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How to Clean Fruits and Vegetables

There are many places to buy fruits and vegetables, but the majority of people buy their produce from supermarkets. Unlike local farmer’s markets, not all of the produce is “certified organic”. What does the “organic” label mean? Organic foods are usually grown and sold with the overall environmental impact in mind. That means no fertilizers that harm the environment, no sewage dumping from farms, and other regulations that try to provide sustainable farming practices. The use of pesticides that are harmful to one’s health are not allowed to be used with organic farming. However, many new pesticides are developed and are not tested, causing a “loophole” of sorts that allows pesticide usage on organic crops. Whether or not the produce bought is organic, it is always a good idea to wash it before consumption.

There has been much debate about which method is the best for cleaning fruits and vegetables. This article will cover the 4 best methods for cleaning fruits and vegetables- vinegar, scrubbing ,water, and salt.

The first method uses a diluted solution of vinegar, removing 98% of bacteria. To prepare this solution, combine three cups of water with one cup of vinegar. Take this solution and put it into a spray bottle to store it. To use, spray the produce with enough of the solution to coat it, and then rinse it. This method works the best on non-leafy produce.

The second method requires one to scrub the fruits and vegetables with a brush while rinsing the produce under running water. This method is the most effective, removing 85% of bacteria.

The third method, cleaning with plain water, requires just rinsing the fruits and vegetables under running water for about a minute. This is the most simple and time efficient method, removing less than the 85% of the bacteria if the brush is used.

The last method is effective for leafy produce, and is mainly used to kill small critters that can wind up in food such as broccoli. In order to accomplish this, set aside a bowl. Put the produce into the bowl and fill the bowl with cold water and salt. The salt will ensure the death of any critters in the produce, while also killing bacteria.

Using these methods, it is ensured that the produce bought will be free from the majority of pesticides, pests, and bacteria present before consumption. Keep in mind that it also good to wash one’s hands before attempting to clean produce, so that no cross contamination will occur.

Sources:

NPR