With everything going on in the world right now, people realize just how easy it is for disease and contamination to spread. Take a moment to think about how many people touch an apple from it getting picked at the orchard to ending up as your afternoon snack. The answer is…a lot! That is not going to change (unless you decide to grow all of your own produce); however, you can take steps to ensure that your food is properly cleaned before consumption. That is why we are providing you with our produce washing hacks based on the FDA’s recommendations!
Produce Washing Step 1:
Clean produce starts with a clean you. Wash your hands with soap and water (really scrubbing them down) for at least 20 seconds before handling any food or produce.
Produce Washing Step 2:
Clean your workstation. There is no point in cleaning your produce if you are going to set it on a dirty countertop. Make sure to thoroughly clean your workstation before working with food, including the countertop, cutting boards, utensils, and any appliances you will be using.
Produce Washing Step 3:
Rinse your produce under running water until all the visible dirt and grime has washed off. Do not use soap on your produce; you can use a produce wash if you so desire. We have included our favorite produce wash recipe at the bottom for you to try out!
Keep in mind that if your produce is unclean when you cut into it, you will be introducing the bacteria coating the outside to the clean inside. That is why you want to properly clean your produce before you start any chopping, slicing, cutting, etc.
Not all produce is created equal, which means that they might need a special kind of washing to get them clean enough for you to eat!
When it comes to leafy greens, we highly suggest removing the outer layer and tossing it. Remember when we talked about all the people touching your produce? Well, most of them are only going to touch the outer layer. By removing it, you are getting rid of all that yuck. From there, separate all of the leaves and swirl them around in a cold-water bath for a few minutes before doing a final wash off.
For produce with a thick outer layer, such as potatoes or melons, we suggest using a vegetable scrub brush to help remove any grime. Using your hands or a rag will not be strong enough to scrub off the nasty germs, so really get in there with a vegetable brush to get it all off.
With berries, you obviously can’t vigorously scrub them because they will get destroyed. Instead, you want to place them in a colander and spray them with clean or distilled water. Do not put them in a cold-water bath because they will just marinate in the nasty. Keep the water flowing continuously and gently shake them around to expose all parts of the berries to the clean water. After, lightly pat them dry with a clean towel.
Remember, you need to wash all produce before consumption or preparation. Yes, we are talking about homegrown and farmer’s market produce as well!
My Mother’s Favorite Method:
- 8 cups of water
- 2 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
Fill a large bowl with about 8 cups of water. Add in 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar along with your fruits and vegetables.
Let sit for about 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, gently scrub, rinse, dry, and enjoy!