Your Ultimate Guide to Washing Fruits and Vegetables

Vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants are all found in fresh fruits and vegetables, making them a good method to include them in your diet. It has long been an advice to thoroughly rinse fresh fruits and vegetables before eating them to eliminate any unpleasant residues from their surfaces.

Given the COVID-19 outbreak, however, many headlines have circulated encouraging more abrasive methods of washing fresh food before eating it, prompting some to question whether water is sufficient. Let's discuss the best ways to wash various fresh fruits and vegetables before eating them, as well as methods that should be avoided.

Why is it important to wash fresh produce?

Whether or not there is a global pandemic, washing fresh fruits and vegetables thoroughly is a good habit to develop to reduce the consumption of potentially dangerous residues and bacteria.

Before you buy fresh food from the grocery store or a farmers market, it has been handled by a number of people. It's safe to assume that not every hand that has come into contact with fresh fruit was clean. With all of the people constantly bustling through these environments, it’s also safe to assume that much of the fresh produce you purchase has been coughed on, sneezed on, and breathed on as well.

The perfect methods to cleaning fruits and veggies

While rinsing fresh produce with water has long been the conventional technique of preparing fruits and vegetables before consumption, many people are now questioning whether this is sufficient to truly clean them.As a precaution, some individuals recommend using soap, vinegar, lemon juice, or even commercial cleaners like bleach.

However, health and food safety authorities such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) strongly advise people to ignore this advice and drink plain water instead. Such chemicals may pose additional health risks, and they aren't required to remove the most toxic residues from products. Commercial cleaning chemicals, such as bleach, can be fatal if consumed.

Furthermore, ingredients such as lemon juice, vinegar, and vegetable washes have not been demonstrated to be any more successful than plain water at cleaning produce – and may even leave extra residues on meals. While some studies suggests that utilizing neutral electrolyzed water or a baking soda bath can be more efficient at eliminating specific pollutants, the general agreement is that chilly tap water is sufficient in the vast majority of cases.

Cut any bruised or visibly decaying sections of fresh food away first. If you're dealing with a fruit or vegetable that will be peeled, such as an orange, wash it first to prevent bacteria from entering the flesh.

The following are the general ways for washing produce:

Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before beginning to wash fresh produce. Make sure you clean all of the utensils, sinks, and surfaces you'll be using to prepare your fruit first.

Produce that is firm: Brushing fruits with firmer skins, such as apples, lemons, and pears, as well as root vegetables like potatoes, carrots, and turnips, with a clean, soft bristle will help remove residues from their pores.

Greens with a lot of leaves: The outer layer of spinach, lettuce, Swiss chard, leeks, and cruciferous vegetables like Brussels sprouts and bok choy should be removed before being soaked in cool water, swished, drained, and rinsed with new water.

Produce that is delicate: Clean berries, mushrooms, and other produce that is prone to falling apart using a constant stream of water and moderate rubbing with your fingertips to remove dirt.

In Summary

Food hygiene is an important health habit to develop. Washing fresh produce reduces the number of germs and residues on the surface that could make you sick. Many people are questioning whether more forceful washing procedures, such as using soap or professional cleansers on fresh produce, are preferable in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Produce with more layers and surface area can be washed more thoroughly by swishing it in a bowl of cool water. Fresh fruits and vegetables provide a variety of beneficial elements and should be consumed as long as proper cleaning techniques are used.