Many consumers are concerned about pesticides or sprays used in the production of fruit and vegetables. As a consequence, produce washes are available for purchase.
Are they as effective as plain water, or do they leave a residue behind too, and money wasted?
According to experts, specially developed fruit washes are not needed, and do not provide any benefits over rubbing foods under running water.
Preparing produce with clean hands, utensils and at sanitary workstations helps to ensure contamination doesn’t sneak in also. Though thoroughly washing with running water provides effective cleansing, a Cook’s Illustrated study concurred that after examining different methods of cleaning produce, a mixture of diluted vinegar water was the most effective and eliminated 98% of bacteria.
If you prefer to use more than water to clean your fresh foods, a rinse can be made at home that will naturally rid food of residues and bacteria. Adding vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice to water makes a basic natural fruit wash. This can be put in a reusable spray bottle and spritzed over produce. Let it remain for a few minutes before carefully rinsing, and it will wash off dirt, pesticide residues and food waxes. Put the baking soda in right before using and keep the mixture refrigerated so it will last longer, up to a couple of weeks per batch.
If you don’t like the smell of vinegar and want to add some scented freshness to your wash, Keeper of the Home provides a recipe for a homespun lemon citrus produce wash. By adding grapefruit seed extract, lemon and orange essential oils to the basic recipe you will have a natural cleaning agent that smells good too.
After spraying with produce rinse, let foods with hard to reach crevices or leafy things like lettuce sit in a basin of water for a few minutes. The water bath does the work and loosens dirt and deposits. A final good rinse will remove any remaining impurities.
Bringing home groceries doesn’t have to mean bringing home contaminants, too. Homemade produce wash is simple to make and effective at removing potentially lurking bacteria.
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