It’s only common sense to wash our fruits and veggies before eating them. But more than just washing off dirt and grits, thoroughly washing products is essential to detox naturally and avoid food-borne illness.
Unwashed fresh products can harbor harmful pathogens and dozens of pesticide residues. Even if you’re buying organic products, you still need to wash them to remove potential bacteria, especially if you plan to eat them raw.
To wash fruits and vegetables, you don’t necessarily need to use a fancy cleaning product. Good old-fashion water works very well too.
How to clean your fruits and vegetables
1- Wash your hand before washing or handling your food. Your hand can carry tons of bacteria that can be transferred to your food. Remember, your hands might be far dirtier than the food itself. So use the soap on your hand instead of on the produces.
2- Don’t use product washes that contain chemicals, detergent or bleach in it. The key here is to remove residues, not to add some!
3- Use pure water or a solution of 1 part of vinegar for 3 parts of water. The vinegar will help to kill bacteria.
4- Thoroughly rinse fruits with stems, like apples, pears or nectarines. Cut off the both ends of those fruits before eating, as dirt and residues tend to accumulate there.
5- Brush fruits with rinds. Even if you don’t eat the skin, bacteria and pesticide residues trapped in the crevices can transfer to both your hands and knife.
6- Soak leafy greens for about 2 minutes before using them. Drain well before storing.
7- Roots vegetables also needs soaking, even if you intend to peel them before using. Finish by brushing carrots and potatoes under running water.
8- Carefully soak broccoli and cauliflower for 2 minutes. Drain the water then rinse in a colander.
9- For other vegetables like eggplant, cucumber or zucchini, gently brush the skin under running water.
It’s important to note that while washing can remove some of the pesticides residues, it can’t remove all of them. Your best bet to avoid eating pesticides is to buy organic or grow your own. To know the cleanest and the dirtiest fruits and vegetables in terms of pesticides residue, see the following posts: Top 12 foods to buy organic, the safest conventionally grown foods