleaners on fresh produce, are best. Health professionals agree that it is neither recommended nor necessary and could even be dangerous. Most fruits and vegetables can be sufficiently cleaned with cool water and light friction just before eating.
Fruits and vegetables that have more layers and surface area can be washed more thoroughly by swirling them around in a bowl of cool water to remove dirt particles. Fresh fruits and vegetables provide a number of healthy nutrients and should continue to be consumed, provided safe cleaning methods are practiced.