Your fruits and veggies need to be cleaned before consuming them, even if you buy organic. According to the FDA, harmful bacteria may be present in the soil or water where your produce grows. Fruits and vegetables may also become contaminated during storage or preparation.
So what's the best way to ensure you're not consuming bacteria? Surprisingly, a simple rinse under the tap is usually a sufficient method. Well that's easy right? Read on for more details and tips about washing your produce properly.
1. Preparation is important
There are a couple of important steps even before you start washing your food. The FDA instructs: "Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water before and after preparation. Cut away any damaged or bruised areas on fresh fruits and vegetables before preparing or eating. Throw away any produce that looks rotten."
2. Just add water
As mentioned above, rinse your fruits and vegetables with water. 98 percent of bacteria can be washed away with plain old water. A thorough rinse should be all you need.
3. Use vinegar if you're still worried
If you're afraid your tap water isn't doing the trick, make a vinegar soak. Try this recipe: Add 1/4 cup of vinegar and 2 tablespoons of salt to a large bowl or sink full of cold water. Stir in the produce then let sit in the mixture for about a half an hour before rinsing again.
4. Scrub produce that has thick skin
According to Modern Farmer, "brush the skin of your fruits and vegetables thoroughly and rinse carefully." Even vegetables that will be peeled need to be cleaned, as bacteria can transfer from the peels to the inside.
5. You don't need to buy a fancy fruit and vegetable wash
Bottled fruit and vegetable washes are sold in stores and are often advertised as the best way to keep fresh fruits and vegetables safe in the home. However researchers at the University of Maine tested three commercial wash treatments against a simple water rinse, and guess what? In all three tests the water rinse was just as effective (and in one instance, more effective) at removing bacteria.